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Organize Your Moodle Course Page

There are a number of ways to add structure and visual interest to your Moodle course page. The less cluttered and better organized you make your course page the easier it will be for your students to use.

To help your students find their way around your course page:

  • Avoid unnecessary content on the course page.
  • Provide custom Section names.
  • Provide concise Summary text for course Sections.
  • Use subheadings to organize course content within each Section.
  • Give Resources and Activities informative names.
  • Use indents to create visual hierarchy on your course page.
  • Use images for context, but limit image dimensions.

Here is an example of a well-organized course page:

Annotated example of well-organized course(click to enlarge)

Customize Course Image

Add a custom header image at the top of your Moodle course page. You can use this to make it easier to recognize your courses and add personality.

  1. On your course page, select Course Management (black gear icon Course Management button (black background, white gear icon), top right). The Course Management panel will open.
  2. On the Course Management panel, under Course settings, select Edit course settings. The Edit course settings page will open.
  3. On the Edit course settings page, under the Course Summary locate the Course image file upload block.  Drag and drop your image file into the upload block.  Note: Alternatively, you can also select the file icon file icon screenshot (top left, file upload block). The File picker will open. Select Browse... and select your file and click Open. Select Upload this file.
  4. Select Save and display (bottom of page). Your Course page will refresh and the header image will appear.

Avoid Unnecessary Content on your Course Page

Avoid long paragraphs of text, embedded videos, or large images on your course page.

  • Provide instructions in activity or resource Descriptions, and avoid displaying Descriptions on the course page unless they are very brief.
  • Embed media in Descriptions for activities such as Assignments or Forums rather than on the main course page.
  • Use a Page resource to deliver video or large images on a separate page.

Customize Section Names

Sections in Moodle courses are named "Section 1," "Section 2," "Section 3," etc. To help orient students and encourage engagement with the material, provide a descriptive Section name.

  1. On your course page, select Turn editing on (green pencil icon Turn editing on (green pencil icon), top right). Editing links will appear.
  2. Next to the Section name, select the Pencil icon (Pencil icon screenshot). The name will become highlighted.
  3. Enter a new Section name and press enter/return to save your changes (or esc to cancel).

Note: You can change the format of sections from the default collapsed topics to, for example, weekly topics, or single activity format on your Moodle course settings (see Important Settings for your Moodle Course).

Provide Summary text for course Sections

It may be helpful to add a sentence or two at the top of each section summarizing the goals for the week or topic. The Summary will show at the top of a Section (under the Section name). 

  1. On your course page, click Turn editing on (green pencil icon Turn editing on (green pencil icon), top right). Editing links will appear.
  2. Locate the Section of the Moodle course you wish to edit select Edit (at the top right of Section). A drop-down list will open. From the list, select Edit Section. The Summary page will open.
  3. To add a custom Section name, on the Summary page select the Custom checkbox (to right of Section name, in General settings). Type a new name in the small textbox
  4. To add a Section summary, in the Summary textbox, enter text and/or add images to display below the Section name.
  5. Click Save changes.

Note: If using the Collapsed Topics format you can choose whether or not to show Section summaries when sections are collapsed on the Edit course settings page (see Important Settings for your Moodle Course).

Add Text in a Label

Use Labels to add subheadings and make your course content easy to find. For example, you might create subheadings within each section for Readings, Discussion, Assignments, Quizzes, etc. 

  1. On your course page, click Turn editing on (green pencil icon Turn editing on (green pencil icon), top right). 
  2. Locate the Section of your Moodle course where you wish to add text and click + Add an activity or resource. The Activity chooser will open.
  3. In the Activity chooser, scroll down and under the Resources heading select Label Icon ScreenshotLabel. The Settings page for the label will open.
  4. On the Settings page, for Label text, enter and format your text
    Important! To accommodate accessibility for all students, use Paragraph styles (). For example, Heading (medium) could be used to format subheadings rather than choosing bold and larger text.
    Paragraph styles screenshot of Annotated example of medium size heading (click to enlarge)
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save and return to course.
  6. New items always appear at the bottom of the section. Use the Move icon (The move icon at the left) to drag the label upwards or downwards into the desired position. For details, see Reorder Sections or Items in your Moodle Course.

Give Resources and Activities Concise, Informative Names

Rather than just naming your activities as "Assignment 1, Quiz 1, Forum 1" describe the topic, e.g., "Essay 1 - Thinking like an Archeologist." For more on adding course content see About Adding Activities to a Moodle Course, and About Adding Resources to a Moodle Course.

Indent Items in Course Sections to Create an Outline Form

Indenting content in your Moodle course, is a way of making it easier to read and more user friendly (much like a "skimmable" outline). 

  1. On your course page, click Turn editing on (green pencil icon Turn editing on (green pencil icon), top right).
  2. Locate the item you wish to indent and click Edit associated with the item to indent (located below most activities, labels, and resources), and in the Edit drop-down menu, click  Move right, or to move back,  Move left.

Add an Image to a Label or Section Summary

Images in Section summaries or Labels provide landmarks and can create visual engagement, but a little goes a long way. Large images or videos take up space on the page, cause extra scrolling, and cause pages to load slowly.

You can add images in Section summaries or in Labels using the Insert image (Insert Image Icon Screenshot) button on the Moodle Editor toolbar. Be sure to keep images small in dimension and to provide brief "Alternative text" to make your course page accessible to all students. For step-by-step instructions, see Add Images in Moodle.

Size Guidelines for Images on a Course Page

Use the guidelines below to avoid large images that can cause extra scrolling and slow the download of your course page.

Image Use Image type Pixel Dimensions
Thumbnail image A small illustration, sometimes links to a larger version. ~ 100 pixels wide
Banner image A short, wide image in a Section summary or Label. 1600 pixels wide
Block image An image placed in a Moodle HTML block. No more than 340 pixels wide
Illustration An image placed in a page of text (avoid on course page). 250 to 400 pixels wide. 

Note: Moodle will automatically make large images fit in the available area of the page, but the full-sized image file still downloads to browsers. Pages load faster if you resize images before uploading them to your course.