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What's up with Glossary?

Posted by ab37750 Aug 19, 2019

The Glossary activity is there in your add activity list. You've probably looked at it and wondered what to do with it, or how to use it well, or if you are like me even where to start. Well this blog post is for you my friend. Let's talk about what the Glossary tool is all about, how you can use it, and some neat features that can really enhance your course.

Glossary is a normal Moodle activity, but typically is not graded. The most common way to think of using one is as a dictionary or encyclopedia list of entries that explain terms and concepts from the course material. The list can be the authoritative source for terms and definitions for the course provided by the instructor or even from an associated textbook. The list can be shown in different layouts and styles, dictionary, continuous listings (not broken up by first letter), encyclopedia (dictionary with pictures inline with the terms), and FAQ (where the concepts and definitions are called questions and answers.) This screenshot shows a simple, dictionary style listing. 

Screenshot of the list of entries in a glossary. It is searchable and can be filtered by the entry's first letter.

Glossary can be treated as a student contribution and collaboration space where learners can create entries for terms or concepts that they do not understand and have other students provide attempts at answers. Comments and even grading can be used in this approach. 

For my exploration, I will use the authoritative source approach which assumes that the entries are "official". For this purpose I prefer to use the appearance mode called "simple, dictionary style". It provides a clean standard view with terms organized by first letter and dispenses with the notion of who authored each individual entry. Entry authorship is more useful for collaborative glossaries. 


Screenshot of the form for making a new glossary entry.

Each new entry is a combination of a Concept or a Term and it's definition. It is best to keep the Concepts as simple and short as possible. In part because they tend to be easier to search for, and in part because it is easier to use the filter system on single terms and fixed short phrases. Keywords can be thought of as aliases for the concept; any terms that should be considered synonymous to the main concept in the entry. Filters will show this definition for the keywords as well as the concept. 

What's this about filters? 

Screenshot of the course admin tools showing the Filters settings for the course. Screenshot of the enable filter interface.

Maybe you've used them before, maybe not, or maybe you've used them and not known. Filters screen the HTML text on the page and do something when they find a match. Like the MathJax filter that takes LaTeX embedded between the right tags and turns it into a nice math font based mathematical expression on the page. Glossary comes with the glossary auto-linking filter. Auto-linking takes the glossary out of it's isolation in the activity and injects it into the course content.

When enabled in a course or an individual course content item (a Forum or a Page resource as examples) the glossary auto-linking filter finds words in the HTML that match concepts and their keywords and creates a link to the glossary entry that matches. 

Screenshot of a section of text with the glossary auto-link enabled and modals with definitions open.

It even works on itself! Concepts and keywords in glossary definitions can be auto-linked to their definitions. A veritable journey through concepts awaits your learners as they follow a key term in text presented in the course to a definition that opens further definitions for the key concepts it contains. 


The filter matching can be set to match on all or part of the concept term in the text, for example if the concept is for the word trust, whole word matching will only match to the word trust, partial will match to trust in the word trusting. Keywords can be useful here to have more precise control over the matching behavior. Set the match to whole word only and list intended matches in the keywords list to avoid partial matching to terms that are not intended. There is also an option to force case sensitivity, to create constraints on the matching behavior. Auto-linking can be enabled and disabled for each individual term, giving you complete control.


Glossary auto-linking can be enabled everywhere in the course or just in specific activities and content items. If enabled everywhere, it can be disabled in specific activities or content items, like in a summative quiz to avoid showing answers in question text. The glossary auto-linking filter needs to be enabled by a site administrator before it shows up in your course as an option. 


Experiment with the glossary. Add terms and concepts over time; enlist learners to start a glossary and then refine and finalize it. Use the filter in a few areas and then expand them over time. Glossary can be a useful and rewarding tool for teaching and learning when employed in your courses.

I've been playing around with the TinyMCE editor and the Atto Editor for a while and thought it might be useful to share some of my thoughts and findings. 

A little background

You may or may not have been using Open LMS/Moodle for a while so why not give a little history and context. For a number of years, Moodle was using the TinyMCE editor as the HTML editor in the platform. Eventually a custom HTML editor was developed in part to maintain more control over the development and bug fixing needed in the platform. Overall, there are some performance enhancements with Atto over TinyMCE, particularly in pages with multiple instances of the HTML editor. After a while,the TinyMCE editor stopped being formally supported but has still been included due to the large number of users of this older HTML editor. This means that sometimes weird behavior or issues that come up are actually related to the use of the TinyMCE editor. Atto has become the editor of choice and is the default in new installations; but many folks have some issues or confusion about it or are just plain unaware that it is around. 


