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What’s new in Moodle 4 for staff? (Summer 2023 Upgrade)

On Friday 28 July 2023, Moodle will be upgraded to version 4. This version introduces a variety of improvements, focusing specifically on the user experience (see below for more details about what’s new). In addition to the upgrade, academic courses (starting from September 2023) will adopt a new consistent course structure making it easier for students to find what they want as well as making content accessible for all.

The upgrade in numbers




new features




upcoming feature

Changes and improvements

Jump to: Highlights · The Brookes VLE Template · Course editing · Assessment · Security features · Upcoming features

(click on images to enlarge)


Accessible look and feel New

Figure 1. The new accessible interface of Moodle 4.

Moodle 4 has a cleaner, modern interface with a new colour scheme and more visual contrast that creates a fully accessible look and feel for all.

Moodle Dashboard

Figure 2. The Moodle 4 Dashboard.

The new Dashboard signposts University resources to students about wellbeing, academic guidance, and professional opportunities. At the top of the Dashboard, you have access to

  • the menus that allow you to view the courses you are enrolled on (i.e. the ‘My Course’ page)
  • other resources for students
  • Forms and links to Brookes Apps.

The ‘My courses’ page

Figure 3. The ‘My Courses’ page.

The list of courses that you are enrolled on has moved to its own dedicated page and can be accessed using the navigation menus at the top. The ‘My Courses’ page allows you to:

  • search, view and quickly navigate between all your courses. 
  • filter your courses to show: AllIn progressPastFutureStarred and Removed from view
  • arrange your courses alphabetically or by most recently viewed

Note: The search box in the Course Overview only searches among courses you are enrolled on.

Course index New

Figure 4. The course index on the left of the course homepage.

The course index on the left-hand side of your course is a new Moodle 4 feature that:

  • gives you an overview of the course structure.
  • allows you to quickly jump to other parts of the course.
  • highlights the area of the course you are looking at as you scroll up and down – that way you know where you are in the course at any given time. 
  • allows you to drag and drop activities between the main course area (middle) and the course index (left). 

‘Edit Mode’ toggle

Figure 5. The ‘Edit mode’ toggle.

The ‘Turn editing on’ button that allowed course creators to edit their Moodle courses has been renamed to ‘Edit mode’ at top right-hand corner of the screen along with a toggle to turn ‘Edit mode’ on and off. The toggle follows you as you scroll down on the screen, which allows you to turn ‘Edit mode’ on and off from anywhere on the course homepage.

Course visibility block New

Figure 6. The Course visibility block.

A new block at the top-right of the block drawer allows you to quickly make your course visible or hide it from students.

The Brookes VLE Template New

What is it?

From September 2023 all academic Moodle courses will use the new Brookes VLE template which provides accessibility improvements, consistency and standardises layout, number of core sections, labelling for academic Moodle courses.

Guidance for staff

We have published:

Course editing

Contextual navigation New

Figure 7. The new contextual navigation in a course.

Various setting options (including enrolling your teaching team in the Participants screen) that allow you to configure your course are now more visible and easily accessible at the top of the course (i.e. below the course title). These options change depending on the screen you are seeing Moodle, i.e. you see different options in the course homepage and activity-related options when viewing an activity.

Options such as Gradebook, activity completion reports have also moved to this area, while options such as H5P content bank, rollover have moved under the More menu.

Activity chooser icons

Figure 8. Colour-coded activity icons.

The activity chooser that appears when ‘adding an activity or resource’ has new colour-coded icons to help you identify the function of each activity:

  • Pink is for assessment
  • Green is for communication
  • Blue is for content and resources (including integrations with our other systems such as Panopto, Zoom and Talis Aspire Reading Lists)
  • Red (orange) is for collaboration

Adding new sections

Figure 9. Adding new course sections.

With ‘Edit mode’ ON, you can click ‘Add topic’ between expanded sections of your course and add new topics/sections quickly. For example if you wish to add a ‘Reading week’ section after Week 5, then expand Week 5 and click ‘Add topic’.

Drag and drop to move New

Figure 10. Reordering activities by dragging them into the course index. The video has no sound.

You can easily move activities between sections by dragging the activities from the main course area (middle column) into the section you want in the course index (left sidebar).

Adding blocks on the right-hand side

Figure 11. Adding block on the right.

Adding blocks on the right sidebar is now easier and doesn’t require you to scroll to the bottom of the left sidebar. To add blocks on the right, toggle ‘Edit mode’ ON and then click Add new block at the top right.

Notify learners about content updates New

Figure 12. Checkbox to notify learners about content updates.

In the settings of each Moodle activity and resource, you will find a new checkbox (at the bottom of the screen) that allows you to notify your students whenever you make a change to your content.

Expand/collapse sections New

Figure 13. Expand/collapse sections using the chevrons.

The first you visit a course homepage, all sections appear expanded. Click Expand All (on the right of the first section) to open them all at once, then Collapse All (on the right of the first section) to close all sections at once. To expand/collapse sections individually, click the chevron on the left of each course section heading.

Expand/collapse sidebars New

Figure 14. Expand/collapse sidebars on either side of the screen.

The first you visit a course homepage, both the Course index (left) and the block drawer (right) appear open. Click the x icon on either side to collapse the sidebars. Then click the pink icons to expand them again.

Text and media area
(formerly ‘Label’)

Figure 15. Adding a ‘text and media area’

The ‘Label’ resource that allowed you to add custom text and images or embed videos on your course has now been renamed to ‘Text and media area’. You will find this option when clicking ‘Add an activity or resource’.


Timed Moodle Assignments New

Figure 16. Adding time limit to a Moodle assignment.

Moodle assignments can now have a time limit like Moodle quizzes do, which allows you to give students a specified amount of time to complete the assignment before the deadline. For example, students can be given 7 days to submit their assignment, but once they click on the assignment link, the timer starts and they have only two hours to submit their file (i.e. students can use any 2 hours within the the 7-day period to submit). The time limit does not prevent learners from submitting after the time has passed. They can still submit but their submission is marked as submitted after the time limit.

Note: this setting does not apply to Turnitin assignments.

Moodle 4 on mobile

Accessing Moodle via a mobile browser

Figure 17. The mobile view of a Moodle 4 course.

Moodle has been developed to be mobile-friendly on devices using a browser such as Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, which means that it resizes appropriately and adapts to different screen sizes. Therefore, Moodle 4 works well on mobile when using a browser on iOS or Android.

A note about the Moodle mobile app

The Moodle mobile app that is available on the App Store and Google Play Store is not currently compatible with our Moodle, therefore you must visit moodle.brookes.ac.uk via a mobile browser on Android and iOS to use Moodle.

Upcoming features

‘How do I navigate the course’ video for students

Figure 19. Student video in the top section of all academic courses.

We have added a placeholder to all academic courses for a student video on ‘How to navigate this course’. We are in the process of making the student video, therefore when you click on the link, the video might show as ‘processing’. The student video will be ready in time for September 2023 and will appear automatically once we publish it.

Updated on September 14, 2023

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