Moodle File Format Choice Matrix

Use this matrix to see which file formats are best suited to support your students' learning.

 

Formats:

Moodle Page

Moodle Book

PDF

Text documents and slide presentations

What is it?

Page is a single html web page authored directly in Moodle.



Book is a collection of related html web pages either authored directly in Moodle or imported from other web pages. Content exists in sections with navigation.

PDF is a read-only document format which can be uploaded to Moodle. Depending on settings, it will either open in a PDF reader or within the browser.

Examples: Open Office, Pages, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, Keynote. Independent files which can be uploaded to Moodle and opened. within dedicated softare or (mobile device) app.

Version control

Very good, there’s only one version, accessed online. No risk of out-of-date copies.

Very good, viewers encouraged to access online version, PDF can be created too.

Limited – can be downloaded. Risk of people referring to out-of-date copies. Risk of being large to download: connectivity and bandwidth issues!

Limited – can be downloaded and edited. Risk of people referring to out-of-date copies. Risk of being large to download: connectivity and bandwidth issues!

Summary

Good for short reference docs which may be accessed from mobile devices.

E.g. instructions; explanations; wrapping some commentary round a multimedia resource e.g. video.

Good for longer reference documents, longer pieces of writing, or collections of multimedia with commentary - anything that needs to be handy (including from mobile devices) but which is subject to change.

E.g. course “itineraries”; administrative information (eg plagiarism guidance); bespoke instruction manuals , tutor-authored textbooks.

Can be used to make it harder for others to make changes to a document if you need to have control over the content.

E.g. articles, digitised manuscripts.

Good for allowing students to amend individual copies, for example to add own notes.

E.g. handouts, exercises, forms, lecture slides.

Save for offline access

Possible but not encouraged. Entails saving a web page.

Yes, if downloaded as PDF (Books are also printable, so can be ‘printed as PDF’)

Yes.

Yes.

Print to hard copy

Possible, but not intended.

Yes, download PDF version (see above).

Yes.

Yes.

Multimedia support

Yes, a wide variety of embeds.

Yes, a wide variety of embeds.

Text and images.

Text and images.

Mobile device support

Yes.

Yes.

Has to download rather than access online; attempts to launch separate app; may be hard to find again.

Has to download rather than access online; attempts to launch separate app; may be hard to find again.

Ease of editing

Direct in web browser (no special web skills needed).

Direct in web browser (no special web skills needed).

Entails creating new PDF and uploading again to overwrite the current version, ensuring no links from elsewhere are broken.

Entails uploading again to overwrite the current version, ensuring no links from elsewhere are broken. However, sophisticated formatting may be easier.

Accessibility

Seamlessly opens in web browser. Font size, colours, backgrounds fully configurable via web browser, including on range of mobile devices. Text-to-speech available.

Seamlessly opens in web browser. Font size, colours, backgrounds fully configurable via web browser, including on range of mobile devices.  Text-to-speech available.

Depending on viewer’s browser settings, a potentially disorientating jump between software. PDFs are not readily editable by readers, so they can't apply their own fonts, spacing or backgrounds. PDF Reader software tends to have variable accessibility support depending on how document is formatted.

Requires separate software to access, which may not be installed. Once open, tends to be readily editable, so readers can apply their own fonts, spacing or backgrounds.

This guide has been based on a UCL guide and can be shared under the same (CC) license.