Managing the tool bar

Atto starts in a more streamlined mode, with fewer options available in both collapsed and expanded mode. In part this is a design decision and in part it is part of a plan to encourage more web friendly and accessible content. The styles are little different overall and Atto does manage styles a bit differently than TinyMCE. We will check out some of the ways they are different, why, and what can be done about it. Both have admin control over what options show up in the tool bars, but most of us have just never used this power. 

Screenshot of the Admin Settings menu in the Text Editors in the Plugins list Screenshot of the Atto Text Editor settings in the Admin tools

When I am adding new buttons to the tool bar, I just copy the "shortname" from the list and paste it into the grouping that I want the button to show up in. For Example, I might add or move the underline button to the style1 grouping by adding a ", underline" immediately after the "italic" on that list. The groupings just help manage and collect buttons with a similar theme together. 



One of the most often singled out items is the lack of color choice in the text editor. Color is not an effective way to communicate importance because we do not all see colors and it is noise that a screen reader user will have turned off, so they will not be notified of this "importance" or information meant to convey in color. Importance should be communicated with headings and tags, not color. That said, if your life is incomplete without it, you can add color to the Atto editor choices. There are two buttons that an admin can add to the tool bar; fontcolor and morefontcolors. Screenshot of the morefontcolors custom color creation interface.

The fontcolor button adds a fixed set of color options while the morefontcolors adds a configurable menu of color choices with an option to allow the user to create a custom color using a color picker.


Adding Images

I have found that while the Atto editor is generally very accessible and responsive friendly, it has a few odd corners. One is in image handling. By default, the editor always requires a fixed size for images that are added. There is no option to leave the size to be unspecified. The result is that often times for a large image, the responsive behavior is limited by the fixed size scale. I usually add the image and then enter HTML mode and just remove the height and width tags. This is probably bad form, but I like the results much better, especially when using Snap and it's responsive classes. 

Where Atto does better than TinyMCE is in a very critical issue; the finding and linking to files. I have seen several issues come up with copying HTML content objects with embedded images and files breaking when the link was made in TinyMCE. If the content is re-created with Atto, the issue goes away. The TinyMCE editor just does not use the correct linking to images in the file repository.


Collapse behavior and HTML+

Some of us like to work in HTML in the editor, and if you are one you might like the HTML+ tool. It is included in the system as an option, and is designed to replace the HTML button. Just change the html entry in the buttons list to be htmlplus. It adds color coding to HTML tags to help identify open or malformed tags. 

You and your faculty might also prefer to always have the editor open fully rather than have a collapse/expand behavior. An admin can remove the collapse option by removing the line "collapse = collapse" from the button line up in Atto. This will force the tool to just load open and not hide options under the collapsed space. 



What have you found with the Atto editor? What is your favorite feature in one that you can't seem to find in the other?


More on H5P

Posted by ab37750 May 14, 2019

Hi folks, I am back and on the H5P train again.

Just an update to kick things off, but I thought I'd start with a note about the more recent updates to H5P in Moodle/Open LMS. One of my favorite bits is the reporting views. They really feel so much more polished and clear, I am loving them. 

From the Grader view in the gradebook, you can click on the H5P activity link to get to this grade report page. 

Screenshot of the H5P Grade Report showing grade information for each student's attempt.

It has a few more details than the gradebook view, but gets more exciting when we dive into the View Answers Report.

For each student we can see the detailed report on their responses without having to navigate out or find additional reports.

Screenshot of the H5P View Answers Report showing detailed information about the answers selected or provided by the student.

Pretty good details on what the actual responses were from the attempt.


Another item for today's post is the idea of creating a template page for the Course presentation activity.

It is easy to really think about the Course presentation as a slide show, the parallels are pretty strong. So as I was knocking out some examples, it occurred to me that the clone page tool is perfect for the job. 

Screenshot of the H5P Course presentation authoring page, highlighting the clone page tool.I can make several different styles of page template, and use the clone page button to make copies of them for each page I want to build. When I am all done, I can toss out the template pages, or use them as the last of that style of page. It can really cut down on the styling time, and make it feel a little more like using Power point or Keynote to author a slide presentation. 

I'll be back with more updates and information. I think next up I will take a tour through the Open Badges 2.0 implementation and some cool new features in there.

