How can I change the look of my course using themes?

Valid for Moodle 2.8.  Updated on 03/3/2016.

Warning: We have seem some minor problems with some of the themes. Usually they can be ignored, but if they bother you or interfere with your course try using another theme. And let Academic Technology Services know so we can see if there's a fix or if we need to remove the theme.

Warning: Some themes have accessibility issues involving poor color contrast. If this becomes an issue in your course, try another theme. The Newfallen theme - originally developed at Smith and modified for Amherst - was designed to provide high contrast. Please note that with this theme text that would normally be displayed in a light grey will appear as green italic text. With some system and browsers the green may be dark enough to appear to be black. If this is a problem try another browser.

In addition to changing the course format, it is possible for you to change the theme used for your course.  Themes control the layout, color and icons of a course. A variety of themes are install on the Amherst server that you choose between. In addition, if you find a theme somewhere else that you like, talk to Academic Technology about the possibility of our installing it. A good place to look is on the theme plugin page of

To change the theme of your course, go to the course settings and change the Force theme option in the Appearance section to the theme you want. If you set this option to Do not force then students can select their own theme.