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The following list explains what Moodle blocks are available to be added to the left and right columns on your main Moodle course page 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 Free Text and RSS feed blocks, can be added multiple times. Others, such as the Activities block, can only be added once.

Block Name


UCL E-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 which details all quizzes in the course and within their relevant topic. This is also the place where Summary is displayed for an activity/resource and is the same screen if the user click the 'Quiz' text in the breadcrumb trail when viewing a quiz - for example.

Note: This block has been made redundant in New Moodle by the This course drop-down menu at the top of every Moodle course that combines the links found in the Activities and People blocks.

(blue star) Navigation / Orientation

Note: This course drop-down menu at the top of every Moodle course combines the Activities and People blocks.

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 block allows editors to bookmark pages to view as a list of links. For the tutor or course administrator roles, editing must be turned on for this block to appear, otherwise, it is hidden. Note: Only administration setting pages such as 'Browse list of users' or 'Add/edit courses' can be added to Admin bookmarks. Pages such as a course homepage or calendar cannot be linked.

(star) Administration


The attendance block enables 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)
  • 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)
    To add additional events in the Calendar block click on the month and year link to view the full screen calendar.
    Click the New Event button in the top right of the page.
    Choose whether the event is a User event (can only be seen by you), a Course event (can be seen by all course members), or a Group event (only visible if you have groups in your course).
    Enter the name of the event.
    Enter the (optional) description, choose the date and time and add a duration (also optional). You can also choose to repeat this eventSave changes.
    Click on your course title in the breadcrumb trail to return to your main course page.
    Adding closing dates to assignments, forums, quizzes, etc. will cause them to show up in the calendar block. To add additional events in the Calendar block click on the month and year link to view the full screen calendar.

(red star) Communication

Common Timetable

By default, the Common Timetable block provides a link to the common timetable for your module, as well as a personal timetable link that will take each tutor and student to their own personal timetable.
If you want to link to a programme or apartment time table instead or add an additional module timetable, you can edit the settings to do this.

(red star) Communication


Course Comments

The Course Comments block allows students and tutors to add comments to the Moodle course for others to see.

(green star)Collaboration

Course completion status

The course completion status block shows what has been done towards completing the course. The student and teacher will both see this block. The "More information" link will lead to a more detailed report. This report can have some interactive elements in the form of checkboxes for the student and teacher.

(red star) Communication

Course visibility

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

  • This capability is allowed for the default roles of manager and teacher
(star) Administration

Course/site summary

The Course/Site Description block provides a summary and/or description for your course as contained in the summary text of the course settings. You can edit the text by clicking on Settings > Course Administration > Edit Settings.

(red star) Communication



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. It is similar to the My Courses block, except that it does not allow you to show and collapse each course category.
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 box at the bottom of this page.
A brand new user to a Moodle site who has not enrolled in any course and Site Administrators will see the block title as "Course Categories".

(blue star) Navigation / Orientation

Free Text (HTML)

A Free Text block is a standard block used to add text or images on a site or course page. 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, switching to code view and allows any valid HTML markup to be used. This enables embedding video, sounds, Twitter feeds and other files which can add unique elements to a course or site page. You can add multiple Free Text blocks to your page.

(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

Latest announcements (formerly known as News forum) is a special forum for general announcements. A course may only have one Announcements forum unless it has been imported from another system which supports more than one Announcements forum

(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 and important part of developing their understand/ 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 (federated search)
  • Subject Librarians.
  • Past UCL Exam Papers
  • WISE Information Skills (Faculty specific information)

* If you would like to find out more about having your reading list added to the Library Services' online reading lists service see: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/teaching-support/reading-lists/staff

(blue star) Navigation / Orientation


Library Search

ThThe Library Search block allows you to search the UCL library catalogue, Metalib (General search for electronic resources)or google scholar 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


The Messages block has moved to the top of the page left of your profile name. You can find it under this icon

(red star) Communication


The MyPortfolio block lets you link through to the UCL MyPortfolio system (without having to log in again) so you can put together your CV and a portfolio of work for private use, group work or to display to potential employers.

Currently Disabled could possibly return

(green star)Collaboration

NavigationThe Navigation block appears throughout Moodle. In a course, it shows links to each section, which expand 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)


The People block contains a link to the list of course participants. You can filter this list to see only certain roles (tutors, students etc.) and view participants' profiles by clicking on their name or picture.

Note: This block has been made redundant in New Moodle by the This course drop-down menu at the top of every Moodle course that combines the links found in the People and Activities blocks.

(red star) Communication

Note: This course drop-down menu at the top of every Moodle course combines the Activities and People blocks.

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. * Bold type indicates a teacher

  • If you hold the cursor over somebody's name, you will see how long ago that person was last "seen" in the course
  • If you click on the envelope icon next to somebody's name, you will be able to send a private message to that person (using Moodle's messaging system)
  • You must keep your messaging window open to receive notice of messages being sent to you

(red star) Communication


The Quickmail block allow tutors to email course participants by providing a link to a tool that has a checkbox list of all participants in the course, a mail composition text area and a field for attaching a file from the course files area. After selecting each participant, an email will be sent to their standard email inbox. When multiple participants are selected, Quickmail sends an individual email to each one, so they will not see the email address of any other recipients.

If your course has Moodle groups the Quickmail block allows you to select all participants in a particular group as well as individuals.

A copy of all sent messages will appear in the Quickmail History. This enhances the existing communications systems of messaging (one user) and subscribed forums (all subscribers) by allowing tutors to select a specific subset of students or colleagues. 

You can also include non-UCL email addresses in a Quickmail message. Once you have click Compose new message, you can use the Additional Emails to add the email addresses.

The Quickmail block is hidden from students by default. You can allow students to send emails using the Quickmail block. To do this, make sure Editing is turned on and click the configuration link at the bottom of the block. Select Yes alongside Allow students to use Quickmail.
Note: Only students in a group can use the quick mail block at the moment. We are working to fix this issue, but for now, the workaround is to create a Moodle group and add all students to it.

Note: Using the QuickMail block in a course with hundreds of participants may cause the *Compose New Email *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 you have to configure it using the edit 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 so that feeds from external websites can 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 Forum 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 use the following search syntax: 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.
When a student believes they have completed the course, they click on the "Complete course" link in the block.

(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. Where a topic/week section is highlighted, the link to that section within the "Section Links" block is emboldened. In addition, a link for the highlighted section ("Jump to the current topic/week") is displayed. Click the "Jump to the current topic/week" link to display the highlighted section at the top of the screen. 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 oft ag 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