Blocks

Valid for Moodle 2.5.  Updated on 11/12/2013.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.

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Once the block is added (in this case an RSS block) you will see a variety of icons with the block when editing is turned on.

Example of a block with icons.

The update icon (the second icon) allows you to adjust settings for the block. Some blocks, such as the HTML block, wouldn't show anything until the settings have been set.

To move blocks around the page, use the first icon in the block’s header. This does not immediate move the block, rather it highlights locations between other blocks where you can move the block by clicking in the pink area. 

Example of target area for block move.

To remove a block from your page, click the X icon.  Blocks required by the system can't 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 course description from the Edit Settings interface. This is the only place this description shows up 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.
  • My private files: Access and management of personal files stored on the Moodle server.
  • Panopto Focus: Interface to the Panopto video platform.
  • 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.
  • 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.