Standard view of a blank course
Generally speaking, the first or top section is not numbered and was designed for general information and to contain activities and resources useful during the course. Most courses will have at least one additional section.
The look of your course homepage also depends on which block areas you choose to appear using the Blocks field. All of the blocks can be moved up or down or to the other outside column according to one's liking. Activities and resources can be moved to any place within the center column. And the HTML editor can turn a plain homepage of text into a visual riot if required.
Here are basic elements of a course page and links to Moodle documentation.
Parts of a course homepage
Using the above image, here are the parts of a course homepage. It is possible to move and hide parts of the page, so not all courses will look like this.
|Column left||Course sections-Center||Column right|
|*1 Course full name||*7 Section header & News topic||*10 Login information|
|*2 Navigation bar||*8 Current week - First section||*11 Edit on button|
|*3 Course description||*9 Future week - Second section||*12 Latest news|
|*4 Participant list||*13 Upcoming events|
|*5 Forum list||*14 Recent activity|
|*6 Course administration block|
Examples of course formats
Topic format example
This is a downloaded version of demo.moodle.org, using the Topic course format.
Weekly format example
This is a downloaded version of demo.moodle.org, using the weekly course format.
Social format example
This is a downloaded version of demo.moodle.org, using the Social course format. The existing activities seemed to disappear. The teacher added two forums and a student added a third popular topic.
Other format examples
Some sites may allow teachers to select themes for their courses that are different from the Moodle site homepage. A theme can effect colours, font sizes and page layouts.
In course settings, Teachers will see a "Force theme" drop down menu in the general section that contains a list of available themes. Non-editing teacher can not alter this setting. The default course theme is the site theme or the category theme.
The site administrator or course manager should look at Theme_settings or Administration>Configuration>Variables (older versions of Moodle) and change the allowcoursethemes to yes.
Drag and drop
Be aware that drag and drop for course sections currently (25th Feb 2008) has an issue and only support dragging a course section onto an adjacent section. Fix on the way: MDL-11539
Tips and tricks
Make your course home page look more like a regular webpage
Often when a course has a lot of content, students and teachers find the long scrolling tedious and would prefer a 'neater' appearance with hyperlinks to sections in a similar way to the way pages on websites work.
- Anchors/section links can help. But the course page can still be long.
- Hiding the activities shortens the list for students, but then they can not be selected by students.
One method which might be useful is to put the activities into sections which are then made 'unseen' to the student.
- Set the number of topics in the course setting to 1 more than students will see.
- For example, you plan on the students being able to see 6 topics, set it for 7.
- Add activities in topic 7, such as a quiz (in our example)
- Get the url of your quiz
- Copy it and keep it somewhere (such as notepad) for later use
- Go back to course admin>settings and change your topic/weeks to 6
- Or one fewer than you had before
- The section with your quiz will no longer be on the page that the student sees
- In another section, make a hyperlink to the quiz using its url
- You can also put it in a topic summary, label or
- as a resource (link to a file or website)
You will find that the quiz is accessible to students even though the section does not physically appear on the course page for the students. You have shortened the page.
More advanced example
- There is a youtube video that gives an example of how to do this here
- You can actually set up your whole course using this method.
- Set your course to have two topics (or more if you wish)
- Ignore topic 1 - do not place anything in it.
- In topic 2, use the resource: Compose a webpage to make webpages relating to your units of work/topics
- Add all your resources to topic 2
- Copy the resources urls into the relevant webpage as hyperlinks
- In topic 0, the course summary make hyperlinks -or better- images hyperlinked - to each webpage which contains the activities of that unit/topic
- Go back to course settings and set the number of visible topics to 1.
The student will only see the top of the page. When they click on a link in the header, they are taken to the hidden webpage resources, where they select the resource or activity they wish. This creates a very short visual page but keeps all the course material within the course.
Note: The method in Moodle 2.0 will be slightly different. See MDL-24316 for details.