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Course checks block

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The Course Checks Block carries out a number of automated checks on a course. Checks can be configured by site admin and overridden within a specific course. Checks were designed to encourage a minimum standard of course quality by alerting editors of common mistakes and encouraging the use of specified activities or blocks. The block also has the option to allow users to "clear down" empty sections within a course in a single click, empty sections being a common consequence of Moodle's default behaviour of creating new courses with ten sections.

** Note: If you have issues with empty sections Moodle now allows site administrators to set the default to One section for new courses after which the add / remove sections buttons at the end of the course page can be used to add more as required

The checks / functions that can be carried out by this block are:

  • One click clear down of empty course sections (no content and no summary)
  • Checks that the course has a summary
  • Check the course has an image set (Moodle 2.6+ has this feature)
  • Checks that the course is visible to students
  • Checks that guest access has been disabled on the course (avoiding issues of students accidentally accessing as guest when they should be enrolled)
  • Check that section headings have been renamed from their defaults
  • Check that all sections have a summary
  • Check that there are no empty sections and that they all have content
  • Allows site administrators to recommend specific blocks are used in each course
  • Allows site administrators to recommend specific activities are used in each course

Moodle versions and languages available

  • This plugin can be downloaded from the Moodle plugins Database for Moodle versions 2.6, 2.7 and 2.8
  • As of November 26th 2014, this plugin has only one translation available: Mexican spanish

Site Administration Settings

Navigate to: Site Administration > Plugins > Blocks > Course Checks Block

Course Check Admin Settings
  • Allow users to clean course? - when enabled a "Clean Course" button will be enabled in the block allowing one click cleanup of all empty sections
  • Allow the user to set their own course checks? - When enabled will allow course editors to override the default settings / checks where they are not appropriate
  • Check that course summary isn't empty? - Will indicate whether the course summary (edit Course settings) has been set, this is the summary appearing on category pages
  • Check that course image is set? - Will indicate whether the course image has been set (edit Course settings) which appears on category pages
  • Check if the course is visible to students? - Will indicate whether the course is visible / hidden to students
  • Check that guest access is disabled for the course - Will indicate whether guest access is disabled "warning" editors if it is. Enabling guest access can be problematic as it allows students to access a course but not participate in activities. This can be confusing to students who (within our organization) subsequently complain that they cannot post to forums or submit assignments
  • Should all sections be renamed? - When enabled encourages editors to name sections appropriately as opposed to leaving the default "Topic 1, Topic 2" names in place
  • Should all sections have a summary? - When enabled encourages editors to add a summary to each section
  • Should all sections have content? - When enabled will flag any sections which are empty encouraging editors to either add content or perhaps use the "clean course" option if additional empty sections are not required
  • Should all sections be visible? - When enabled it will indicate any sections which are not hidden. Although Moodle does this already by showing hidden items in a lighter grey color sometimes find editors miss this, one real word example being:
  • Check if assignments are due before the course starts? - This feature is useful where you use a rollover process, that is backup a course and restore it into a new course for a different cohort of students. Assuming the start date of the newly copied course is updated then any past assignment deadlines will be highlighted.


Course Check Admin Settings

Once enabled within a course (or enabled site wide) the block will appear to course editors only.

Looking at the image to the right we can see:

  • course summary
  • a course image has been uploaded
  • the course is visible to students
  • guest access has been disabled

We can also see that whilst the recommended " Activities block " block has been enabled "Progress Bar" has not.

Within course sections we can see that whilst all are visible some are missing either summaries or content (resources or activities).

The "Clean Course" button will only remove sections with neither a summary or content (activities or resources) so in this instance "Clean Course" would only remove section 3 which has neither a summary or any content.


Why aren't my students receiving forum subscription emails?

  • Because the section in which you have the news forum is hidden!

What blocks would you encourage on courses?

  • It is possible to select multiple blocks which will be "suggested" to course editors.
  • For example you could recommend all courses use Moodle's Activities block or third party block plugins like Progress Bar.

Which formats do you want to prompt the sections to be renamed on?

  • This relates to a previous setting Should all sections be renamed?
  • Renaming is only relevant to "Topics" based format, it will not work for "Weekly" formats where section headings are populated automatically based on the start date of the course.
  • As there are a growing number of course formats administrators can manually select those they know to be "topics based" and exclude any they know to be automatically populated based on date.

What is the "course image," and where is it set?

  • I've never noticed this before and cannot find a setting for it. Where does it show up? I see that it's supposed to be in the Edit Course Settings, but I don't see it anywhere.
  • The course image refers to the "course summary files" which you can see when you edit the Course settings. If you upload an image there it will show in the category list.

See also