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Digital Education team blog


Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team


Archive for the 'General Learning Technology' Category

LinkedIn Learning Content now available in Moodle

By Jason R Norton, on 11 September 2023

Linkedin Learning’s media and courses are now available to be embedded in Moodle via the add activity/Resource button as an LTI. This will allow you to share either whole Linkedin courses, single media items, with the added bonus of being able to deep link to a specific point within a video.

A new Moodle mini guide is available here detailing how to use the tool.

Linkedin Learning embedded into a Moodle Course



Changes to Lecturecast (Echo360) Interface

By Tom Walters, on 15 August 2023

We would like to inform you that Lecturecast (Echo360) is undergoing a theme transformation set to continue until September. You may have already noticed that elements of the Lecturecast (Echo360) interface have been updated with a refreshing Raspberry Pink colour palette. Please be assured that these updates are purely aesthetic and do not impact the platform’s functionality, which remains unchanged.

Our team is diligently working on aligning our user guides with this new theme. We appreciate your patience as we work through this process.

If you have any questions, concerns, or need assistance, please feel free to reach out to our dedicated support team at lecturecast@ucl.ac.uk.

Lecturecast sections for 2023/24 courses are available and Zoom integration is changing

By Silvia Giannitrapani, on 1 August 2023

Lecturecast sections for the new 2023/24 academic year are now available. All Lecturecast activity links in Moodle are copied over from the previous year’s course during a rollover, but students will not be able to open the links and view these recordings until the new Moodle course has been linked to its Lecturecast section.

Before making a Moodle course available to students, course teams need to link their course to the new 2023/24 section as follows:

  • Go to your new Moodle course and select any existing Lecturecast links.

  • Once you click on the link, you will be prompted to choose the new Lecturecast section. Use the drop-down list(s) to select the term, course, and section you want to link to.

  • Then select ‘Link to the Section Home’ to link your new Moodle course directly to the section class list.

  • Click ‘LINK CONTENT’ to complete the configuration.
    • Once you link through, you are automatically enrolled as an instructor in the relevant Lecturecast section for next year.
    • All the Lecturecast links in the rolled-over Moodle course will now be linked to next year’s session in Lecturecast.

Please note that to reuse one or more recordings from the previous year, you still need to make a copy of the recording and then share the copy with next year’s section. Please follow the instructions available at Reuse recordings from previous years.

The Zoom/Lecturecast integration is changing…

As of Friday, August 4th 2023 the integration between Zoom and Lecturecast will be changing to an opt-in model. This means that by default your Zoom recordings will not be ingested automatically into your Lecturecast/Echo360 library unless you change your configuration settings.

What does this mean for you?
If you choose to opt-in, all your Zoom recordings will automatically be stored in Lecturecast for future reference and to be shared with your students (this is advisable only if the majority of your Zoom recordings are teaching related such as lectures or tutorials)
If you take no action, your recorded Zoom sessions will no longer be automatically stored in Lecturecast but you can still manually upload teaching related recordings by following the instructions in the ‘Zoom recordings in Lecturecast’ miniguide.

To opt-in, please visit the settings section of your Lecturecast account and enable the “Automatically copy Zoom recordings to Echo360” option. Please see the miniguide for detailed instructions.

Setting to Automatically copy Zoom recordings to Echo360
We understand that everyone has different preferences regarding the recording of lectures, and this change aims to provide you with more control over your Zoom recordings.

If you have any questions, concerns or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team at lecturecast@ucl.ac.uk

UCL Moodle has been Upgraded to Moodle version 4.2

By Jason R Norton, on 27 July 2023

We are very happy to announce that UCL Moodle has been upgraded to version 4.2 (from version 3.11) and our new UCL “Theme” has been enabled.

UCL Moodle Login Screen

UCL Moodles new login page


To keep this post brief, we are signposting existing and new resources that are now available.

Resource List

Updated Moodle Resource Centre – Moodle mini-guides have been updated to reflect Moodle 4 changes and a new top level landing page introduced to ensure new Moodle 4 items can be highlighted. (N.B. some updated resources are being released over the next 48 hours)

Moodle 4 self paced Training Course – An online Moodle course that will walk you through all the key changes within the Moodle 4.2 environment, and as a bonus will award a nice badge on completion.

Moodle 4.2 Demo Instance – We know that trying things out in a new environment may be a little nerve wracking, so we will be ensuring that the Moodle 4.2 demo environment is up to date and available for all staff to test various functionality. You will not be able to do everything because integrations with other systems (eg SITS) will not be enabled, but most Moodle based activities and course editing testing will be available.

