New Moodle Look Coming

With the recent upgrades to Moodle will be coming a new look as well.  Previously, Morningside used a default theme called “Formal White.” We have learned that this theme does not play well with the new upgrade to Moodle.   Because of this we will be changing the default theme to “More.” This will result in your Moodle pages looking a bit different and possibly some of your blocks shifting position. We have decided to do this because there are a few important benefits that come with this change.

One benefit is in the grade book. With “More” the student names on the grade book do not scroll off the screen when scrolling right to left, similar to locking a column in excel or google sheet. Additionally, there have been issues with students not able to post to forums with the old Formal White theme.  This is resolved by changing the theme to “More.”

Sometime today (Monday, Sept 14) this change will happen so please be aware of this. If you do not use the default theme, your page should stay as is. This should only affect those that keep their Moodle pages on the default theme.

If you would like to try to play around and change your page theme, you can do so by going into the “edit settings” for the main page of your class and scrolling down to “appearance.” Here you can select a theme in the “Force Theme” menu. Obviously from the content of this post, some theme are better than others.  The folks at eclass4learning suggest either “More” (our new default theme) or “Clean.”

Here is a link to a PDF put together by Sherry Swan describing how theses themes compare on the computer and on a mobile device. Moodle Theme Comparison 20150910

Sherry describes the differences like this:

I have attached some screenshots of my Moodle sandbox course showing the Formal White (FW) theme, which is our current default, the Clean (C) theme, and the More (M) theme.
Page 1 shows PC screenshots of the three themes: FW, C, & M
Page 2 shows M with blocks either docked or moved to left side
Page 3 shows Android phone screenshots of FW and M
From the user’s perspective, when viewed on a PC, the differences are:
  • FW has darker shading around header and blocks, C and M have light shading that may not even be visible, depending on the clarity of one’s screen (you will notice that the shading is so light that my screenshots did not pick it up)
  • Color scheme differences in block text and descriptive labels, FW all block and descriptive text in black, C black and blue text, M black and orange text
  • Left and/or right blocks take up more space horizontally in C and M, so it is suggested that blocks be docked or placed all on one side or the other to leave more room for the main content area

From the user’s perspective, when viewed on an Android phone:

  • FW appears much the same as on PC, but much smaller
  • Color scheme differences as noted above
  • C and M show the main content area (the middle portion of FW view) first and then non-docked blocks appear at the bottom

My thanks to both Sherry Swan and Shaun Meyer for helping with this transition and providing the information included in this blog post.