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Fordson is a refreshingly clean and minimal design without skimping on visual cues that help learners. Welcome and guide your students to the learning content with a straightforward homepage focused on getting engaged with learning and not the theme. Fordson shines with a “less is more” approach but there are also many useful tools to help learners engage with your content such as improved customized navigation, marketing tiles and stunning display of courses.
There are two default presets that will instantly change the look and feel of your Moodle site: Default and e-Learner.
NOTE: In order to use the enhanced homepage you must make the SIte Home the default homepage for all users. It will not display if your homepage is set to Dashboard.
Fordson added a few navigational elements that enhance the new Boost layout experience.
- “Turn Editing On” button added to header
- “My Courses” drop down in top navigation bar
- “This Course” drop down to display activity groupings in a course
- Customize the Boost Nav-drawer by removing default links and adding your own custom links built into the theme
From simple to complex the Fordson theme was built with flexibility in mind. We put some features into the theme for when you need them but we recommend a very simple layout. Our recommended layout is clean and minimal so that the learner can focus on finding and interacting with the content and not the theme. Check out our demonstration site: http://moodlesandbox.dearbornschools.org
Utilizing a very visual and large icon navigation bar you can add up to 8 custom icons with links to anywhere you’d like. We provide 4 defaults to get you started: My Dashboard, Calendar, Badges, and Courses. Beyond the standard icons we also provide two advanced icons: A slider toggle and a create-a-course button. The slider icon will reveal a custom text box which can be shown or hidden with the click of the icon. The create-a-course button is only shown if you have the “course creator” role. It will take you to the form to create a new course.
Key Features Focused on a Better Learning Experience:
- Customized Homepage that has creative features when needed but can be used to create a minimal, focused, and distraction free homepage
- Large and visual custom icon navigation bar directs learners to key areas of the site
- Custom header image support for each course creates visual cues for learners that they are in different courses
- Unique textbox for authenticated and non-authenticated users allows you to provide instructions or information to visitors as well as learners.
- Special “Create a Course” button provides quick access to anyone that has the capability within Moodle to create courses right from the homepage
- Color choosers for all major elements of the design to match Fordson with your school colors
- Built for all screen sizes
- Out of the box a clean, refined, and stylish appearance with minimal configuration
Future Plans and Integration
We are in the middle of executing a longer term vision to provide a better user experience for our teachers and students.
- Fordson Theme to present the learning content
- Easy Enrollment plugin to efficiently and quickly get students from the homepage to the learning content (See video below of it’s incredible functionality with QR Code reader and simple codes)
- A course format to organize and interact with the learning content
Each of these three elements will be integrated so that they work in harmony to provide a streamlined user experience. The first two are done.
The course format is being discussed but will blend a social learning and structured topics functionality. It will also include a teacher dashboard to display Easy Enrollment Codes, learning analytics, and course management tools.
Easy Enrollment will be released to the public sometime after June 2017. Only fair our teachers use it first!
Elements and certain functionality of Fordson would not be possible without the following users and plugins:
Richard Oelmann -Header Images & Social Icons – https://moodle.org/plugins/theme_waxed
Mary Evans – Morecandy (Sideway Header) Preset SCSS
Jose Miguel Dager Montoya – Tiled Course Display on frontpage and course categories
Alexander Bias – Navdrawer Remove Defaults – https://github.com/moodleuulm/moodle-local_boostnavigation
Carlos Escobedo – Navdrawer Add Menu Items – https://github.com/cescobedo/moodle-local_navigation