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Digital Education team blog


Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team


Countdown to Moodle 4: Introducing New Design and Training Opportunities

By Aurelie, Kerry, Eliot Hoving and Jason R Norton, on 16 May 2023

Welcome back to our fortnightly news release for the eagerly awaited Moodle 4 upgrade. As we draw closer to the upgrade, we’re excited to share our progress and shine a spotlight on new features that will enhance your Moodle experience.

Sprint Update and Progress

Our team has been planning and scheduling Train-The-Trainer sessions. These comprehensive 3-hour workshops are designed to equip departmental and faculty trainers with the necessary knowledge and skills to become Moodle 4 experts. The Train-The-Trainer sessions will be held between 29 May and 30 June, ensuring ample opportunities for our trainers to participate and gain the insights they need to support their respective teams.

Moreover, we’re thrilled to announce that the next version of our theme has been released to the internal test team. The feedback we collect is invaluable to us, and it helps us create a platform that is intuitive, efficient, and user-friendly.

We have also made significant strides in our development efforts. We’ve developed and tested three new blocks, which are now awaiting approval. These features promise to provide a more diverse range of functionalities, further enhancing the dashboard experience in your Moodle site.

Introducing New Navigation and Design

One of the highlights of the Moodle 4 upgrade is the redesigned navigation and aesthetic. We’ve streamlined the user interface to make it more intuitive and user-friendly.


The first thing you’ll notice is the revamped dashboard and its new features. Tailored to your role, the dashboard provides easy access to your courses and their respective activities, such as assignments, forums, and quizzes.

A prominent feature is the ‘Alert’ section at the top of the dashboard. This section is designed to deliver Moodle platform-related alerts, ensuring that you’re kept up-to-date with any important updates, changes, or issues affecting the platform.

Two new additions include the Feedback block, which consolidates all your assessment feedback in Moodle, and a News block that circulates important updates to keep you informed about the latest at UCL.

A standout feature is the new Deadlines section. This presents a timeline of upcoming events and activity deadlines, helping you manage your tasks and commitments with ease.

A screen showing the new UCL dashboard including the alert section at the top, the Deadlines section, and the new Feedback and News blocks on the right-hand side.

The Dashboard features an alert section at the top, the Deadlines section, as well as the new Feedback and News blocks.

My courses

The ‘My courses’ page lists all the courses you are enrolled in, providing a summary card for each one and a progress bar indicating how much of the course you’ve completed (if the course uses completion tracking). This feature is particularly useful if you’re enrolled in multiple courses, as it offers a quick way to navigate between them.

Screen shoing the MyCourses page with several courses cards listed, two of them are starred and therefore appear first in the list.

The ‘My courses’ page allows you to review course progress and provides a quick search and navigation between courses.

Course index

The Course Index is a new feature that significantly improves course navigation. Providing a comprehensive overview of your course’s content and structure, it outlines all the sections and resources available at a glance.

Located on the left side of your screen within a course, the Course Index presents a collapsible format, allowing you to easily navigate between different sections of a course. This makes it simpler than ever to locate the material you need.

The Course Index also interacts with the course completion tracking feature. If completion tracking is enabled, each activity is marked with a small circle. An empty circle indicates an incomplete activity, while a filled green circle signals that the activity is completed. This provides a visual representation of your progress through the course.

a screen showing the course index, including activity completion tracking with small circles on next to the names of tracked activities.

A course index with completion tracking.

Other design changes

A key change to note is the renaming of the “Label” resource to “Text and media area”. This shift in terminology more accurately reflects the resource’s functionality, making it easier for users to understand and utilise it.

In addition, we’ve given Moodle’s icons a fresh, modern look, while maintaining their familiarity to help users easily identify functions and features.

List of activity and resources in Moodle showing he new icons and the updated "Text and Media" resource type.

List of activity and resources in Moodle showing the new icons and the updated “Text and Media” resource type.

Getting in Touch

We’re always here to support you. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Digital Education team.

Stay tuned for our next update in a fortnight, where we’ll share more exciting news and progress on the Moodle 4 upgrade. Until then, happy moodling!

The Virtual Learning Environments Team

Countdown to Moodle 4: Roadmap Update and Progress Highlights

By Aurelie, Eliot Hoving, Jason R Norton and Kerry, on 3 May 2023

Welcome back to our fortnightly news release for the highly anticipated Moodle 4 upgrade. As we count down to the upgrade, we strive to keep you informed and updated on our progress. 

In our previous blog post, we delved into the new assessment features of Moodle 4, including quiz and question bank enhancements, as well as timed assignments. Today, we’ll be focusing on the current state of our preparations for the upgrade, scheduled for the end of July. 

Progress Update 

During last week’s planning session (TI planning), our team identified and prioritised the tasks necessary to ensure a successful Moodle 4 release within the last two weeks of July.
Despite our initial projection of a test Moodle 4 instance release to all staff and students in April, we’ve had to adjust the timeline. We now anticipate launching this test platform at the end of May.

