Laying out your course in Moodle

Basic Moodle layout
Features of the Moodle course layout

The exemplar course

Basic Moodle layout

Moodle is laid out in a sequential manner and, as with reading, the student's attention is focused down the page, providing a logical sequence of events. This is not to say you can't jump around, but the flow of the material is obvious. So rather than a lecture note being placed in a folder with all other lectures, it should be placed within the week or topic to which it relates.

Features of the Moodle course layout


A quick navigation bar (top in blue) is provided to help students quickly access various parts of Moodle, such as their enrolled classes, profile and messaging pages, as well as support forums and guides.


The Moodle course page is divided into two columns: the course content column and the block column on the right.

Blocks give you and your students access to useful Moodle features. You can choose which Blocks you want to appear in your course, and in which order you want them to be. It is a good idea to turn off Blocks you don't want your students accessing, and move the most important ones to a more prominent position. However there are some blocks, such as the Administration and Navigation blocks, that are permanent for consistency across courses and cannot be deleted or moved.

Course Shell View Layout

Main Content area

The content area of your course consists of the Title/Introduction section (topic 0) and topics sequentially placed below. Within both the Introductory section and each topic section you can add text and pictures in the Summary of the topic.

We recommend that in topic 0 – which we will hereafter refer to as the Course area – you put the course title, navigation and frequently accessed activities. For example a tile-based navigation header, general forums, and a link to your virtual classroom (if applicable).

Regardless of the view that the student chooses, the Course area will always be visible. For this reason, do not fill it with unnecessary items. Limit the use of graphical material here as well, as it forces the user to scroll further down the page to access information.

Course resources


In each Topic we recommend that you add all the material relevant to that topic or week, such as lecture notes or presentations, readings, topic forums and revision quizzes, preferably in the order in which you want students to work through the material. If you are using Topics instead of Weeks we recommend that you include a heading for that topic – such as the title of the topic or the week.

Tip: You could use an entire topic for Course information (Course description etc.), assessment information and further readings and resources.

Highlighted topic

Single topic view

By default, all new courses are set to use the collapsed topic view. This means that only the header of each topic is shown, until the student clicks on the header.


Single Topic View

Turning on single topic view:

If your course does not have Single topic view enabled, follow the instructions below to activate it.

Note: single topic view is not shown when editing is turned on.

  1. Click the 'Course Administration' icon in the main menu, click 'Edit Settings'
  2. Scroll down to 'Course Layout' and choose 'Show one section per page' from the drop-down menu.
  3. Click 'Save Changes' at the bottom of the page

Course Single View

By default Moodle courses should be set to single topic view in Course layout showing one section per page.

If you want learning design assistance in setting up your course, please request support through the ITS Service Desk portal.