Dear Open LMS Community,


In our November 2019 Client Town Hall meetings we focused on doing a quick recap of the features from our previous release, shared some of the exciting features that are coming on Blackboard Open LMS 3.5 and provided a sneak peek of some of our product initiatives for 2019. Here's a quick overview of the topics we covered during this webinar:


Blackboard Open LMS 3.4 Recap

  • Upgrade to Core 3.4: Calendar management, unified user management view, file type selector, etc.
  • Blackboard's Learning Environment: New version of SafeAssign Originality Report, IntelliBoard 5.0, new e-commerce capabilities with IntelliCart
  • Other features and upgrades: New in-app communication channel and custome certificate plugin


What's coming in Blackboard Open LMS 3.5

  • Simple Global Search
  • New criteria for badges
  • LTI advantage 1.1 support
  • Cohort themes
  • Filter questions by tag
  • GDPR and Record RTC plugins now part of Core
  • New PLD action: enroll user


A quick look at some of our 2019 initiatives

  • Main areas of focus
  • Blackboard Data
  • Improvements on our SaaS delivery model
  • QA & code review optimizations and efficiencies
  • Clean and More themes EOL, plus release of Classic theme
  • New hires for our UX team!
  • Profile-based branding
  • IntelliBoard Recommend


In case you missed our Town Hall or if you want to review any topics that we discussed, you can download the PDF deck and watch the recording of your specific territory:



Thank you all for your active participation and we look forward to see you in the next Town Hall!



Carlos Pinto

Product @ Blackboard Open LMS


APAC Open LMS Forum

Posted by lp0068916 Nov 8, 2018

We had fantastic attendance for the APAC Open LMS Forum, presented by Pablo Borbon, Product Management Director for Open LMS, and held on 7 November 2018.


There were some exciting announcements on the upcoming 3.5 release, including the long awaited arrival of global search. The 2019 roadmap was covered, as well as some important considerations about End of Life for themes.


If you missed it, get up to date through the recording below!


APAC Open LMS Forum Recording

Product Management Director

Hi Community Members


I work in the Open Source Product Management team, based in Australia, and I have recently had a couple of questions about extending the formatting options in the Atto text editor, hence this post.


As you may be aware the Atto text editor is the default editor for Moodle. It was designed to help content creators in Moodle create more accessible content.  In theory the course design / content formatting is taken care of by the site branding and theme, however we know in practice many clients enable / require additional features to assist course creators to achieve their desired content display.


To make it easier to create accessible content, by default the Atto editor doesn’t provide a lot of options for formatting. 


A note from Moodle HQ: “Background colour / Font colour

While these are very popular plugins, there are downsides to enabling their use on a site. Firstly - user specified colours may conflict visually with the site colours chosen by the theme designer. Even if the colours of the content do not conflict with the colours of the current theme, if the theme is changed in future, or the content is reused on a different site conflicts may be introduced. There are 2 possible types of conflicts, the first is just a visually unappealing combination of colours, the second is a combination of colours that may produce text that is hard to read for some people. It is preferable if the theme designer uses some interesting colours that meet the accessibility standards required for the site in the theme for the site, and the person creating the content simply uses the proper heading levels (for example) to make use of those styles.”

From: Moodle HQ - Atto Text Editor


After saying that, the recent questions have been around providing access to font colours and customising table formatting.  The following provides an overview of some of the options we have to provide additional formatting features in the Atto editor.


MR Atto additional plugins

The Atto editor comes with core features, and can be extended with additional plugins.  Moodlerooms currently supports the following additional Atto plugins, these plugins are automatically enabled on your Moodlerooms site:

  • Chemistry editor - Edit chemistry equations using the mhchem extension to the MathJax or TeX filter. Useful for full and ionic equations, isotopes, equilibrium reactions, thermochemistry and reaction kinetics. Includes a periodic table of element symbols.
  • File Drag & Drop - This plugin for Moodle's Atto WYSIWYG editor lets you drag any file into Atto so you can upload them into Moodle and add a link to the file within the Atto content.
  • Word count - Simple word count plugin for Atto.
  • HTML+ - The htmlplus plugin provides a version of the HTML plugin with both syntax highlighting and code beautification. It also provides indentation support.
  • More font colours - This is intended to be a replacement for the core fontcolor Atto plugin, allowing the Moodle administrator to freely define a set of colours that can be used by users. If allowed by the administrator, users can also use a colour picker to chose any possible colour.

Lets take a look at how we would enable users to format tables, and choose a font colour, in the Atto editor. 


Are the table formatting features enabled?


When you go to any text editing screen you will see the Atto editor tools, expand the toolbar and click on the table tool, as shown below with the default settings.

Image of create table screen without the formatting features enabled.


If the table formatting features are enabled, the Create table dialog will include additional formatting tools, as shown below.

Image of create table screen with formatting features enabled.


