UCL Logo

UCL Moodle Guides


Moodle Resource Centre - home

General links

Moodle Home
Quickscan Dyslexia Screening Tool

Moodle Resources

Page tree

The following list explains what Moodle blocks are available to be added to the block drawer on the right-hand side of your Moodle course pages and what each one does.

Recommended blocks and suggested layouts

Recommended blocks and layouts for your course are listed in the  Moodle mini guide on Organising Blocks . This Miniguide also explains how to add, remove and configure blocks. 

What Moodle blocks are available and what do they do?

Some, such as the 'Text' and the 'Remote RSS feeds' blocks, can be added multiple times. Others, such as the 'Activities' block, can only be added once.

Block Name


UCL Connected Learning Baseline recommended


Creates links to all types of activities in a course, i.e. if there are two quizzes it will create a link called Quizzes. When clicked it will show a page that details all quizzes in the course and within their relevant topic.

(blue star) Navigation / Orientation

Activity results

The Activity results block displays results from graded or rated activities in a course.

(blue star) Navigation / Orientation

Admin Bookmarks 

The Admin Bookmarks allows an administrator to bookmark site admin pages for easy access. These include the 'Notification settings' and 'Browse list of users'. The administrator will then see the pages as a list of links (in the Admin Bookmarks block).

Note: Only administration setting pages such as 'Browse list of users' or 'Messaging settings' can be added to the Admin bookmarks block. Pages such as a course homepage or calendar cannot be linked.

(star) Administration


The Attendance block allows a teacher to take attendance during class and students to view their own attendance record.

The teacher can create multiple sessions and can mark the attendance status as "Present", "Absent", "Late", or "Excused" or modify the statuses to suit their needs.

Reports are available for the entire class or individual students.

(green star) Collaboration


The Calendar block displays the following events:

  • Site (event viewable in all courses - created by admin users)
  • Category (event viewable by all participants of courses within the category - created by admin users or other users with course category permissions)
  • Course (event viewable only to course members - created by teachers)
  • Groups (event viewable only by members of a group - created by teachers)
  • User (personal event a student user can create - viewable only by the user) 

For more guidance on how to use the Calendar and add events, please see our Calendar Wiki.

(red star) Communication


The Checklist block works with the checklist activity and displays progress bars for a single checklist.

(red star) Communication

Common Timetable

By default, the Common Timetable block provides a link to the module timetable for your course, as well as a personal timetable link that will take each tutor and student to their own personal timetable.

It's also possible to link to a programme or department timetable instead, click the settings (cog icon) of the block and select 'Configure Common timetable block' to do this.

(red star) Communication



The Comments block allows tutors and course administrators to add comments to the Moodle course for other users to see.

(green star) Collaboration

Course completion status

The Course completion status block shows what has been done toward completing the course - you also need to have  enabled course completion  in the course's settings and then specify which activities in a Moodle course must be completed by students. 

The student and teacher will both see this block. The "More details" and "View course reports" links will lead to more information. The course reports can have some interactive elements in the form of checkboxes for the teacher.

(red star) Communication

Course visibility

The Course visibility block allows a user to hide/unhide a course from students in the Course settings.

(star) Administration

Course/site summary

The Course/Site summary block provides a summary and/or description for your course as contained in the 'course summary' text field of the course settings. You can edit the text by clicking on Settings, then in the Description section, enter the summary in the 'Course summary' text field.

(red star) Communication


Courses / My courses

The Courses block allows you to navigate between all of the courses in which you are a participant (as tutor and/or student). The block title shows as "My courses" and allows one-click access to a course's home page.
The 'All courses...' link at the bottom of this block lists all the course categories and courses within the Moodle site. There is a search courses text field near the top of this page.
A brand new user to a Moodle course who has not enrolled in any course and Site Administrators will see the block title as "Course Categories".

(blue star) Navigation / Orientation


(previously called the HTML block)

The Text... block can be used to add text, images, and more on the right-hand side of your Moodle course.

