A Quick Gloss at eLearn’s Glossary Function

By Doug Trovinger, Instructional Design Specialist

Like terms in the back of a textbook, eLearn’s glossary function is one of the best kept secrets of the learning management system (LMS) we use here at Vol State. Whether you have a few terms or a few thousand, this is a great tool to use to store and house them in one neat little package. Better still, there are two (2) ways that you can easily import terms into it! Want to learn how? Read on, my friend, read on.

General House Rules

When creating a glossary within eLearn, it is important to know about a couple of house rules that are in place going in. To start, one must be in the course of choosing that you would like to add a glossary in. Next, the ‘Glossary’ option will always be under the ‘Course Tools’ heading at the top of the eLearn page (to the right of the ‘Resources’ tab and left of the ‘Help’ tab). Third, it is important to only include the term once in the glossary because it will multiply itself otherwise. Finally, courses are limited to one glossary but don’t worry, there is an option to link it to course content with each term included within it so they’ll always have a home to go to.

eLearn Top Menu
Course Tools > Glossary Link

Option One: Manual Term Entry

The first option to create a glossary is to enter in terms manually one-by-one. Depending on the number of terms that you would like to enter into the glossary, this may be the easier option of two provided. Follow these easy steps to manually create one new term at a time:

  1. Upon clicking the ‘Glossary’ link within the ‘Course Tools’ section above, you will notice this popup box that comes up:

    Glossary Pop-Up Box shows the New Term/Import Terms buttons
    Glossary Pop-Up Box
  2. For this option, you will want to click on the ‘New Term’ button which is the left one of the pair. When this is clicked, the following screen will appear:

    New Term and Definition entry screen
    New Term Entry Screen
  3. From this point, all you would have to do is to type in the term that you would like to enter into the glossary, its definition, and then whether or not it is linked to a specific page within the course.
  4. At this point, one will have two (2) options. If you are done with adding definitions into the glossary, you would click ‘Save.’ However, if there are more definitions you want to add, click the ‘Save and New’ button and repeat as often as needed until done.
  5. Boom! You’ve got a glossary! How easy was that? See the exciting results below:

    Sample Glossary item
    Sample Glossary

Option Two: Bulk Term Uploads

When you have a course that has more words than what can be fished out a box of Alpha Bits for breakfast, there is a much easier and timelier way to upload terms into eLearn. It is important to note that for it to work properly, it is recommended to download the sample CSV file provided to put the terms in properly. Note that you will need to be in the pop-up box already to follow this process.

Upon downloading the sample CSV file (or if have already done so in the past), you would simply need to insert the terms and definitions in the columns and rows provided within the CSV file. (CSV files open easily using Microsoft Excel.) The title columns in the first row must remain there as seen in the example provided below (otherwise, the import will not work).

Excel CSV Glossary Example
Excel CSV Glossary Example

Name and save the CSV file in a location of your choosing. We recommend naming it something related to the course that it is being imported into.

  1.  To begin the import process, instead of clicking the ‘New Term’ button on the left, click the ‘Import Terms’ button on the right. It will present the following pop-up box:

    Import Term Pop-Up Box
    Import Term Pop-Up Box
  2. Choose the file from the location where you saved it and then click the ‘Import Terms’ button (to the left of the ‘Cancel’ button as seen above).
  3. Prior to importing terms selected, it will give you an option to make any edits necessary to the terms uploaded. This includes adding in formulas, pictures, adjusting text and so on.

    Glossary Inclusion After CSV Upload
    Glossary Inclusion After CSV Upload
  4. Upon review, click the ‘Import Selected Terms’ button and the terms will be added into the glossary.


As seen above, glossaries are a necessary and important tool that instructors AND students can use to better their knowledge obtainment through a course. With just a few minutes of time, a couple of clicks of a mouse, and some dedication as to what terms will be included, this feature of eLearn will quickly become one everyone will grow to love. Want to learn more or get some individualized help using the glossary? Contact the Distributed Education team at 615-230-3665 or send us an email at eLearn@volstate.edu. We’re here to help!