To enable table formatting features:

Role: Site administrator

  • Site Administration > Plugins > Text Editors
  • Atto HTML editor > Table settings
  • Enable all the features you would like to make available.
  • Save changes.

While you can’t currently extend the colours that are provided for the table border and background colours, you can switch to HTML view (</>) in the Atto editor, and modify the colours manually, look out for the following two lines in the HTML, any user who can access the editor can edit the content using the HTML editor view:


Table border HTML example:

<td style="border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; border-color: rgb(125, 159, 211);"></td>


Table background HTML example:

<table style="background-color: rgb(239, 69, 64); width: 80%">


Enable font colour selection tool

The More font colours plugin is an additional tool which provides a tool for font colours which can be added to the Atto toolbar, and additional colours can specified by the site administrator.


To add More font colours to the Atto toolbar:

Role: Site administrator

  • Site Administration > Plugins > Text Editors
  • Atto HTML editor > Atto toolbar settings
  • Toolbar config
  • Add morefontcolors to the tools eg style1 = title, bold, italic, hr, clear, morefontcolors
  • Save changes

Example of Atto toolbar configuration.


Image of an example of the Atto Toolbar configuration.


To add more colours to the “More font colours” drop down:

Role: Site administrator

  • Site Administration > Plugins > Text Editors
  • Atto HTML editor > More font colors
  • Add to the list of available colours
  • Save changes


NOTE: It is also possible for you to enable “allow custom colours” from this screen, which will allows users to select their own colour.


You will now see the font colour tool, selected below has been added to your Atto editor toolbar. In the below example, allow custom colours has been enabled.


Image of Atto editor showing the font colour tool.


Switching editors

While Atto is the default editor you can allow users to choose their preferred editor.  Currently you can switch to the previous editor, TinyMCE editor, which has more formatting options, including table options for selecting the background colour from a colour picker in the table editing tools.  Note this editor is not core for Moodle and may or may not be supported long term.  Moodlerooms recommends and prioritises fixes for the Atto editor.   However this does not have any impact on content created with this editor, and you can freely switch editors without loosing any saved content.


A word on accessible content, accessibility issues often come from user created content. The more we apply custom formatting and change the appearance of elements, the better our personal knowledge and commitment to creating accessible content needs to be. In my experience there is a balance between control and responsibility – with greater control comes greater responsibility!


Interested in more accessibility support, have you heard about Ally?  Blackboard Ally is a revolutionary product that integrates seamlessly into the Learning Management System and focuses on making digital course content more accessible.


I’d love to hear from you…

Have you customised your Atto editor?

Do you have any tips and tricks for creating accessible content?

Share your tips and tricks!


I look forward to hearing your stories, challenges and successes.



Kim Edgar

Senior Product Manager, Open Source

The following SQL scripts might be helpful to find different anomalies on your Moodle site.


Modules and their ID number in your database

Before you adopt one of the following codes, you have to check your module IDs in your database as the codes are based on our modules table and it can be different in your database.


Start with the following query:


select * from mdl_modules


and save it somewhere.


Our most popular modules are:




Your database might be different, so you have to use your ID numbers in the following queries. The code looks similar to this one:


... AND cm.module = 55 -- 55 is our module ID for assignments, you have to use your own ID


Let's find some weird settings in Assignments

Missing 'Grade to pass'

Our assignments use the Attempts reopened: Automatically until pass setting under the Submissions settings. It is a great way to keep the students previous attempts accessible on the VLE, so we can see their progress during their studies. We can also control the number of their attempts (Maximum attempts), normally if it is a formative assessment, the students are allowed to submit unlimited time, but if it is a summative one, they have limited attempts.

Everything works fine apart from one little thing. If you leave the Grade to pass value as 0 under the Grade settings, then everyone will pass the assignment, regardless to the actual grading scale or point, so the assignment never reopens automatically, no one can resubmit anything.

The following report helps you to find mismatching settings:


    gi.courseid, gi.itemname, gi.gradepass, gi.scaleid
    mdl_grade_items AS gi
    mdl_course AS c ON = gi.courseid
    mdl_assign AS ass ON gi.iteminstance =
        AND gi.courseid = ass.course
    mdl_course_modules AS cm ON cm.instance = 
        AND cm.module = 55 -- don't forget to use your own assign module ID here
    mdl_course_sections AS cs ON = cm.section
    gi.gradepass = 0
        AND gi.itemmodule = 'assign'
        AND gi.hidden = 0 -- visible grade item
        AND c.visible = 1 -- visible course
        AND ass.attemptreopenmethod = 'untilpass'
        AND cm.visible = 1 -- visible activity
        AND cs.visible = 1 -- visible course section


If the grade type is Point (e.g. between 0 and 100), the Grade to pass can be a point (e.g. 40), but when the grade type is Scale you have to be more careful.