The title bar can be left blank. The block is very flexible and can be used for a variety of purposes. It has the standard Moodle HTML editor for formatting text, adding images, or creating links, and after enabling code view, allows any valid HTML markup to be used. This enables embedding video, sounds, Twitter feeds, and other content which can add unique elements to a Moodle course. You can add multiple Text... blocks to your course.

(red star) Communication

Global Search

The Global Search block allows users to search the site for specific content. The results display only content the particular user has access to, so an administrator would see results from the whole site, whereas a student or teacher would see results from the courses they are enrolled in. (blue star) Navigation / Orientation

Latest Announcements

The Latest Announcements block displays a specific number of recent discussions from the Announcements forum. The Announcements forum is a special forum for general news and announcements. 

A course may only have one 'Latest Announcements' block.

(red star) Communication


Latest Badges

Badges are a way of celebrating achievement and showing progress. Badges may be awarded based on a variety of chosen criteria.  Badges are especially useful for encouraging students to engage in tasks or activities that may not be credit-bearing but still form an important part of demonstrating their understanding/skills for the subject. 

(green star) Collaboration

Library Resources

The Library Resources block allows tutors to display the following links (tutors decide which links to include):

  • UCL Library Online Reading List* for your module or programme.
  • UCL Explore

  • Contact a Subject Librarian

  • LibrarySkills@UCL

  • Past UCL Exam papers
  • Wise Info Skills 

* If you would like to find out more about having your reading list added to the Library Services' online reading lists service see ReadingLists@UCL for teaching staff

(blue star) Navigation / Orientation


Library Search

The Library Search block allows users to search the extensive UCL library catalogue, Digital Collections, Databases, Archives and others, all from within  a Moodle course. Tutors can choose which of these to include. 

(blue star) Navigation / Orientation


Logged in user

The Logged in user block displays certain information about the user who is currently logged in to a Moodle course.
The course teacher can select which information is displayed in the block by clicking on the "configure" icon of the block. A number of dropdown boxes then appear for the teacher to choose which items will appear.

(green star)Collaboration

Mass actions

The Mass actions block allows instructors to perform actions upon multiple resources or activities, rather than having to perform repeated actions on individual items.

Supported actions include mass selection, indentation, deletion, hiding, showing, making available, duplicating, and moving. To select items to perform actions on, simply click the checkbox next to the activity or resource or use select functionality from the block. Then click the action you would like to perform in the block.

(star)  Administration


The Mentees block provides mentors with quick access to their mentee(s) profile page(s).

(blue star) Navigation / Orientation


The Messages (block) drawer has moved to the top right portion of the page next to your name's initials. You can open it by selecting the speech bubble icon.

(red star) Communication


The Navigation block is used to provide navigation links i n a course, the links will each section, which expands upon clicking to show activities/resources in that section (if configured to show everything). To help students navigate, keep the Navigation block prominently displayed at the top of the page.

(blue star) Navigation / Orientation(tick)


Note: The Participants block is now redundant, you can now select the Particiapants tab at the top of a Moodle course page. By clicking the Participants tab, you'll see a list of course participants and can filter this list to see only certain roles (tutors, students etc.) and view participants' profiles by clicking on their name or picture.

(red star) Communication

Online users

The Online Users block shows a list of users who have been logged into the current course. The list is updated every 5 minutes. Note that even though a user may have been logged into a course within the last 5 minutes, it does not necessarily mean that this user is still online.

  • If you hold the mouse cursor over somebody's name, you will see how long ago that person was last "seen" in the course.
  • If you click on the speech bubble icon next to somebody's name, you will be able to send them a private message (which uses Moodle's Messaging feature).
    • You can find and read messages by clicking the speech bubble icon in the top right portion of a Moodle page, and when you receive a new message you will see a numerical notification (with a red background) beside the speech bubble icon.  

