Blocks

Valid for Moodle 2.8.  Updated on 7/14/2015.Blocks are the smaller boxes that appear on the sides of your Moodle course page. Some of these are specified by Moodle (such as Navigation and Settings)  and some have been added here at Amherst (such as Need Help?). In addition you can add additional blocks to your course to show the information you want your students to see.

To Add a block, first turn editing on for your course. You will now find a block labeled Add a block". Pull down the Add menu and select the type of block you want to add.

image

Once the block is added (in this case an RSS block) you will see four icons near the top of the block when editing is turned on.

Example block with icons

The disk icon collapses the block to a header. The arrow icon docks the block.

The cross icon allows you to move blocks. You can use this icon to drag the block to another location or, by click on it, bring up a list of locations you can move the block to. Click on the link to another block and the current block will go directly under it.

Block move locations

Clicking on the final icon will pull down a menu of options.

Block options

The first option lets you configure that particular block. The configuration options differ according to the type of block.

The second option hides the block for the students.

The third option allows you assign individuals a different role relative this one block. For instance, if you have a block that is not visible to students, you could change the role of one of you students to instructor so they could see the block. It would only effect this block.

The final option allows you to remove a block. Blocks that are needed by Moodle, such as Navigation and Administration, can not be removed.

The number of different types of blocks may go up or down as we add new block types based on faculty requests. Currently we have the following blocks available.

  • Activities: This block will contain a list of all activity types. Clicking on one will bring up a list of all activities in the course of that type.
  • Attendance: Block access to attendance activities.
  • Calendar: Another way of viewing upcoming events you have added to your course calendar.
  • Comments: Allows students to add comments on the course. 
  • Course/Site description: Shows the Moodle course description from the Edit Settings interface. This is the only place this description shows up for students on the Amherst site.
  • HTML: Shows text (or images, or links) entered by the Instructor. Similar to a label, but appears in a block.
  • i>Clicker: Handles courses that use personal response systems (clickers).
  • Latest news: Shows the most recent posts in the News Forum.
  • Logged in user: Shows the name and picture (if available) if the person logged in. Appears to be designed for proctored  exams in order for verify that the person taking the exam is who they say they are.
  • Mass Actions: Allows a common action to affect a group of content items. This block with only work with, and be available in, courses that use either the Weekly or Topics course format. At the moment it doesn't work with our version of Moodle. We hope to have it updated soon.
  • My private files: Access and management of personal files stored on the Moodle server.
  • Online user:Shows all the participants in the course who are currently on line. The list is updated every five minutes.
  • People: Links to a roster of who is in your class. From here you can view the students' profiles. This is just a short cut to the participants link in the Navigation block, but is simpler to find.
  • Quickmail: Direct access to the mail interface within Moodle. The interface in the participant list is better. We don't recommend using this.
  • Quickset: A quick way to change a course's availability. It also lets and instructor quickly change how many sections a course has. This block is not visible by students.
  • Random glossary entry: If you’ve set up a course Glossary, this will display a random entry each time a user visits the course.
  • Recent activity: Shows changes to the course, including creation of new resources and activities, forum postings, and assignment submissions.
  • Remote RSS feeds: Shows a RSS feeds topics.  (Example block used above is a remote RSS feed block).
  • Search forums
  • Tags: Display tags on the system with links to where they are.
  • Upcoming events: Shows events you have added to your course’s calendar. If you have scheduled Moodle quizzes and assignments on your course page, these will automatically show up on your course calendar.
  • Video requests: Creates a link to the form  the instructor used to request a streaming video for the course.
  • Virtual Computing: Allows students to reserve a virtual computing lab. 
  • WeBWork link: Contain links to WeBWork math and science problem sets used as activities in the course. Here is more information about WeBWorK.