If the grade type is Scale: every scale item has a number, e.g.


therefore the Grade to pass should be 2 (=PASS) in this case.


Assignments not sending notifications to graders

It is really important that the grader receives notifications about submitted files need to be graded.

Let's find assignments without notifying the grader.


SELECT AS moduleid, AS courseid, c.shortname,
    mdl_assign AS ass
    mdl_assign_plugin_config AS apc ON apc.assignment =
    mdl_course_modules AS cm ON cm.instance = 
        AND cm.module = 55 -- don't forget to use your own assign module ID here
    mdl_course AS c ON = cm.course
        ass.sendnotifications = 0 -- no notification
        AND cm.visible = 1  -- visible activity
        AND c.visible = 1  -- visible course
        AND apc.plugin = 'file'
        AND apc.subtype = 'assignsubmission'
        AND = 'enabled'
        AND apc.value = 1 -- file submission enabled
        AND ass.submissiondrafts = 1 -- student has to press Submit button
        AND ass.grade <> 0 -- graded assignment


File submissions need to be graded but grader cannot upload feedback file


    mdl_assign_plugin_config AS apc
    mdl_assign AS ass ON = apc.assignment
        ass.grade <> 0  -- needs to be graded
        AND apc.plugin = 'file'
        AND apc.subtype = 'assignfeedback'
        AND = 'enabled'
        AND apc.value = 0 -- no feedback file
        AND apc.assignment IN (SELECT 
            mdl_assign_plugin_config AS apc
            mdl_assign AS ass ON = apc.assignment
            mdl_course AS c ON = ass.course
            mdl_course_modules AS cm ON cm.course =
                AND cm.instance =
                AND cm.module = 55 -- don't forget to use your own assign module ID here
            apc.plugin = 'file'
                AND apc.subtype = 'assignsubmission'
                AND = 'enabled'
                AND apc.value = 1 -- file submission enabled
                AND c.visible = 1 -- visible course
                AND cm.visible = 1) -- visible activity
ORDER BY ass.course DESC





The following SQL scripts might be helpful to find different anomalies on your Moodle site.


Modules and their ID number in your database

Before you adopt one of the following codes, you have to check your module IDs in your database as the codes are based on our modules table and it can be different in your database.


Start with the following query:


select * from mdl_modules


and save it somewhere.


Our most popular modules are:




Your database might be different, so you have to use your ID numbers in the following queries. The code looks similar to this one:


... AND cm.module = 11 -- 11 is our module ID for lessons, you have to use your own ID


Let start with Lessons

Re-take a lesson

If a lesson contains at least one quiz page, it is important to think about the 'Re-takes allowed' setting under the Grade section. If enabled, students can attempt the lesson more than once, otherwise they get an error message:

You are not allowed to retake this lesson.

The following report helps you to find these lessons with quiz pages but disabled re-take setting:


    c.shortname, AS cmid, AS lid,,
    mdl_lesson_pages AS lp
    mdl_lesson AS l ON lp.lessonid =
    mdl_course AS c ON l.course =
    mdl_course_modules AS cm ON cm.course = AND cm.instance =
        AND cm.module = 11 -- don't forget to change it, if your modules table is different
        c.visible = 1      -- only visible courses
        AND cm.visible = 1 -- only visible activities
        AND l.retake = 0   -- retakes not allowed
        AND lp.qtype <> 20 -- branch / content, not quiz
        AND lp.qtype <> 21 -- end of branch, not quiz
        AND lp.qtype <> 30 -- cluster, not quiz
        AND lp.qtype <> 31 -- end of cluster, not quiz


The other qtype codes are:

page / quiz typeqtype code


Find graded lessons

The next script helps you to find graded lessons, in our VLE we don't want them to be graded.


SELECT AS cmid, AS cid, AS lname, AS lid
    mdl_lesson AS l
    mdl_course AS c ON l.course =
    mdl_course_modules AS cm ON cm.course = AND cm.instance =
        AND cm.module = 11 -- don't forget to change this number based on your modules table
    l.grade > 0


I hope you will find these reports helpful.






YouTube Video Background

Posted by vs0068169 Apr 2, 2018

For those that want to add a bit more jazz to some special courses you can add a dynamic background by embedding a video behind the page. The screen grabs above based on code I found on the web ages ago here: FullScreen YouTube Video Background In Pure CSS  and then modified here: 


..and then turned it into a plugin here: Moodle plugins directory: Youtube_Page_background


We don't have access to that plugin suite but we can do it manually. If you paste the code into a label and then save it you can have a dynamic and ever-changing background (with audio).


