Themes: Fordson

Maintained by Picture of Chris Kenniburg Chris Kenniburg
Fordson | A child theme of Boost providing stunning visuals, an enhanced homepage experience, and improved navigation. Fordson sports a simple and effective design with a no-nonsense Bootstrap 4 layout that looks great on any screen.
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About Fordson

Fordson is a refreshingly clean and minimal design without skimping on visual cues that help learners.  Welcome and guide your students to the learning content with a straightforward homepage focused on getting engaged with learning and not the theme.  Fordson shines with a "less is more" approach but there are also many useful tools to help learners engage with your content such as improved customized navigation, Marketing Tiles and stunning display of courses.

Fordson HomepageClean, Simple, Efficient

  • Minimal design
  • Single pane of focus for learning materials and blocks
  • Customizable navigation: Nav Drawer, My Courses, Homepage Icon Bar
  • Brand new folding navigation for teachers and students
  • Out of the box a clean, refined, and stylish appearance with minimal configuration
  • Built for all screen sizes
  • Customized Homepage that has creative features when needed but can be used to create a minimal, focused, and distraction free homepage

Customize Navigation

Fordson integrates several key navigation enhancements to help get students engaged and learning quickly.  

  • Customizable Homepage Icon Navigation Bar
  • Course Management Panel for teachers to help manage courses
  • Customizable Boost Nav Drawer
  • This Course drop down to display grouped activities as well as grades, radial progress bar, teacher contacts, and course summary information
  • My Courses drop down displays enrolled courses

Teacher Dashboard featureStudent Dashboard feature

New Innovative Course Management Panel for Teachers and A Super Cool Course Overview Panel for Students!

Special thanks to Richard Oelmann for integrating the Course Progress Radial for students on course pages.

The Teacher Course Management Panel features everything a teacher needs to see in order to edit and manage their course.  All the links are at their fingertips in an organized and easy to use sliding panel.

The Student Course Overview Panel shows student progress, grades, assignments, teacher contacts, a custom textbox for providing a message to students, and a course overview text.  This provides students with access to a quick snapshot of how they are doing in a course.

Purpose Driven Design

The elements that make Fordson unique are built by design and all serve a purpose.  Fordson attempts to streamline the process of going from the homepage to enrolling in a course so that learners can engage with the content quickly and efficiently.  The custom icon navigation bar is a very visual tool to direct authenticated users on your homepage.  If a user has permissions to create new course a button to do so appears on the homepage icon navigation bar.  DIsplay news and information in an intuitive textbox slider that is triggered by a button in the icon navigation bar but conveniently hidden to minimize distractions.  A unique textbox for both authenticated and non-authenticated users can provide all the necessary instructions for users.  

Significant changes to the layout move both learning content and blocks together to focus attention on a single pane on the screen.  Custom images uploaded by teachers provide visual cues for learners that they are in a different course and allow teachers to feel they can customize the visuals of their course. Utilize the color options and pick the exact colors you need to give Fordson your school colors.  

Easy Enrollment Add-On

Install the Easy Enrollment add-on and Fordson will display a new enrollment form on the homepage.  This new form will allow a student to enter a 6 digit code and instantly be enrolled into the corresponding course or group within the course. This allows a student to go from the homepage to a course in seconds!  It will even generate and read QR Codes for enrolling elementary kids by simple waving a paper in front of the computer.


Fordson also provides unique navigation solutions with the ability to customize the Boost Nav Drawer.  Remove the default menu items and add in your own.  Jumping from course to course is much easier with the inclusion of the famous “My Courses” drop down menu.  Once inside a course, teachers will immediately notice the “Turn Editing On” button located prominently at the top right of the page.  Also inside a course page near the breadcrumbs a special drop down displays a grouped listing of all activities used within the course to quickly display a list of every quiz, assignment, or activity.  Unique to Fordson is a brand new "Course Management" panel for teachers.  This innovative navigation panel provides a much better way to display all the tools and links to manage a course in a convenient sliding panel.  The intent of the Course Management panel is to replace the "Edit Course Cog" drop-down menu.   

Theme Notes

  1. In order to use the enhanced homepage you must make the SIte Home the default homepage for all users. It will not display if your homepage is set to Dashboard.
  2. If upgrading from version 1.3.1 to 1.4.0 you will want to adjust the Header Image Height setting for Fordson.  This should be set to a minimum of 400px as a starting point for you to adjust the custom site and course background images.  The layout changes in 1.4.0 require a larger height to look nice since the image is put behind the content.

