ACORN Help Pages

ACORN (Acadia Courseware Online Resource Network) is the name given to Acadia's Learning Management System (LMS). Moodle is the free open-source web application that hosts this LMS.

ACORN is located at

If you have any questions or feedback, please email


Recent Communications

Below are communications that have recently gone out by email about Moodle (ACORN).

October 24/22 - ACORN quizzes and overrides

In recent years, the number of online assessments and accommodations has increased. There are some settings in Moodle Quizzes that make it possible to give some students extra time to write while still maintaining the desired timings for the rest of your students.

There are two types of overrides available: User overrides and Group overrides. Following is more information on using User overrides. If you have a large number of students who require overrides, please contact us at so we can discuss setting this up without running into any privacy issues that can result if things are not set up properly. The process is similar but there are extra steps that need to be taken.

User and Group overrides

In most cases, it is easier and better to set up individual User overrides. You can find instructions here: It’s important to remember that if you have set a Close the quiz time in the Quiz settings, you will need to extend this same setting in your overrides. A combination of Open the quiz, Close the quiz, and Time limit settings are used. It is also good to have a few minutes of buffer time between the Open and Close times. This way, students will have a few extra minutes to get started but are still limited in how much time they get. In the example below, the student can start taking the quiz any time between 9 am and 9:30 am. They will get up to 25mins to write, depending on when they start. As long as they start by 9:05 am they will get the full 25 mins to write (Time limit). If they don’t start until 9:10 am, the Close time will come around before their full 25 min Time limit is up, so they will only get 20 mins. In other words, whichever limit is reached first will cause their quiz to be automagically submitted.

Setting overrides

If you have questions about students being permitted extra time to write and other accommodations, please contact Accessible Learning Services at They would be more than happy to discuss with you Acadia’s policies and the services they provide.

July 21/22 - Topics Format

There is a slight change to the setup of new courses in ACORN going forward, starting in the Fall term (based on the automation processes between Colleague and Moodle).

From this point forward, new courses will be set to the Topics format rather than the Weekly format. This will really only affect those who prefer to set up their courses based on the actual Monday to Sunday dates of the term. If this is your preference, you will now need to rename Topic 1, Topic 2, etc. to the actual dates.

You can find information on how to rename the topics at the Topics Format page of the ACORN Help website.

If you have any questions or concerns, please shoot me an email.


September 22/21 - Online Testing In Moodle (ACORN)

Since we’ve already received some requests related to Midterms and other tests being done in Moodle (ACORN), I think it’s time to send out an email.

Please fill out our online form at for any and all testing being done in Moodle (ACORN) this term (each quiz should be submitted separately). Please give us at least 5 business days’ notice if you are asking for assistance. We have had some unfortunate events where we were not informed of online testing being done and less than pleasant situations arose because we weren’t on hand to help at the right time.

I know it’s a pain in the nether regions but think of it as insurance. This is especially important if you need ANY assistance in building your quiz or setting up overrides for those requiring extra time or writing at a different time. We have had a few last-minute requests that are often difficult (and sometimes impossible) to accommodate.

September 16/21 - Chrome Issues

Hey. Folks. Apparently recent updates to Chrome (Google’s web browser) have caused some minor issues with Moodle (ACORN) and some textbook platforms. Because Microsoft Edge and Safari are based on the Chrome engine (i.e. the basic software that makes them run), they can also have these issues.

If you or your students experience any weirdness using any of these browsers, please switch to Firefox. It seems to work the most consistently. I would suggest that you strongly advise students to use Firefox when writing any quizzes.  You can direct them to the student Quiz Pointers page:

There is also a page directed more to faculty needs:  

September 10/21 - Using QuickMail

Yesterday, Jeff mentioned QuickMail as a means of communicating with your students. I thought I should follow up with some instructions. The current version has a few enhancements and is a noticeable improvement over the previous version.

You can find these instructions (and more) on our ACORN Help website.


The Quickmail block is a great way to contact your students. It uses the same list of students you see under the Participants list and keeps a record of each message you send, as well as to whom you send it. Except in rare instances, the students' Acadia email addresses will be used, so it is good to remind them of their responsibility for checking their email. The Service Desk can help them with any questions they have. There are also some options that may or may not be of use to you:

  1. Signatures- you can add any number of Signatures to be attached to your messages (view image).
  2. Alternate Emails- this option allows you to set up alternate reply-to addresses (view image). When you send an email message using an alternate email address, the message will show as coming from you, but replies will go to the alternate address you selected from your list. When you set up an alternate address, a confirmation email will be sent to that address with a link you will need to follow to authenticate it.