It works best in "Clean" or "More" as you can scroll down and go full video (See pic RHS above). It work fine in "Boost" but you can't scroll.


I've used it for online chill-out rooms (waterfall) , self promotion (a Moodlemoot presentation), and to annoy my coworkers/students. Hope this is useful to someone.



<div class="video-background">

    <div class="video-foreground">

      <iframe src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>




<div id="vidtop-content">

<div class="vid-info">

  <h1>YouTube Fullscreen Background Demo</h1>

  <p>The International Space Station orbits the Earth every 92 minutes, with its crew seeing a sunrise 15 times a day. It exists as a scientific, educational, and engineering platform in low orbit, 330 to 435 kilometres above the Earth.

     <p>Original timelapse by Riccardo Rossi (ISAA), used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Raw photos courtesy of

<a href="FullScreen YouTube Video Background In Pure CSS ">Full Example</a>






* { box-sizing: border-box; }

.video-background {

  background: #000;

  position: fixed;

  top: 0; right: 0; bottom: 0; left: 0;

  z-index: -99;




.video-background iframe {

  position: absolute;

  top: 0;

  left: 0;

  width: 100%;

  height: 100%;

  pointer-events: none;


#vidtop-content {


color: #fff;

     z-index: 2;



.vid-info {

    padding: 1rem;

    font-family: Avenir, Helvetica, sans-serif;


.vid-info h1 { font-size: 2rem; font-weight: 700; margin-top: 0; line-height: 1.2; }

.vid-info a { display: block; color: #fff; text-decoration: none; background: rgba(0,0,0,0.5); transition: .6s background; border-bottom: none; margin: 1rem auto; text-align: center; }


@media (min-aspect-ratio: 16/9) {

  .video-foreground { height: 300%; top: -100%; }


@media (max-aspect-ratio: 16/9) {

  .video-foreground { width: 300%; left: -100%; }


@media all and (max-width: 600px) {

.vid-info { width: 50%; padding: .5rem; }

.vid-info h1 { margin-bottom: .2rem; }


@media all and (max-width: 500px) {

.vid-info .acronym { display: none; }



#Taken From:


We recently tested the new collapsed Topic format which is an alternative to the soon-to-be retired Folder Format. It works pretty much the same, but instead of the yellow-folders that folder-format users were used the community developer went with an interesting blue folder. If you would rather see the fashionable yellow folder that your used to seeing in Format view, I have provided some great CSS adjustments to make the Collapsible Topic view look more like Folder Format.  Check out the screenshot below to see what it looks like in a basic Boost theme with no altercations.


To make the changes, you will need to host the 4 images that I have attached to this blog article in your own domain location.

  1. Download the four images attached to this blog article
  2. Upload them into your own domain
  3. Replace  yourdomain in lines 5, 11, and 18 with the link to the images on your own domain.
  4. Apply the following CSS with the edits from line 3 to your custom CSS


body.jsenabled .course-content ul.ctopics li.section .content .toggle-folder span.toggle_closed, 
#toggle-all .content .toggle-folder h4 span.on, 
body#page-admin-setting-formatsettingtopcoll select#id_s_format_topcoll_defaulttoggleiconset option[value="folder"], 
body#page-course-edit select#id_toggleiconset option[value="folder"] {
    background-image: url(http://yourdomain/yellowfolder.png);
.course-content ul.ctopics li.section .content .toggle-folder span.toggle_closed, 
.course-content ul.ctopics li.section .content .toggle-folder span.toggle_open, 
body.jsenabled .course-content ul.ctopics li.section .content .toggle-folder span.toggle_open, 
#toggle-all .content .toggle-folder h4{
     background-image: url(http://yourdomain/yellowfolder_open.png);
.course-content ul.ctopics li.section .right .cps_centre img.icon {
     display: none;
.course-content ul.ctopics li.section .right .cps_centre, 
.dir-rtl .course-content ul.ctopics li.section .left .cps_centre:before {
     content: url("http://yourdomain/onetopic.png");
div.sectionbody.sectionopen .summary a.collapsefoldericon {
     display: none
.sectionbody.toggle-folder {
  float: right;


If you'd like to add a close button (unexpand, return to all topics on one page button)

