Ah, the “scroll of death” – that processes we’ve all been through of logging into your LMS some weeks into the academic calendar, and becoming painfully aware of how much you are spinning the mouse wheel to find the week’s content. But did you know that Moodle offers several alternatives to prevent this?
At moodlefacts.nl, the Dutch blog of Moodle services provider in Belgium and The Netherlands provider, Avetica, we found a compilation worth checking out and updating. We will also review the navigation improvements the “Boost” theme brought to Moodle 3.2 in regards to this preventable ailment on LMSs.
Alternatives to version of Moodle before 3.2
Here are some of the Course Format type plugins available that synthesize, prioritize or otherwise dodge the “scroll of death” on a Moodle Dashboard.
Collapsed Topics Course Format
Arguably the most straightforward solution, the Collapsed Topics plugin turns a Moodle course hierarchy of sections and subsections into an achordion, with collapse\expand toggling buttons next to each heading. A “Current topic first” setting allows to leave one section (the current one) expanded at a time.
Grid Course Format
The Grid Format Plugin replaces a list of items with tiles for each course section. It allows tile highlighting, to emphasize this week’s section, for examples. When clicking on the tile, a pop-up menu (“lightbox”) displays a list of the section’s Activities, Resources or sub-sections.
Restrict Access to old content
One of the many scenarios the Moodle “Restrict Access” feature allows is to hide content already covered. That way, when a user logs in, they will see the current section on top as it is the oldest available item. Time can trigger the restrictions, or they can be set manually.
This debatable workaround provides a clear-cut, plugin-free solution to provide direct access to a course section. As downsides, it prevents students from accessing previous content, when they want to prepare final exams or just keep the material close. A short of ideal solution is to release the restrictions before final exams or once the course is over (perhaps in read-only mode).
If you do not see a “Restrict access” option in your course, ask your Moodle site administrator to enable it via
Site administration > Advanced features.
Overriding the Moodle Dashboard with Blocks and Modules
In some cases it is not possible or desirable to change a course format or install a course format plugin, let alone the default structure for a Moodle site’s course. In these scenarios, changing the default Dashboard can be an affordable option. The default dashboard on a Moodle site includes the “Course overview”, which is where the scroll of death takes place. One or many Moodle Blocks can replace this course overview. Resetting the dashboard will return the Course overview into place.
While Blocks are still available for Moodle 3.2 on browsers, its use is discouraged by Moodle, as they are not accessible on Moodle Mobile.
Blocks or Modules suggested as replacements for a Course Overview are:
‘Scroll of Death’ in Moodle 3.2’s ‘Boost’?
The “Boost” Theme on Moodle 3.2 offers a simple shortcut to a course section, by means of the collapsible left bar. It can be hidden or shown under the “hamburger icon” at the left side of the site’s header. By default, it shows each section when the user is in any page of a Moodle course. By default, “Boost” brings no item highlighting in the collapsible menu, and the course home page comes unchanged.
The plugins mentioned above are compatible with Moodle 3.2 and “Boost”.
Is this solution good enough? Which improvement would you like to see in Moodle 3.3. concerning navigation? Share your answers and comments with us in the field below.
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