Composing a New Email Message

  1. From the appropriate course, click on the Compose Course Message link in the Quickmail block, usually near the top right of the main course page (view image).
  2. If you have set up and wish to use an Alternate Email, select it from the From drop-down list (view image). This address is where replies will go.
  3. Click on the Who should see this message dropdown list (1) to select your recipients (2). You can select by role (e.g. students), by group, or individually. As you click on each selection, it will show up in the To field (3) (view image).
  4. If you want to exclude one or more people from the list of recipients (maybe you are planning a surprise party for your TA), click on the Who should NOT receive this message dropdown list and follow the same procedure as above. Those you select will show up in the Exclude field (view image).
  5. If you need to copy the message to someone not listed (e.g. Admin Assistant, Dean), enter as many as you like, separated by commas.
  6. Anything you add to the Attachment(s)box will be uploaded to your course and a link sent to the students in the email.
  7. Subject(1) - I'm sure you all know what to do here. The Additional emails box (2) allows you to add multiple addresses external to your course, separate by a comma. Body (3) - the usual. However ... there are now Supported user data fields: (4) that you can use to create individualised messages (view image). For example, you can type "Dear [:firstname:]" in your message to address people personally. Or you could remind everyone how recently they've accessed the course using the [:courselastaccess:] data field. And don't forget that you can access all the toolbars and buttons in the editor by clicking on the expand arrow button.  
  8. Attached files are actually uploaded to the course, with a link being sent out to recipients (view image). For more information on uploading files, please review this page.
  9. The Signaturedropdown list allows you to select a Signature you have already set up (view image).
  10. You can now schedule a date and time for a message to be automagically sent. First, check the Enable box (1), then set your date and time (2). The Receive a send report option (3), when checked, will send you a report on the details of your email after it was successfully sent.
  11. When you are ready to send the message hit the good ol' Send Email If you feel you may need to cool down and drink a coffee before you rewrite your email in a way that will not involve a visit to your department head's office, or if you just don't have time to finish it now, just click on the Save Draft button instead (view image).
  12. You can access your draft(s) by clicking on the View Drafts link in the Quickmail block in your course (view image).
September 3/21 - Making Your Course Visible

Hello, everyone.

It’s time for me to send a gentle but important reminder that your students will now be calling the Service Desk and emailing LTID because they can’t see their Fall/Winter courses. If you are using Moodle (ACORN), please make your courses visible asap. If you are one of the handful who do not wish to make use of this awesome teaching tool, PLEASE tell your students asap that you will not be using it and they therefore will not see the course in Moodle. LTID and the Service Desk are overwhelmed at this time of year (especially this year) so your prompt attention is very much appreciated

Here are the instructions for making your courses visible (found here):

Making A Course Visible

By default, students can’t see their courses in ACORN until you make them "Visible" (they won't see them at all). This gives you a chance to set them up in advance. Here are the steps to make your course(s) "Visible" to your students:

  1. Log into ACORN and enter your course.
  2. Near the top right corner of the window, click on the gear icon and select Edit settings (view image).
  3. In the General section at the top, you will see an option called Course visibility. Change the drop-down selection from Hide to Show, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click on the Save and display (view image) button. If students are still unable to see the course, have them log out of and back into ACORN.

Now that your course has been made "Visible", students will see it listed in the COURSE OVERVIEW section of their Dashboard under In progress (1). If the course has not started yet but is "Visible", it will show up under Future (2). Courses that have ended will show up under Past (3). All "Visible" courses can be viewed by selecting All (except removed from view) (4) (view image).

August 4/21 - Posting Grades

You can now enter your grades via the new Colleague Self Service Portal.

A video on how to enter grades and many faculty features of the new system is now available on YouTube.

Quick Overview:

Log into the Colleague Self Service Portal

  1. Select the Faculty menu (a list of your available courses is displayed by term).
  2. Select the appropriate course and section* (here you will see the roster of your students for the course**).
  3. Select Grading from the pivot menu for the appropriate student, then select Final Grade from the submenu.
  4. Select the grade from the drop-down grade list.
  5. Select POST Grades at the top of the screen.

Open Acadia continuous intake course notes:

*Keep in mind that Open Acadia course codes now include CI in the section code – Example: BIOL 2553 N5 is now BIOL 2553 CIN5.

**The course roster may not include all of your students (students whose course end date has passed will not be listed in the roster).  If you do not see your student in the current roster please email Sarah Atkinson (  with the student number, course, and grade.


July 23/21 - ACORN & Fall Course Availability

Fall courses are now loaded into ACORN with faculty assigned to them, based on the information that was current when changes to the Student Information Systems were frozen. The means that if you can see your courses in ACORN, you can begin preparing for your Fall classes.

Faculty course assignments that have not yet been made will appear when things go fully live in August. We anticipate that students will be added to the courses after August 3. We will continue to provide updates throughout the process. A summary of communications and updates going forward can be found at

You will notice that the Course Full Name and Course Short Name formats have changed as follows:

Last Year:

LTID 1013 A1 2020-21

This Year:

LTID 1013 FA01 Underwater Basket Weaving 2021 Fall
LTID 1013 FA01 2021 Fall

Course sections have also changed as follows:

Last Year:

X1 2020-21/A1 2020-21, B1 2020-21
X2 2021-22/A2 2021-22, B2 2021-22
X0 2021-21

This Year:

FA01 2021 Fall, FA02 2021 Fall
WI01 2022 Winter, WI02 2022 Winter
FA01 2022 Fall and WI01 2022 Winter (2 separate courses)


Recent Changes

We are now using Moodle 3.9 on ACORN. There are some noticeable changes, along with a number of other not-so-obvious enhancements. Here are some of the new and upgraded features: