Themes: Fordson

Maintained by Picture of Chris Kenniburg Chris Kenniburg
The Fordson theme is focused on students going from login to learning, with features that help teachers build better courses and students engage with content. Your school is unique and Fordson provides impressive customizations for a professional and modern learning platform. Try out Fordson and show some love by clicking "favourite" ( ♥ ) !
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Moodle 3.5 and Fordson New Features

Introduction to the new layout choosers and the brand new preset: Spectrum-Achromatic!  See how you can Boost the Boost layout with the new Spectrum preset.

This is the new look of the Fordson theme.

  • New layout and style choosers allow you to mix and match elements of the page to create over 100 unique style/page combinations.  Choose a Page Layout, Section Style, Course Listing Style, Blocks Location, and a Style Preset. 
  • 5 Page Layouts which change how course images are displayed and other page elements
  • 8 Section Styles which customize how topics/weeks are displayed
  • 9 Course Listing Layouts (4 tiled and 4 full-width horizontal plus default Boost)
  • 4 Marketing tile styles to choose from
  • 4 Style Presets: Spectrum-Achromatic, Modern Moodle, e-Learner, and Pulse.
  • Blocks can be shown 2 ways: Boost default sidebar or new Fordson 3 column.  The Fordson 3 column layout is designed as a block panel which can be shown or hidden with the click of a button in the upper right of the course title area.

Beautiful Design, Organization Branding, & Marketing

Fordson extends the core Boost theme to provide a dizzying array of styling options, customized color choosers, enhanced user interactions, improved navigation, and branding opportunities within the theme.  Depending on your needs, Fordson delivers a variety of style presets from bland to grand! 

Focused on What Matters

We are focused on the process of getting a student to go from login to learning as efficiently as possible. Once in a course, we utilize a variety of techniques to help students engage with the content and organize the page in a way that helps promote learning.  We accomplish this by listening to our teachers and students for ways to improve that experience. When we extend Moodle functionality, we try to stay as close to core Boost as possible. Fordson delivers impressive features such as an innovative Course Management dashboard for teachers and little features like a course editing button that is always visible and “location aware” to speed up building a course.  The learning content is most important and Fordson utilizes space, color, images, icons, and other elements to help guide students through a course. Fordson also provides many different looks so that you can customize the presentation of learning materials to your students.  Spend more time engaged in learning and less time clicking buttons. Fordson enhances the user experience for both students and teachers by combining clean and efficient design with innovative user features not found in other themes. From login to learning we are focused on making Moodle better for students and teachers.

Thoughtful and Purposeful Development

Development of the Fordson theme is often guided by community, teacher, and student feedback.  We listen to suggestions that match our desire to provide the best experience from login to learning.  The Fordson theme shines when you are looking for the the following:

  • A theme that organizes Moodle’s navigation and enhances it to improve the user experience.

  • A theme that is focused on going from login to learning and getting out of the way of your teachers and students.

  • Improved navigation that helps make sense of course management for teachers and students get into courses faster

  • Designed and refined with community and teacher input based on their needs

Support Materials

Course Management Panel

A re-imagined course management panel

Everything a teacher needs to manage their online classroom is only a click away from anywhere within their course.

Student course dashboard

Keep students informed with progress reports and a course dashboard

Unique to Fordson is a student dashboard which displays important course information such as grades, completion progress, and teacher contact details. Let students see individual topic completion status so they know which course topics they still have work to do. 

Activity chooser customization

Feature the most effective activity modules first

Make sure teachers see and use the modules your organization feels are most important. Customize the activity and resource modules with the ability to feature modules, hide modules and even control the ordering of the modules.

Top Navbar 

One place to look for all major navigation and functionality - Top Navigation Bar

Fordson took many of the navigational elements found throughout the default layout and moved everything into the very top navigation bar so that a user has one place to look for buttons and tools within a course. 

Enroll students directly from the homepage

No more getting lost trying to search and find a course. Our Easy Enrollment plugin is deeply integrated with the Fordson theme and makes enrollment a super simple process. The enrollment plugin assigns a 6 digit code to every course and group in your entire site. Pass out the codes to students and they can instantly enroll directly from the site homepage.  Don’t worry. If you do not want to use this enrollment plugin you do not need to do so. Fordson only displays the enrollment form if it detects that the plugin is activated on your site.

Block collapse panel

New Way to Show Blocks with a 3 column panel

Fordson allows you to choose between the default Boost sidebar or our new innovative block panel which is displayed with the click of a button or out of the way when students are learning.