(red star) Communication


The  Quickmail  block allows tutors to send messages to enrolled users in a Moodle course, it's also possible to select (or exclude) recipients individually, by role, or even by group. When multiple participants are selected, Quickmail sends an individual email/message to each one, so they will not see the email address of any other recipients. The block has a mail composition text area, an area for attaching files, and the tutor can choose to send the message as a 'Moodle Message' or as an 'Email'.

Users can click 'View Sent Messages' to see a history of the messages they have sent.

The Quickmail block is hidden from students by default but you can allow students to send emails/messages; to do this, click 'Configuration' at the bottom of the block, then click the drop-down menu next to 'Allow students to use Quickmail' and set it to 'Yes'.

Note: Using the QuickMail block in a course with hundreds of participants may cause the Compose Course Message page to load slowly.

(red star) Communication


Random glossary entry

The Random glossary entry block can be used to display random entries from a glossary, which usually take the form of dictionary-style definitions. However, the flexibility of Moodle's HTML editor allows users to adapt this block for other purposes such as 'Quote of the Day' or a random picture gallery that changes each time the page is refreshed.

Before using the Random Glossary Entry block, configure it using the block's cog (settings) icon.

(red star) Communication

Recent activity

The Recent Activity block lists course activity, such as updated resources and activities, forum posts and assignment submissions, since the user last accessed the course. The activity report filter and generator may be accessed via the 'Full report of recent activity' link.

(red star)
(blue star) Navigation / Orientation


Remote RSS feeds

The Remote RSS feeds block allows feeds from external websites to be displayed. As the information on the other site (for example, news headlines or recently added documents) is changed, the block will update to show the latest information. One or more RSS feeds can be added to a course by selecting them from an existing list or adding links to RSS feed URLs.

(red star) Communication

Search forums

The Search Forums block allows you to search the course forums for a word or phrase. Type the word or phrase you want to find in the text field space. For basic searching of one or more words anywhere in the texts, just type them separated by spaces. All words longer than two characters are used.

If you want to use advanced search options you can either move to the Advanced Search page (clicking Advanced Search in the Search Forums block) or click the search button without typing anything in the search field. To force exact matching of a word, use the plus sign, and the minus sign if there are particular exact words you don't want included in the search.

  • To search for a particular phrase, use double quotes around it.
  • To search for texts by a particular user, prefix a word from their name with "user:".
  • If you know the user id of a particular user, you can search for them like this.
  • To search for a word within the subject or title of a text only, prefix the word with "subject:"

(red star) Communication

Self completion

The Self completion block provides a link for students to declare that they have completed the course. This may be part of the Course completion requirements. The student may then click the "Complete course link" in the block when ready. They are then asked to confirm they have completed the course and the course status will change to "complete".

(red star) Communication

The Section links block helps the student or teacher to quickly navigate to a particular topic/week section of the course (depending on whether the course uses either the "Topics" or "Weekly" format. The numbered links displayed within the block are the numbers assigned to the course topic/week sections.

In addition, if there are a large number of topic/week sections, the block displays every other even number i.e. 2, 4 etc. or every fifth numbered topic/week section.

(blue star) Navigation / Orientation


Tags block or "tag cloud" shows all tags, those assigned to Moodle users. Tags allow students and teachers to describe their interests in a way that is easy for people with similar interests to find them. The user's profile has a place to enter interests, which will create or add the user to an existing tag. A unique feature of tag clouds are that the size of each tag is related to the amount of items associated with it. The larger the tag, the more items associated with it.

(green star)Collaboration

Upcoming events

The Upcoming Events block displays future events in a summarized list. Events are generated directly from the calendar and/or activity deadlines, providing a link to full details or directly to the activity. There are also links to Go to calendar... and add a New Event... If you click on a date, you will go to the day-view calendar for that day. If the title of the event is a link, and you click on it, you will be taken to that event.

(red star) Communication