Adding Blocks in Moodle

Blocks add functionality to your site or your course. A block usually displays information in a small area in one of the side columns. For example, a block can display a calendar, the latest news, or the students enrolled in a course.

When configuring the site, you can choose to display, hide, and position blocks on the site's front page. When configuring a course, you can also show or hide or position blocks on the course's home page. The procedure is the same whether working on the site's front page or a course's home page.

To manage blocks in Moodle, navigate to Site administration → Plugins → Blocks → Manage blocks

Configuring where a block appears

You can configure a block to appear on the course's home page, and on all the resource and activity pages in the course. You can also configure a block to appear on all the courses in a category.

If you want a block to appear on every page in your site, then add the block to the front page of your site. When you do that, under Block settings you can select choices for Page contexts.

Many Moodle themes now allow the user to move blocks to a special dock. This dock collapses, saving space on the screen for the main Moodle content.

Standard Blocks

Moodle gives you many standard blocks that you can add to your courses.

Activities Block

The Activities block lists all types of activities that are used in the course. When a user clicks on the type of activity, all those kinds of activities for the course are listed.

Blog Menu Block

By default, every Moodle user has a personal blog on the site. Selecting this block, puts the blog menu into the sidebar of the course.

Blog Tags Block

This block displays a list of the blog tags used site-wide. The tags are listed in an alphabetical order. The more blog entries that use a tag, the larger that tag is.

Calendar Block

Workshops, assignments, quizzes, and events appear on the calendar. When a deadline is added to an activity in the course, that is automatically added to the calendar.

Comments Block

The comments block enables anyone with access to it, to leave and read comments. Students can delete only their own comments. Teacher, manager, and site administrator can delete anyone's comments.

Course Completion Block

This block works with course completion tracking. For this block to function, you must first set the criteria for completing the course and completion tracking must be enabled at the site level.

Course/Site Summary Block

If you add this block to the front page of your site, it will display the front page summary. If you add it to a course page, it will display the course description.

Courses Block

The courses block displays the courses that the student is enrolled in.

Feedback Block

On the front page of your site, you can create a feedback activity. This feedback activity can then be used in all or some of the courses on your site. This way, you don't need to recreate the feedback activity for each course. And since the feedback for each course uses the same questions, you can make meaningful comparisons among the courses. 

HTML Block

The HTML block creates a block in the sidebar that can hold any HTML (or any web content) that you can put on a Web page. You can use the HTML block to hold content that is an interesting addition to the course, but not essential. For example, you could put an annotated link to another site of interest.

Latest News Block

When you create a new course, by default it has a News forum. The Latest News block displays the most recent postings from this forum. The number of postings displayed in this block is determined in the course settings page, by the field News items to show.

Logged in User Block

If a visitor is not logged in, Moodle displays small Login links in the upper-right corner and bottom center of the page. However, the links are not very noticeable. The Logged in user block is much more prominent. One advantage to the Logged in user block over the small Login links is the block's greater visibility.

After the user logs in, this block displays information about the current user. The information is taken from the user's profile. It also displays a logout link.

Messages Block

The Messages block provides a shortcut to Moodle's Messages center. It displays the latest messages received.

Latest Badges Block

This block displays the badges that the student has earned on your site. It can be added to the front page, the user's My Home page, and to the main page of a course. It makes the most sense when added to a user's My Home page.

Private Files Block

This block gives the user a shortcut to access his or her private files.

Online Users Block

The Online users block shows who is in the current course at the present time. If it is on the site's front page, it shows who is on the site.

Quiz Results Block

The Quiz results block is available only if there is a quiz in the course. It displays the highest or lowest grades achieved on a quiz within a course. You can anonymize the students' names in the block.

You can add this block to your course multiple times. So, you could have a Quiz results block for each quiz in the course.

Random Glossary Entry Block

Moodle's Random glossary block pulls entries from a selected glossary and displays them in a block. For example, you can create a glossary with past exam questions and their answers. Students can use this as another resource to prepare for their exams.

Recent Activity Block

When the Recent activity block is added to the home page of a course, it lists all the student and teacher activity in that course since the user's last login.

When added to the site's front page, it lists all the student and teacher activity on the front page but not in the individual courses, since the user's last login.

Remote RSS Feeds Block

When the Remote RSS feeds block is added to a course, it creates the RSS feeds to display in that block.

Search Forums Block

The Search Forums block provides a search function for forums. It does not search other types of activities or resources. When this block is added to the site's Moodle search forums front page, it searches only the forums on the front page.

Section Links

The Topics block displays links to the numbered topics or weeks in a course. Clicking on a link advances the page to that topic.

Upcoming Events Block

The Upcoming Events block is an extension of the Calendar block. It gets event information from your calendar.