Moodle Auto-Linking

The Moodle course management system has a feature called “Resource Name Auto-Linking” which as its name indicates, allows Moodle to automatically recognize and create links between site resources. That is, if a user creates a web page titled “Moodle Feature Set” and then in another Moodle web page has a sentence reading, “There are many options in the Moodle feature set,” the system will automatically highlight the common text with a surrounding light-gray box and create a hyperlink between the two documents.

Sometimes, however, due to a server-side caching mechanism, users may find confusing behavior, especially with hidden items.

  • If an item is hidden prior to the creation of the linking text, the text will not be auto-linked.
  • If, however, an item is visible prior to the creation of the linking text, the text is auto-linked.
  • If the item is subsequently hidden, the text remains auto-linked, but (properly) displays a message saying the item is not available.

Note that if a link to a previously-hidden item does not immediately work correctly, it should self-correct and with time the links to accessible content will appear. Moodle keeps a cache of pages in order to deliver content faster, so sometimes a number of requests need to go to a page before it refreshes and the links become active. Refreshing the browser a half-dozen times or trying a different browser should trigger the cache to refresh, but in actual use, as students access the page, this should clear up very quickly.

Additionally, the Moodle administration lists multiple modules creating auto-links: Resource Names Auto-linking, Glossary Auto-linking, Database Auto-linking, Wiki Page Auto-linking, and Activity Names Auto-linking. None of these offer additional settings, however within the Glossary, the professor has the option of turning off auto-linking at the course level.

It is also possible to override auto-linking on individual items in the WYSIWYG editor by selecting the text and choosing the “Prevent automatic linking” button (which looks like a chain link with a red X through it). This adds a <span class="nolink">…</span> code around the selected text and prevents auto-linking from applying.