Student Resource – The team have updated the basic introduction to Moodle for students.

Previous Moodle Upgrade Blogs – A link to the archive for all the previous Moodle 4 upgrade blogs that have deep dives into specific new or changed features.

Moodle 4 – Quick tips for updating your course – A mini guide on updating course elements post the Moodle 4 upgrade.

For those of you who may like to look at Moodle HQ’s own detailed release notes, below are links to all versions that are included in this upgrade.

Moodle 4.0

Moodle 4.1

Moodle 4.2


Note: Academic Year 23/24 Portico Mappings and Lecturecast Sections

Portico Mappings and Lecturecast Sections for the academic year 2023/2024, will NOT be available until after the 1st of August 2023, when data for the next academic year is made available within SITS.


What next for UCL Moodle ?

Post Moodle 4 Code refinements and bug squashing

Releasing a new version of any software always requires a period of review and bug fixing. While our team has spent hundreds of hours with various forms of manual and automated testing, its only when you, our users, use the platform that some bugs and minor feature issues will be detected. The support team will be actively prioritising tickets regarding Moodle to our development team who will continue to work to resolve any identified issues as quickly as possible.

Any issues discovered will be listed on our known issues page. If you encounter any issues please contact digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk.

Post Release Theme Development

Working with our partner Titus Learning, our small theme feature team will continue to make minor changes and improvements based on your feedback up until the start of the new undergraduate session. Once that work has been completed the team will begin to look at our Moodle course formats, another key UI/UX feature of our Moodle platform. They will be looking to bring our course formats into alignment with the new UCL Theme, helping to support consistency across course formats and working to improve accessibility.

Moodle Roadmap

The product team will be working over the summer to refine our medium to long term roadmap. This we aim to have published by the end of September to all our users.  The team have a lot of feature requests, required developments and general operational requirements in our backlog that need to be prioritised and aligned with the work of the Digital Education Portfolio and various strategic goals.

We thank you all for your patience over the last 18 months of active development and I also wish to thank all of those who have engaged with the product team in providing feedback and ideas that have helped us develop a better Moodle.

many thanks

Jason Norton

Product Manager for Digital Learning Environments


Moodle 4 – Quick tips for updating your course

By Eliot Hoving, on 27 July 2023

Moodle 4.2 and UCL’s new theme introduce a series of changes aimed at improving the user experience of students and staff.

For the most part, content will look and operate the same. However there are some quick steps you can take to update your course and make the most of the changes.

Consider how you can use the course index menu 

One of the new features of Moodle 4 is the course index menu, which is the new left-hand menu. 

Course index menu

Course index menu

This menu shows a link to all the resources and activities on your course.  

It may take some time for UCL to make the most of this new feature. Be aware that students and staff can close the menu, and access a course as they would have done in the past.  

I’d recommend viewing the course index menu, in its current state, much like an index of a book. It allows you to quickly look something up when you need to, but when your reading you don’t have to go back to the index to get to the next chapter, you simply keep reading. In the Moodle context, students and staff can use the course index menu to quickly find content they want when they need to, but when going through a course they can equally just view the content on the main center page and navigate to the next content item or section from within the main center page.

If we think of the course index menu like a book index, some of its quirks start to make more sense: 

  • The text is truncated so long section or activity headings won’t show in full. It’s best then that the text starts with the most important information, so it allows students to identify or recall what the content is. Numbering content can improve the readability of the index too. 

Numbering content

  • If you used a Label or “Text and Media area” as they are now called to create a horizontal line or add an image, the words “Label” or “Text and Media area” will show in the course index menu. You could delete them if they aren’t essential or add some text to them so this text will then show (see caveat below). 
  • Labels or “Text and Media areas” as they are now called, will also show in the course index menu. All the text in the Label will show, up to point it is truncated. If you want to avoid this, you could move your content from a “Text and Media area” to a Page so that only the Page title shows. UCL developers are investigating whether a seperate title for “Text and Media areas” can be created.

One feature that is particularly nice about the new course index menu is that it shows a green indicator alongside an activity when it has been completed, which allows students to quickly see what content they have done and importantly what they have remaining to do. This functions as a built in course checklist for students.


Green indicator in course index menu will show when an activity is completed.

Set up your course summary and image

In the past, it was common for Moodle courses to include a banner image at the top of their course. In Moodle this was called section 0.  Section 0 is now no longer displayed automatically to the student, instead the theme shows the course image at the top of the course. Course images are also shown to the student on their “My courses” page and when a student searches for a course. Whereas in the past you would have to add an image to section 0 and as a course image, now you just need to add it as a course image and it will automatically display at the top of your course. 

