M05 - Organise blocks

Keywords: navigation, news, settings, calendar, supplementary, contact details.

What are they?

Blocks display information such as navigation menus, calendar information, latest announcements, current online users etc.

Blocks can be added to the right side of the Moodle course homepage. 

Why use them?

Blocks contain supplementary information to what's contained in the centre of the page (e.g. you might add contact details) and some blocks help your students to navigate the materials more easily. 

Who can use them?

Tutors and course administrators (who have course editing rights) can add blocks.

Students can view some blocks - to check what blocks they see, click your profile initials and select 'Switch role to...' and select 'Student'. And you can switch back when you're done using the same method but instead, select 'Return to my normal role').

Before I start...

Note, that the blocks drawer will start off collapsed (minimised) on the right-hand side of the course page on smaller devices and also when the browser window is reduced in width but can be opened by clicking the left-facing chevron icon [<]. Therefore, you might like to minimise the number of blocks you include on your page.

Depending on the Moodle theme, you can choose to add blocks to the left, right or both sides of your Moodle course homepage and also on some activities and resources.

Meeting the baseline

The  UCL Connected Learning Baseline  suggests the following for  Structure : 

  • 1.3 Include navigation aids - Suggested blocks to add to your Moodle course include Latest Announcements, Recent Activity, Library Resources, and Library Search.

How do I add them?

  1. Turn edit mode on.
  2. In the upper right-hand corner, click '+ Add a block', which contains a drop-down list of all the blocks you can add to your page. Any that are missing from this list may already be on your course. 
  3. The new block (you selected) will then appear in the right-hand block drawer.
  4. Click the cog icon to the right of the block, then from the drop-down menu select the link to configure the block to open the configuration settings window (which is overlaid on top of the Moodle course).
  5. Once you have finished configuring the block click Save changes at the bottom of the configuration settings window.
  6. To move the block, click and drag the four-way arrow icon to move the block to another place in the block drawer.
    1. Alternatively, you can click the four-way arrow icon to see a list of locations the block can be moved to (you can move it after existing blocks in your course).
  7. To delete a block, click the cog icon and from the drop-down menu choose to delete it.

    • Note: If you delete the 'Contact Details' block you may want to copy the HTML into a text file before deleting it, so you can easily add it back again in the future. All other blocks can be brought by adding them again.

Organising Blocks

  • Place navigation items in the top-right.
  • Cluster similar blocks together e.g. Search forums with Library Search.
  • Remove any blocks you will not be using as they clutter the screen and may confuse students.

Further help

Further guidance on Blocks is available from Moodle Docs..

If you find any inaccurate or missing information you can even update this yourself (it's a communal wiki).

If you have a specific question about the tool please contact the Digital Education team.


Due to web browser size or device, it may seem that your blocks have 'disappeared' from the right-hand side, in this case, open the block drawer by clicking the chevron icon [<] from the upper right-hand corner of a course page. You can click this icon anytime to see more or less of the main course homepage. 

The Calendar block can be accessed in the Upcoming events block by clicking 'Go to calendar...', or by clicking the calendar icon at the very top of the Moodle page.

The HTML block - is now called the Text... block

Examples and case studies

- None  at this time

Questions & Answers

- None  at this time

Further information

There are many blocks available - here is a useful descriptive list of UCL Moodle blocks.

Here are a few blocks in particular that we recommend for New Moodle:

  • Latest Announcements - displays the latest announcements
  • Common Timetable - links to students' timetables
  • Library Resources - links to the ReadingList@UCL for this course
  • Library Search - searches the Library catalogue
  • Recent Activity - lists recent changes that have occurred on the course
  • Quickmail - a staff only service for emailing individuals and groups enrolled on the course.

Some blocks that we recommended in the past have been made redundant by tabs and drop-down menus that now appear at the top of the screen when you're in Moodle. These include:

  • People - replaced by the Participants tab (which you can find in the top portion of the course main page).
  • Administration block - replaced by the course navigation tabs on the top of a course page.

Also, see: