Most of our students are enrolled in more than one course.
The desire to divert users to a customised start page is motivated by at least two main factors:
1. the lack of flexibility of the Dashboard / Site Home
The more I think about it, the more surprised I am that it's currently not possible to land on a standard course page as a front page. This is the first page users encounter - especially new users - so it should be able to be customised extensively so it's welcoming, informative and a useful jumping off point to the content they need.
Standard course pages provide just this capability - in contrast to the Dashboard or Site Home.
For example, for the Dashboard and Site Home, without resorting to extra css or adapting code...
a. some blocks can only be set to the right column and there is no built-in support for setting columns or font size; not all blocks can be set to the centre area
b. blocks available on the Dashboard or Site Home are not universally available on other pages; if they are, they can't always be placed in the centre area (; so for a block showing enrolled pages for a long term user, this ends up being a block that runs down the right margin past any existing centre content)
c. if we want a list of enrolled pages that is condensed to just the links and in a small font, this is only available in user's menu > profile > course details
The equivalent to this user menu list on the Site Home or Dashboard is the Course Overview. This uses space by displaying info we don't need: in the old Course Overview this was tiles; in the newer version, using the List option, this is category and completion level.
2. the variety of our user groups
Our site is used as both a LMS and a staff intranet. Feedback from our users included the complaint that it wasn't clear once they'd logged in where to go to access the info they needed, and that there was info shown that wasn't relevant to them. For new users, this problem is worsened by unfamiliarity with the interface.
Options available in the Dashboard or Site Home don't allow easy customising of content for these user groups: tailoring access to individual items of content is possible by role in Site Home and Dashboard.
So to use this option we'd need to create a role for each user group that would only be used on either of these two pages, and then assign each new user to one of these roles in the system context. We have around 75 user groups for 2020, not accounting for students who are in second or third years of study. Users can belong to more than one group at a time.
Also, some of our students are enrolled in courses that last only a few days. So they don't have as much opportunity to get used to finding what they need. These students can be pretty much any age.