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Which format should I choose for my Moodle course?

Module Leaders have control over how their course will be structured by choosing a course format. Choosing the right format can help you structure and organise your course and enable students to find the information they need quickly.

  • Topics (core) – the best format in supporting adaptive technologies. Can be “all sections on one page” or (recommended) “one section per page”.
Moodle screenshot of an example of a course that uses the recommended Topics format, where sections appear in boxes and the section titles are links in pink colour.
Figure 1. The recommended Topics format in Moodle. (Click for full-size screenshot).

Important

By selecting a core format, as opposed to one of the plugin course formats (listed below), you are mitigating the risk of any updates to Moodle (there are two version upgrades every year) introducing any compatibility issues or additional restyling. Moodle version upgrades introduce new features and, by adopting a core course format, you will be able to take advantage of new features targeted at the module “home page”; there are big plans afoot for updating the interface over the next year so it may be that the plugin options may end up looking dated in comparison.

Other formats:

  • Collapsed topics (plugin) – Most commonly used format at Brookes and accessible. Some flexibility around how these topics/sections are labelled (can be weeks or each section heading can be renamed). Easy to move content between sections. Similar to the core “Topics” format (which comes with Moodle) but allows for collapsing which can improve the interface for larger courses.
Moodle screenshot of an example of a course that uses the Collapse Topics format, where sections can be collapsed or expanded.
Figure 2. The Collapsed Topics format in Moodle.
  • Grid (plugin) – It displays the course sections in a grid format and can be effective with a set of consistently-designed images. The images in the grid are classed as “not accessible” but it is unlikely that the images will be used to impart any unique information. To optimise accessibility:
    • Grid Format set to “Show one section per page”
    • Topic/Section titles should remain visible in the grid (screen reader can’t read text in an image)
    • If titles are positioned inside the box, text should have a high-contrast background colour
Moodle screenshot of an example of a course that uses the Grid format, where sections appear in a grid view and each section has a corresponded image in the grid.
Figure 3. The Grid format in Moodle.
  • One topic (plugin) – Can be effective but use of sub-topics will render the experience “not accessible”. Awkward to move content between sections in the course.
Moodle screenshot of an example of a course that uses the One Topic format, where sections appear as tab.
Figure 4. The One Topic format in Moodle.

More articles:

  • How should I structure my course? (coming soon)
Updated on August 25, 2020

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