A glossary is a list of words and definitions that students can access. However, a course creator allows students to add entries to a Glossary. This transforms the glossary from a static list of vocabulary words to a collaborative tool for learning purposes.

A text filter called auto linking creates links to glossary entries in your course. When this is turned on by a site administrator, whenever a word from a Glossary appears in the course, it's highlighted. Clicking on the word brings up a popup window with the word's Glossary entry.

The Glossary entry can consist of text, images, media, and links. It is a miniature page devoted to defining and elucidating the glossary term.

Enabling Glossaries and Auto-Linking

There are several places where a site administrator will need to enable glossaries and glossary features.

When auto-linking is turned on, a glossary term appears in the course and is linked to its glossary entry. Auto-linking creates links when a glossary term is used in the same course in which the glossary is located.

Enabling Glossaries for Site

First, navigate to

Site Administration → Plugins → Activity Modules → Manage Activities

You must enable the glossary activity. By default, glossaries are enabled on Moodle.

Enabling Auto-Linking

Auto-linking needs to be enabled in several places at the site, course, and activity level. If you create a glossary term and if it's not being auto-linked in your course, check that glossary auto-linking is enabled at the site, course, and activity or resource level.

Enabling auto-linking for the site: Navigate to, Site Administration → Plugins → Filter → Manage Filters, you can turn on Glossary Auto-Linking.

Enabling auto-linking for the course: If the site-wide setting for auto-linking is set to On, you do not need to enable it at the course level. If the site-wide setting is set to Disable, it's not possible to enable it at the course level. This setting is available and needed only if the site-wide setting is Off, but available.

Type of Glossaries

Global Glossary versus Local Glossary

By default, a glossary applies only to the course in which it resides. However, you can choose to make a glossary global. In this case, the words from this glossary will be highlighted and clickable wherever they are in your site. The work done in one course then becomes available to all the courses on your site.

Main Glossary versus Secondary Glossary

The Glossary type setting enables you to designate a glossary as Main or Secondary. A Main glossary is a glossary that will include terms from other glossaries. A Secondary glossary is a glossary that stands alone. It does not include terms from any other glossaries.

If you want students to be able to add entries to a Glossary, you must make it a Secondary glossary. Only teachers can add terms to a Main glossary.

Glossary Settings

Entries approved by default

If you turn on the setting for Approved by default, then as soon as a student adds an entry to a glossary, this entry will appear in the glossary. If it's turned off, the teacher will need to approve each entry.

Always allow editing and Duplicate entries allowed

Always allow editing and Duplicate entries allowed are two separate settings. However, they can work together in an interesting way.

If you turn on Always allow editing, students can edit entries that have already been made. So, if two students have different definitions for a term, they can each contribute their definition to the same entry. In this case, the second student will not need to create a duplicate entry. He or she can just add his or her definition to the existing entry.

If you turn off Always allow editing, consider allowing duplicate entries. Then, if two students have different definitions for the same term, they can each create an entry for that term.

Allowing comments

If you turn on Allow comments on entries, students and teachers can add comments to a glossary entry. These comments will appear at the bottom of the entry. Comments are visible to all the readers of the glossary.

Automatically linking glossary entries

If you turn on Automatically link glossary entries, this will not always result in all entries becoming links in your course. Instead, when an entry is created, its editing page will have an option to turn on auto-linking for that entry.

Appearance settings

Under the Appearance section, you will find settings that affect the presentation of the glossary. These settings affect the layout of the glossary page, how many entries are shown on a page, the links that users are given, and so on.

Enabling ratings

You can give students the ability to rate glossary entries, just like they can rate forum postings.