Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Making Moodle pages that are accessible site wide

If you'd like to add 'global' pages on your Moodle site that you can access anywhere, you might find the options in this post useful. These are the options I know of - I won't be surprised if there are more!

Option 1. As part of courses open to guests: You could create a course on your site that is open to guest access, and you could make pages and put publicly accessible resources here (as a kind of repository). The trouble is when you link to any page or resource here, the user will be taken to a completely different part of your Moodle site and this might break the user experience. The user might drift into the course with all the publicly accessible stuff and wonder what it's all about!

Option 2. Using the Main Menu block: On your site homepage add the 'Main Menu' block. Within this block you can add not just pages but any Moodle resource or activity that your site supports! I don't want my users to see the block itself on their homepage so I edit the block-level permissions to make it invisible to students and other roles. This does not affect the visibility of the pages I create in this block. I copy the URL and put it anywhere I like. And they appear neatly as 'Home -> Site pages -> Page title' in the breadcrumb without the confusingly long trail as in option 1.

Option 3. Using the Static Pages plugin: This plugin adds a feature to the Site Administration menu to let you create and maintain static pages. It's great but for one problem: spaces are not supported in the page title. So you are constrained to use one-word titles like 'FAQ' and 'contact', or you need to add hyphens/underscores between words in the title, which ends up looking weird in big font when the page is published.

Option 4. Adding a page directly on the site homepage: If you enable the setting 'include a topic section' in the Front Page settings of your site, you can add any resource or activity directly in the main section of your Moodle site homepage just as if it were a course section. I think the Label resource is particularly useful for the site homepage: with the right design or CSS you can add visually appealing content on the homepage. If you add any other resource/activity such as a page, the homepage develops a course-like character that you might not like!