  1. Navigate into each topic using the expand (single topic) icon and Choose Edit > Edit section.
  2. Switch to the HTML view of the WYSIWYG and paste the following HTML at the top of your page.
    <a class="topicclose" href="http://yourdomain/course/view.php?id=courseidnumber">
    <img src="http://YOURDOMAIN/onetopic_close.png" alt="close single topic">
  3. Replace yourdomain in line 1 with your moodle domain. ie.
  4. Replace courseidnumber in line 1 with the id number of the course you are in. HINT: You can identify your course's id number by looking at the link displaying in the address bar, or by hovering over the course title in the breadcrumb and notating the id= number that appears.
  5. replace YOURDOMAIN in line 2 with the domain where you hosted the onetopic_close.png image.
  6. Add the following CSS to your CUSTOM CSS of whichever theme your course exists in.
.topicclose {
position: absolute;
right: 30px;
margin-top: -30px;


Screenshot of Collapsed Topic view in Boost Theme with no Altercations


Screenshot of a single topic with the close button code and icon implemented.


There has been some discussion in the Idea's section of the Moodlerooms Community about being able to set the resource box size for files in SNAP to be full-width. Though there isn't an option to choose the width, you can adjust the width of ALL or specific types of resources boxes using the following CSS code in the SNAP Custom CSS option box in the Theme settings. This setting will apply site wide, but it will make your resources boxes appear full width, similar to the other elements in the course.  Use the first CSS code to adjust all elements or choose from some of the element types listed below. If you'd like a specific resource type adjusted. Add a comment and I'll add it to the list!



body.snap-resource-card li.snap-resource.snap-resource {
  width: 100%;



Or to adjust a single resource type , use one of the following:



body.snap-resource-card li.snap-resource.modtype_url {
  width: 100%;


HTML Files

body.snap-resource-card li.snap-resource.snap-mime-html {
  width: 100%;


PDF Files

body.snap-resource-card li.snap-resource.snap-mime-pdf {
  width: 100%;



body.snap-resource-card li.snap-resource.modtype_scorm {
  width: 100%;



body.snap-resource-card li.snap-resource.snap-mime-document {
  width: 100%;


Powerpoint Files

body.snap-resource-card li.snap-resource.snap-mime-document {
  width: 100%;

Useful User Tours

Posted by jason.hardin Aug 14, 2017

User tours is an awesome new feature that was originally a community plugin for Moodle 3.1 that we added to Moodlerooms and then in Moodle 3.2 has become a core part of Moodle. user tours are a way for administrators and institutions to create walkthroughs for instructors and learners about how to use Moodle and Moodlerooms. Moodle HQ created a great video on User tours, which covers what a user tour looks like to a learner as well as how an administrator creates a user tour. If you are interested in understanding how user tours work and how to create them then I recommend watching the video.


For this blog post, I wanted to focus on user tours that already exist in the community that I think are useful for institutions to enable on their site for new instructors and learners. All of these user tours are available within the user tours repository on When searching for user tours I recommend that you ignore the Moodle version number because user tours work by finding CSS locators in the HTML. Most of the user tours will work for the version of Moodle that Moodlerooms is running for you because the CSS locators in of most of Moodle's pages don't change from release to release. I do recommend that you test any user tour on your sandbox site before you install it onto your production site.


Beyond this list, there aren't a lot of user tours in the community. Two tours come with Moodle 3.2 for Boost Administration and Course view in Boost. If you have some time try to create a user tour. We will also be working to add user tours for clients in up coming releases.

Blackboard World is coming next week. For those in the Moodlerooms community who are attending, we want to make sure you know whom to look for to talk about Moodlerooms. We have the most Moodlerooms focused staff attending this year than any other time before. We also have our largest contingent of Moodle institutions attending this year as well.


From our client engagement teams we have the following individuals attending:

From our product management team we have the following individuals attending:

We have many sales folks attending and specifically I wanted to call out some of our great sale engineers whom you have probably known for years:

I am really excited to see everyone in New Orleans this year. The hashtag for this year is #BBWorld2017.


Have you ever been to a conference where you walk up to the registration desk to get your id badge and you feel like you have stepped into Cheers? Not because the registration desk is a bar, but because you are greeted in a manner that makes you feel like everyone knows your name. If you have then you might have attended a Mountain Moot.


This Moot can be summed up in one word "Fun". Each year it is put on by Dan Case and Ryan Hazen on the Carroll College campus in Helena Montana. This year was no different. The moot unofficially started Thursday night with a welcome social sponsored by Blackboard. This is a great time to catch up with returning Moodlers and get to know some new Moodlers without the need to figure out the next session you are planning to attend. This casual gathering sets the mood for the rest of the Moot, which is relaxed and friendly. There are pre-moot sessions and I have heard they are very informative, I personally haven't attended them.