We want to share the reasons for this delay. Earlier this month, we released the Moodle 4 test site for our focus group and have been diligently working on the feedback received. Our focus group indicated that the platform isn’t quite ready for a general release, highlighting some areas that require further refinement, which we are now prioritising. Additionally, we’re working to resolve infrastructure issues to guarantee optimal performance of the Moodle 4 test site for all UCL staff and students upon its release at the end of May. 

Here is the updated timeline for our summer upgrade: 

Moodle 4 Timeline showing the availibility of the test platform and training launch in June

Moodle 4 Timeline – Summer Upgrade 2023

We’re committed to delivering an exceptional learning experience, and we expect to launch the Train-The-Trainer sessions to faculty and departments late May, as well as the self-paced Moodle 4 course for all staff who cannot attend trainer-led sessions, by the end of May. 

Getting in Touch 

Should you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Digital Education team.

We’ll be back in a fortnight with more news and updates on the Moodle 4 upgrade. Until then, happy moodling! 

The Virtual Learning Environments team

MyPortfolio upgrade: what’s new?

By Aurelie, on 11 April 2022

Our eportfolio system MyPortfolio is powered by the open-source platform Mahara.

On 26 May 2022, MyPortfolio was upgraded to Mahara version 21.10. This means we’re bringing you new functionalities and improving features such as competency frameworks, general usability improvements as well as making MyPortfolio more user-friendly.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of improvements:

SmartEvidence (competency framework) for group templates

A SmartEvidence framework can be added to a group portfolio used as template for the creation of personal portfolios.

Exports improvement

Decide whether you want to include or exclude private comments from your portfolio export to retain the original setting on private comments and not make them viewable by others.

Collapsible page comments

When you open a page, the comments area at the bottom of a page, when the portfolio author allowed comments, is collapsed per default to save space.

MyPortfolio collapsible comments feature

MyPortfolio collapsible comments

Skin stays with copied page

When you copy a page or a collection that has one or more skins applied to its pages, the skins come along with the pages if they are public or site skins that you are allowed to use.

Accessibility bug fixes

Accessibility bugs were fixed towards compliance with WCAG 2.1.


For more details, you can review the MyPortfolio Mahara Manual.

21.10 Mahara video from https://manual.mahara.org/en/21.10/new.html 

If you have any question regarding setting up eportfolio activities or assessment, don’t hesitate to contact me : a.soulier@ucl.ac.uk .


Moodle 2.8 – Summer 2015 upgrade

By Domi C Sinclair, on 27 May 2015

For the attention of all UCL Moodle teaching and support staff.

Moodle Summer Upgrade 17 to 22 July 2015








At 17:00 on Friday 17th July 2015 Moodle will be made unavailable to allow the yearly snapshot copy to be created. Once the process is compete the snapshot will be made available for staff and students, this is expected to be completed by 17:00 on Saturday the 18th July 2015.

We will also be taking this opportunity to perform our yearly upgrade of the Moodle system as previously advertised. The live Moodle service will be returned to service no later than 10:00am on Wednesday the 22nd July 2015, although it is expected that the upgrade will be returned to service earlier than this time. However we need to include an “at risk” time to account for a full restoration of the service if something was to fail with the planned upgrade. We will keep you notified as to when Moodle will become available over the upgrade weekend via the ELE blog (blogs.ucl.ac.uk/ele) and out Twitter channel (@UCL_ELE)

For new Moodle upgrade features and changes please see the New Features page Moodle Resource Centre wiki.

If you would like to find out more about the Moodle snapshot (formerly the Moodle archive), including its intended purpose and how you can hide content, please visit the Moodle Resource Centre wiki for more information.

What do I have to do?
If your module ends before the upgrade and you would like the snapshot copy to be made available then no further action is required.

What if my course(s) doesn’t finish before the upgrade?
We recognise that not all Moodle courses will end before the 17th July. Some run into August/September and others may run later, several times a year or never stop. More information on the process of requesting a manual snapshot can be found in the Moodle Resource Centre wiki on the Manual Moodle Snapshot page.

What happens after the snapshot?
Once you have a snapshot copy of your course we strongly recommend you take some time to consider resetting and reviewing your course so it can be used for the next cohort. For more information on preparing your Moodle course for the next academic year, see the following: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/staff/e-learning/tools/moodle/procedures/preparing

To see the snapshot (formerly archive) for yourself, visit: http://moodle-archive.ucl.ac.uk

All times are for the UK (BST), for other locations please convert: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html

Moodle outage – Tuesday 25 October 2011

By Matt Jenner, on 19 October 2011

Moodle will be unavailable between 8am and 9am, and should be considered at risk until 10am, on the 25th of October.

This is a short message to give further details on the upcoming UCL Moodle outage.

We are upgrading the service to fix a few small issues which have been found in the software, there will be no noticeable changes. If you find behaviour is altered after the upgrade you’ll need to contact the Learning Technology Support Service.


Matt Jenner