Special Thanks

Elements and certain functionality of Fordson would not be possible without the following users and plugins:


This plugin is part of set Fordson theme.


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Picture of Chris Kenniburg
Chris Kenniburg (Lead maintainer)
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  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Thu, 11 May 2017, 7:54 PM
    In the Fordson Admin page look on the Menu Tab. You have to click a checkbox to turn it on and then select which items you want to display in the menu. The option to pick things other than course activities goes away in 1.4.4 when we introduce the new "Course Management" slider which puts all the course management links in plain view for teachers and they are organized so they make sense to the average person.
  • Picture of Derek Chaplin
    Thu, 11 May 2017, 10:39 PM
    Just tried to update a Moodle 3.2 and a Moodle 3.3beta site to v1.4.5 and received the following error message on both sites:

    Downloading theme_fordson ... OK
    Validating theme_fordson ... Error
    [Error] Extracted file not found [{"file":"fordson\/style\/"}]
    Installation aborted due to validation failure

  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Thu, 11 May 2017, 10:43 PM
    We are discussing this in the forum here:
  • Picture of Richard Jones
    Fri, 12 May 2017, 5:40 AM
    Hi Chris
    Thanks for the tip. Yes, I've seen the slider - saves me hundred's of clicks and hunting for links every week.
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Fri, 12 May 2017, 9:33 AM
    Richard, I'm trying to build something similar but for students with course completion, links, upcoming assignments, etc. Your comment hit the nail on the head... Saved you hundreds of clicks! Thanks for the feedback.
  • Picture of Richard Jones
    Fri, 12 May 2017, 9:44 AM
    You're welcome - such a beautiful theme. While we're here, I find when using side blocks or lesson menus, a lot of space is taken away from the central content. These are "cards" right? I'm going to modify the e-learner.scss file to reduce that by about half. This is a bigger problem for oldies like me who tend to operate at more than 100% browser zoom. I typically use 125%.
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Fri, 12 May 2017, 6:54 PM
    Richard, No need to dig around in code. There is a Block Width setting on the Content Page for Fordson. You can pick from a variety of widths. I will need to double check but the eLearner preset should utilize this setting. I know default does. WIth presets it makes developing themes a bit more complicated as you need to do much more testing with each preset.
  • Picture of Donna Lee
    Wed, 17 May 2017, 4:34 AM
    I just want to say that I am a superfan of this Theme. It's the best I've ever worked with since using moodle 2 years ago. Great work, Chris, and your effort and attention to the users of the theme is greatly appreciated.
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Wed, 17 May 2017, 10:13 AM
    Thank you very much Donna! Right now we are in high gear for developing this theme and the enrollment plugin so I am on here and in the forums all the time as we build and test the new features. We don't officially launch our Moodle upgrade until June so I am relying on your great feedback and ideas to help make this an awesome theme.
  • Picture of Paula Flaherty
    Wed, 24 May 2017, 1:20 AM
    Hi Chris, really like the new update for this theme, the slider on the home screen is a favourite feature of ours! However, the slider does not appear to be responsive, when viewed on different screen sizes and on mobile the banner cuts off the image instead of shrinking it to fit.. is there someway that it could be changed to be responsive to screen size or is there something we're missing our end? Any help is greatly appreciated!
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Wed, 24 May 2017, 3:03 AM
    Thank you for finding and notifying me of the image issue. There is a fix on github currently ( ). This will be in the repository later this week and will be fixed in Fordson version 1.4.8. I changed the way I am displaying the image and it should behave much better now.
  • Picture of Paula Flaherty
    Wed, 24 May 2017, 5:52 PM
    Thanks Chris for your prompt response, that's a great help! Again, thanks for creating and sharing with us such a beautiful theme.
  • Picture of Gail Chambers
    Tue, 30 May 2017, 11:08 PM
    I really like the Fordson theme and addition of the slider. Unfortunately the slide show won't run without adding a slide title and text. The gray box is a distraction and text is not always necessary. Is there a work around for this? Can slide show run automatically rather than a user having to click through?
  • Picture of Gail Chambers
    Tue, 30 May 2017, 11:10 PM
    I take that back slider is running automatically. Suggestions for removing text?
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Wed, 31 May 2017, 6:28 AM
    Gail, great suggestions. Let me see what I can do tomorrow.
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