In the example shown, the course image is showing at the top, and the old banner image under section 0, which has been named “General”. If you have an old banner image, you can remove it by editing the section, or by using the bulk edit tool as described below.  

Course banner image

Course summaries will also be shown at the top of the course page. In the past the course summary was not easily visible to staff, so often the template text provided in baseline templates would go unedited and would often be shown to students when searching for their courses.  

A completion progress bar and percentage will also show which indicates to the student how many activities they have completed in the course. This will only show when activity completion is enabled on a course.

To add a course summary and image: 

  1. Open your course. 
  2. Click the Settings tab. 
  3. Scroll down to Description. 
  4. Under Course summary, include a brief description of your course. We recommend keeping it brief, think tweet length, 280 characters. 
  5. Under Course image, upload a file (I’d recommend that your image doesn’t include text as it may appear distorted on certain devices, and selecting an image with the size of 550px by 280px. I found my image on UCL’s Imagestore – a free repository of UCL images.) 
  6. Click Save. 

Spring clean using the new Bulk edit tool 

With the new Moodle theme it’s a good time to delete any old content, or formatting that doesn’t fit so well with the new layout and colour scheme (e.g. old course banner image). 

The new Moodle bulk edit tool makes it easier than ever to delete content. It is currently available on the standard “topics” or “collapsed topics” format. For courses in the tab format, you can use the Mass actions block. 


  1. With your course open, turn on edit mode. 
  2. Click Bulk edit at the top of your course. 
  3. Select the content you want to delete. 
  4. Click Delete at the bottom of the page. 


Check block images aren’t distorted 

The Moodle block region to the right of a course is now narrower which may distort some of the images you’ve used in the past. 

In previous templates it was common to layout content using a table. This type of formatting is not ideal, as it can lead to inconsistent results based on a user’s device and is harder to read for screen readers. 

So I’d recommend removing any table formatting, and laying out content and images vertically, with minimal styling. 



Block before


Block after


Onetopic/Tabs format only – fix colour contrast of tabs 

Due to the colour changes made in the new Moodle theme, your course tab colours may or may not look readible and meet accessibility colour contrast requirements. 

You can change individual course tabs individually, by editing them. 

Alternatively, if you want to reset your course tabs to the default colours, you can temporarily change the course format to the “Topics” format under the Settings tab and click save. You can then change the course format back to “Tabs” which is the format “Onetopic” on Moodle. 

Note: This will remove all your colours and you won’t be able to get them back. 



Tabs before


Tabs after

If you have any difficulty updating your Moodle course, please get in touch with your Faculty Learning Technology Lead.

If you notice any issues or errors, please report them to itservices@ucl.ac.uk so the relevant team can investigate.

Global Deactivation of Portico Mappings

By Jason R Norton, on 26 July 2023

Portico mappings on Moodle pages WILL BE globally deactivated on 1 August 2023. Enrolled students will retain access to their Moodle courses.

How will this impact students on my course?

  • Students who are already enrolled on a Moodle course WILL continue to have access to that Moodle course.
  • Students who join a Module on Portico WILL NOT be automatically enrolled onto the corresponding Moodle course.  Students can still be manually enrolled.
  • Students who leave the module on Portico WILL NOT be automatically unenrolled.

Moodle and Portico mappings

If Portico mappings are active on a Moodle course, student enrolments on that course are automatically updated overnight to mirror the student registrations in Portico. Consequently, students who change courses or withdraw from their studies are automatically enrolled or unenrolled from the Moodle course when their Portico record is changed. Usually, this is desirable when students change/drop modules within the first few weeks of term. However, if students are automatically unenrolled after they have been awarded any grades, these grades become inaccessible, which can be very problematic.

Note: the ‘inaccessible’ grades, submissions and logged activity are not deleted, and can be accessed again if the student is re-enrolled manually. But, when a student is no longer enrolled on a course, there is just no way to view their content.

Why deactivate Portico mappings?

To reduce the likelihood of this particular ‘inaccessible/missing grades’ problem occurring, Portico mappings have been deactivated on all Moodle courses.

Can I re-activate Portico mappings on my 2022/23 courses?

Doing so may unenrol existing students in error. Before making any changes, please contact us at digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk

When can we activate Portico mappings for 2023/24 courses?

We expect 2023/24 mappings to become available within the week following the first of August once the become available on SITS.