On July 9th 2020, Moodle will switch to use a new theme with a goal of providing students and faculty with a more attractive, intuitive and simplified interface. A Moodle theme generally impacts the look and feel of Moodle but does not change core functionality. This particular theme does change the location of some Moodle features and navigation links, for improved usability.

Everything else about Moodle will remain the same (aside from these other new features), and course formats like Tiles and Collapsed Topics can still be used. This particular theme is called “Fordson” and is also used by our colleagues at UMass and Mount Holyoke.

Fordson Theme Features

Customizable Course Banner Image

  Fordson theme

  • Faculty are welcome and encouraged to add a custom image for their course which will appear at the top of the course page as well as in the dashboard.
  • Any landscape-oriented image will work, or check out this selection of beautiful Amherst scenes provided by the Office of Communications.
  • Many Amherst faculty have used custom course images to create a sense of teaching presence and connect their Moodle site more closely to the class topic. This is especially impactful when teaching an online or hy-flex course.

Turn Editing On or Off Button: Moved to Top of Screen

For ease of use, this button will now be available even if you are looking at the very bottom of your Moodle site.

  turn editing on button

Navigation Bar

The “Navigation Bar” toggles open for various Moodle links to the dashboard and your other courses. It toggles shut by default, for a distraction-free view of course content.

navigation bar

Course Administration & Settings

The Course Management button in the top bar opens a management panel with the items formerly found in Administration block. Again, this will be easy to access no matter where you are in your Moodle site.


As always, please contact askIT@amherst.edu with any questions!