Friday kicks off the Moot proper with a 5k run walk and then a welcome presentation and keynote. One of these times I will attend the run walk, but this year it was 94-99 degrees outside and I am not prepared to do that kind of running or walking and then sit inside listening to presentations the rest of the day. This year's keynote presented by Andrew Kenny and was about K12 broadband and what the group the education superhighway is doing to help get broadband to all US K12 students. It was an interesting presentation explaining the needs for broadband for K12 districts and classrooms to provide different levels of educational content. We were then treated to a status of the project and how they have positively impacted k12 student's access to broadband.


There are usually four to five sessions running at a time, which is a solid number to provide attendees with options without making them feel like they have to choose between conflicting options. Jessica Bryant from Montana Office of Public Instruction gave a presentation on the work that OPI is doing to provide free professional development to K12 teachers in Montana and how they are training the teachers who develop the professional development courses. I am hopeful that she will create a blog post about what she presented at the Moot here and talk about the course they have written and their process for learning how to create quality Moodle courses.


H5P was a very popular topic at the moot this year. There was a pre-moot session on it and Jason Neiffer and Mike Agostinelli from Montana Digital Academy presented on how they are using H5P with their educational curriculum. I am also hopeful that they will create a blog post at some point on H5P because they are using it extensively. It is also being used with many different educational techniques.  If you get a chance to reach out to them I highly recommend it. They have a very solid strategy for using H5P and keeping it up to date. H5P as a tool is also rapidly evolving, which accessibility becoming a focus for improvements going forward.


Sadly Marlene Zentz got sick and was unable to attend, hopefully, she is feeling better. This also meant that Aaron Page was unable to attend and Andy Braden stepped up to present to those who were interested in Blackboard Ally and the recently released integration with Moodlerooms and soon with Moodle. If you haven't seen Ally in action or talked to Andy or your sales rep about it I highly recommend it. Many of the moot attendees were really excited by the prospect of what Ally could help them do.


Luckily we were able to connect to Aaron Page virtually to the moot attendees to present about the Accessibility MOOC he and Marlene Zentz are going to be running in October.  They recently ran a pilot with 93 people and received a lot of positive feedback about it. They are working on improvements before we open it up for anyone to enroll. I am also hopeful that they will find some time to make a blog post to talk about the MOOC and why everyone should attend not just Moodlerooms clients.


This was yet another great Mountain Moot. Ryan and Dan continue to host an event that has a strong community feel while providing a lot of benefit to attendees with a very inexpensive price tag. Minds were definitely blown this week. If you get a chance I highly recommend attending. I also recommend taking a few extra days before or after to explore Montana. It is gorgeous country, hot this year, but hopefully that was a fluke.

Want to try how CBE works in Moodlerooms but haven't had the time to configure frameworks and competencies? We got you covered. In this quick guide we'll review 3 steps you can follow to review to jump-start your test.


Step 1. Enable competencies in your site

Before we start any other configuration or actions, make sure Competencies are enabled for your site. You can configure this in:


Site administration > Competencies > Competencies settings


Once on the settings page, just me sure the "Enable competencies" box is ticked.


enable competencies.PNG


Step 2. Import a previously created CBE framework

Moodlerooms provides flexibility when creating competencies and frameworks, but in test scenarios, you may want to accelerate framework creation and start working with something that is already defined. To do this, you can use the "Import competency framework" in Moodlerooms, which allow you to use a CSV CBE framework file and import it into the platform so you can use it and edit it as needed.

You can find the link to "Import competency framework" tool in


Site administration > Competencies > Import competency framework.


import competencies framework.PNG

You can find CBE frameworks in CSV format by searching in the web, but you can also use the Cyber Security CSV test file attached to this post that we created based on Cyber-security competency model available on Career one stop website. This file doesn't require you to change any settings when importing.



competency framework.PNG


Step 3. Have fun!

Now that you're all set up with competencies and a framework to test, you can go and check out how those can be used in courses, activities and learning plans. Here are some recommendations on where to start:

  • If you're using the cyber-security framework that we've shared, you can create a cyber-security learning plan templates and assign learning plans to a couple of test users. You can do this by going to Site administration > Competencies > Learning plan templates
  • Go to a couple of test courses and add map competencies to them. This can be accessed from the course dashboard if you're using Snap or from course administration in any other theme.
  • Assign competencies to activities and resources if you want.
  • Rate competencies for your test users and see how they progress on the assigned learning plans. Personal learning plans can be found on user profiles.


Hope this mini-guide is useful and allows you to accelerate your tests.


Have you tried out CBE features already? how did it go? Let us know in the comments!