Custom Course Category Display

We made it possible to switch how courses in your site are displayed when viewing the course categories.  Pick from 4 different layouts to further customize the look and feel of your Moodle site using Fordson.   

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.

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
    Wed, 18 Jul 2018, 7:13 PM
    Dennie, I'm guessing something went wrong during your upgrade. Can you save settings in other areas of your site or is it just the Fordson theme?
  • Picture of Dennie Walker
    Thu, 19 Jul 2018, 6:27 AM
    It seems to be happening even if I try some of the administrative changes too.
    This is really weird because if i try making changes to the site using this https://mysite/admin/settings.php?section=themesettingfordson it doesn't work. However if I try here https://mysite/admin/category.php?category=themes the same changes are applied without any issues.
    PS I did try re-installation and I'm getting the same results.
    Thanks again for your assistance.
  • Picture of Dennie Walker
    Thu, 19 Jul 2018, 6:38 PM
    I figured out where the issue was.
    In the process of upgrading to the new version I copied the entire "theme" folder from the old site rather than just copying "My Theme".
    So I'm guessing some of the new files that were needed for the "Boost" theme to function efficiently in the upgraded Moodle version weren't present in the old version.
    Thanks a million for the assistance.
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Thu, 19 Jul 2018, 7:22 PM
    Good to hear. The variable in the issue was the upgrade that changed things. I thought it was related to that.
  • Picture of Dennie Walker
    Fri, 20 Jul 2018, 6:46 PM
    I disabled Badges from the Site administration, however it's still appearing in Subject Management panel. How do I remove Badges from the Subject Management panel?
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Fri, 20 Jul 2018, 10:46 PM
    Dennie, the theme forum is the best place to post questions. I do look and monitor for questions related to fordson there. Please use the forums for any further help with the fordson theme. There are also more people who might be able to answer your questions there as well.
  • Picture of David Collins
    Tue, 31 Jul 2018, 2:43 AM
    I am trying to configure a plugin that has a custom course admin menu item in it (Course Recompletion: Since Fordson reorganizes how these links are displayed, the entry point to the settings for the plugin never appear, as it appears the links are hard-coded, rather than using the core methods to obtain. Is it possible to have the links dynamically loaded from the db?
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Tue, 31 Jul 2018, 2:55 AM
    No. It isn't possible out of the box. In order to break the way Moodle organized the Course Admin links we had to build the menu via the theme. If you are a coder it would be quite easy to add. The function is called teacherdash and is on line 977 of core_renderer.php. That would generate and display the link from there.
    If we would have left it to the core menu renderer then all the links would all be organized the default way which made no sense to our users. We like them grouped the way we have them.
  • Picture of bobby demers
    Tue, 7 Aug 2018, 5:56 PM

    Getting this message on install:
    [Error] Write access check [/var/www/moodle/theme/fordson]
    Installation aborted due to validation failure

    Moodle 3.5.1+ (Build: 20180713)

    Any ideas?

  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Tue, 7 Aug 2018, 7:15 PM
    Make sure your server can write to the themes directory. This is a server permission issue. Also, please post technical issues in the forums.
  • Picture of Zeid Fanous
    Thu, 9 Aug 2018, 3:07 AM
    Hi, if you scale down the browser to a certain point, the messaging and notifications icons disappear. also hidden when viewing it from a mobile phone, any ideas ?
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Sat, 11 Aug 2018, 2:59 AM
    Zeid, Yes. In order for some of the crowded real-estate at the top of the page we hid those icons. You can simply remove that or override it with CSS to bring them back. We will not be doing so in the theme as we would prefer our students using mobile use the Moodle App.
  • Picture of Denis Glagolev
    Tue, 21 Aug 2018, 5:30 PM
    Hallo, Can I export and than import Fordson settings on another Moodle ?
  • Picture of Pär Brink
    Tue, 21 Aug 2018, 8:38 PM
    Using Moodle 3.5 Fordson v3.5 release 3 update 7, but am missing the feature to remove items from the menu in the Fordson settings. Is it missing or is it placed somewhere else?
    Also, it seems to be impossible to get the background picture to stay fixed.
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Wed, 22 Aug 2018, 8:16 PM
    Denis Glagolev - No. You cannot import/export settings but you can install Fordson in another server and use it.
    Par Brink - We removed the functionality to show and hide menu settings. Please use this plugin instead
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