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The layout of Moodle can be broken down into two types of content areas: topics and blocks. The topics appear in the main content area of the page, and blocks appear on the sidebars.


Some faculty use topics to distinguish course meetings, weeks, units, or themes. Others use topics to group types of materials, such as lecture slides, readings, or images.

Below is an example of a topic:

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The content of blocks is more standardized than topics and is used to display course information, such as the class roster, calendar, blog, and a list of assignments. Faculty mix and match the use of blocks depending on how they use the topic areas. Blocks are helpful for providing quick access to key information.

Below is an example of a block:

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To add a block, scroll to the last block on the page and select the kind of block you would like to create. If you would like to see what the block does, try adding it and, if it is not what you are looking for, deleting it.

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Click on the gear icon in the block to open up block settings, which provide you options to hide the block or delete it entirely. Above the gear, you may click on the icon of a square with the minus sign to minimize the block. After minimizing, the minus will turn into a plus, which you may click to reopen the block. Next to the minimizing icon is a square with an arrow in it; if you click on this, it moves the block so that it becomes a side tab on the upper left side of the page.


Custom Blocks

If you want to customize a block, you have to create a custom HTML block.

1. Choose HTML block from the Add a Block drop-down menu.

2. Click the gear and select “Configure (new HTML block) block”. Title the block and use the area to add text, images, or links to other resources, using HTML codes.

Here is an example of a custom block from CSP61, where the instructor wanted to create an alternative navigation menu. The links go to parts of the Moodle site, to a syllabus in a Google Doc, and to an external WordPress site.

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If you would like further help creating a custom block, please contact staff in the Center for Digital Liberal Arts at