Posted in editorial rant, EdTech, Moodle, Technical stuff, user interface design

Moodle UX: The Naked Moodle

Boost is the default theme for Moodle 3.3 (and the upcoming 3.4) installations. If you’ve been Moodleing for a while, you might find the navigation to be confusing at first… and you’ll either love it or hate it. I’m personally not fond, but hey, not everything is about my personal preferences. Apart from that, its nice and clean, and gives you a fresh look.

Let’s have a peek and get a little content in here…

The Naked Moodle

fresh naked moodle - home
Naked installation of Moodle – Boost Theme

A Naked Moodle is one of the scariest things you will ever see. It has so much possibility in it, but it looks unfriendly and unyielding. From the thumbnail, you can see that its not going to be scary forever. As soon as we begin to add in our own elements, such as colours, logos, text… we can tame it!

If you have an installation of Moodle that was put together by a Moodle Partner, such as My Learning Space (who I work with), they will often do this initial work for you on your Live Moodle. but because we are playing with an installation on your laptops, you don’t get to leap ahead to something friendlier.

TIP: Run Moodle on your Laptop

I used the Moodle4Mac  (Moodle4Windows is also available) which came with a virtual server filled with everything I need to run Moodle offline ONLY on my laptop – no-one else can access this Moodle.

You might also have access to a ‘test Moodle’ or ‘sandpit Moodle’ which IS on the server, but only for trying things out – it won’t have students/staff, and it won’t be running current courses.

If you are going to mess about with Admin Settings, or even build new Courses, this is a fantastic way of doing that and finding out the problems BEFORE you touch the Live Moodle on the web server that all users have access to.

I’ll be mostly talking about playing with the Moodle on your laptop (or desktop or test/sandpit Moodle installation); but if I need to talk about the Moodle on the web server, that likely has courses already running and users added, I’ll refer to that as your Live Moodle.

Let’s add some logos

Before we look at what is available in Theme Settings, there is a place in Site Administration to add some Logos to the site. I got all inspired and made a video…

TIP: Logo Sizes, Shapes, and File Formats

Unfortunantley, Moodle doesn’t give us exact sizes for what might look good on the site and that seems to be so you are in control and you need to think about what screens will be seeing your Moodle.

Moodle does give you a hint that the Logo would be better as a wide shape, and the Compact Logo is more square shaped “…such as an emblem, shield or icon. The image should be clear even at small sizes.”

Of the two file formats accepted, JPEG and PNG, I’d use the PNG most of the time. PNG makes vectors (lines and plain colours) beautiful, and that’s what you need when you are talking a little graphic with a shield or similar. JPEG/JPG is better at photos and pictures with blended colours. Maybe use JPEG for the wide Logo if you need it.

Next… we’ll look at what we can do using the Theme Settings for Boost

Posted in EdTech, Game Theory, Learning Design, Learning models, Learning Styles, Moodle, Motivation, research, Totara Learn

Guide to Motivating Learners

A KILLER RESOURCE that is still more than applicable since the move of Moodle from Moodle 2.x to 3.x, and for use in Totara as well… The ‘The Moodle for Motivation guide‘ by the fantastic Natalie Denmeade.

Why I love it

It assists in thinking on learning style diversity

MML - types

Breaking down the use of the course activities into why and how it might best work for the four basic styles of learners – it reminds the teacher/trainer/course designer that not everyone is going to respond to Assignments and Quizzes in the same way… and there are many more activities to try out!


The Ease of Use column is brilliant is letting you know which are simple to set up, and what might require more skills and further thinking before you get it right.

It emphasises the brilliance of using Glossary & Forum activities

MML - forum glossary

Seriously, I have so much love for these two activities and often find it hard to express my passion for how they can be adapted for so many different assessment types. While so many people are running to have a SCORM package carefully designed… there is so much formative and summative brilliance that is already built into Moodle with these two activity types. (I feel at least one blog post coming up regarding these two).


These two allow for peer-assessment – now you may or may not decide to have scores as part of the assessment, but you have to admit that critically being able to appraise the work of others means that the learners are required to deepen their knowledge of the topic be default.

Tips and tricks on other items that impact learners

MML - tips

I go crazy for Rubrics and Marking Guides, and the nutty thing is, in many cases, the Government may have already given them to you! If you are working in the Australian National Curriculum, or as a Registered Training Organisation, you have access to the rubrics for the units you teach – those do not need much tweaking about to cover what you are doing.

Questions such as “Why use Badges?” and “What can I do with a Label?” are answered succinctly. Help for enabling these things from the Site Admin is available, as well as information about how to keep a social aspect thriving in your course.


There are tips on how to look for more information from Moodle and some top-notch Moodlers (and their Twitter names – I’ve found that, even now in 2017, Twitter is the social medium of choice of the Education and EduTech tribes. I insist that you sign up and put some Twitter time into your schedule!).


Fangirling: Tom Peters

It was the early 2000’s when I first fell for Tom Peters and his brash, bold style of management and self-management. My first book of his was ‘The Brand You – 50‘, quickly followed by ‘The Professional Service Firm – 50‘. 

I’ve keep an eye out since then and happily followed Tom on Twitter [@tom_peters] as soon as I could.


source: Twitter

“O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

– Jabberwokky by Lewis Carroll