Global Search

Keyword searching for information on the Internet has become second nature. After the update to Moodle 3.2, that functionality is now available in the CLE! It’s called “global search,” and you can begin a search from any page, simply by hovering over the magnifying glass in the top-most navigation bar.

You can search for CLE users, courses, activities, resources, and even text within resources and activities. All users have access to search, but results will only display content from courses that you are enrolled in. More details are available on the following tabs of this document.

Search box screenshot


Starting a new search

Searches can be launched from any page in the CLE.

  1. Hover over the magnifying glass found in the top-right of any page, and type a keyword.
  2. Press the RETURN key on your keyboard to begin the search.
  3. Browse the results, and click the title (in bold) of a result to open its page.

search box on nav bar


Search results

The results of searches are displayed in three parts.

  • Title – The name of item that matches your search, or the container in which your result was found (i.e. the name of the activity in which the text was found)
  • Preview text – A preview of the content surrounding the search result
  • Contextual links – “Breadcrumb” trail, or path of links that leads to the search result

search results



To restrict your search results, try experimenting with the Filters available on the search results page.

  • Title – Restrict your search to items with names that match your keywords (i.e. if you want to find John Doe’s profile page, but not forum posts in which his name is mentioned).
  • Searched area – Restrict your search to selected types of items (i.e. search only forums, or only for courses in your “My courses” list). You can set multiple items for your search.
  • Courses – Restrict your search to content within a specific course. You can set multiple courses for your search.
  • Modified after – Restrict your search to items that were created or changed after a specific date.
  • Modified before – Restrict your search to items that were created or changed before a specific date.

search filters



New content will not appear in search results until it has been indexed by the system, which happens automatically every 30 minutes. If traffic in the CLE is very heavy, though, the indexing process could take longer.


Roles and search results

You will only see search results from courses that you are enrolled in. If you only have a category-level role (i.e. category manger), the search feature will not display results from within courses. You must have a course-level role in each course that you wish to search. Students will see search results for any active courses that they are enrolled in.


Advanced searching

Boolean operators – Common Boolean operators like ‘AND’, ‘OR’, and ‘NOT’ may be used to combine or exclude keywords.

Wildcard characters – Wildcards like ‘*’ and ‘?’  may be used to represent characters in the search query. An asterisk serves as a wildcard for any number of characters in that spot, whereas a question mark serves as a wildcard for exactly one character in that spot.


What is searchable?

Nearly all of the content in the CLE is indexed and searchable. This includes:

  • User names and details from their CLE profile
  • Course long names, course short names, and course descriptions
  • Course topic headings
  • Text from labels within courses
  • Activity and resource names and descriptions
  • Typed content from within resources and activities, including text from forum posts, labels, and pages
  • Uploaded file and video names and descriptions
  • Text from CLE messages (a.k.a. the chat feature)
  • Even text INSIDE uploaded documents, like PDF and Word docs!

Note: The text inside files that were uploaded by students into an Assignment activity are not indexed or searchable.