Themes ::: theme_fordson
Maintained by 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" ( ♥ ) !
Latest release:
11575 sites
347 fans
Current versions available: 10

Beautiful Design, Organization Branding, & Marketing

Fordson extends the core Boost theme to provide 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 to help you quickly change the look of your site! 

Login to Learning

What does this motto mean, "Focused on going from Login to Learning"?  It means we are hyper focused on the user experience that extends from the point of login until the student is engaged with learning.  What does that actually mean from a plugin?  It means through our theme and related plugins we have looked at and spent time trying to develop a streamlined and intuitive way to go from the Moodle homepage to course content in a way that makes sense for our users.  We developed the Fordson theme to help with navigation and usability.  We developed the Easy Enrollment plugin to help enroll students into courses directly from the Moodle homepage.  As of the latest release of Fordson we now have a special course format that we've enhanced through our theme to provide a great user experience at the course level.  Install the Collapsible Topics Course Format and activate the new "Plugin Integration" in Fordson and you will see the difference between the normal course format and how we enhance it through the Fordson theme.  We are focused on going from login to learning and want to share that experience with the Moodle community.

New!  Plugin Integrations

Announcing Jitsi Server Integration

New Jitsi server integration button.New for 2020 is Jitsi Meet server integration which automatically puts a Jitsi Meet Launch button at the top of every course in your Moodle site. If 2020 has taught us anything, learning remotely requires a good web conferencing software. Each Moodle class gets a Jitsi Launch button right below the breadcrumbs. If you don't use Jitsi, just don't add a title to the Jitsi settings in Fordson. However, we provide the public URL that will work too if you don't have your own Jitsi server.  check out the main page of the Fordson Theme settings for the new Jitsi integration.

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 with all the links to manage a course and users.  There are also 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

Top Features

  1. Over 160 unique layout and style combinations for the ultimate in customization
  2. Fordson includes a variety of Site Preset Styles, Page Layouts, Sections Styles, and Course Listing Styles.  All of which can be changed instantly from a menu.
  3. All major navigation and functionality accessible from one spot on the page for users
  4. A re-imagined course management panel for teachers that makes sense of all the links in course administration.  It’s accessible from anywhere in the course at any time.
  5. New Block Display Panel moves blocks into a 3-column collapsible drawer giving a teacher more room for blocks and keeps them hidden until a student wants to see them.
  6. Turn Editing On button is “location aware” and accessible at all times on the course homepage.  When clicked the page will return to the exact location you where viewing when you pressed the button.  
  7. Feature the most effective course modules and activities first with Fordson’s innovative course activity customizations.  Take control of what modules are displayed, module ordering, and the ability to feature modules. Limit what modules a teacher can use and allow Managers to see and use all modules.
  8. Keep students informed with progress reports, grades, teacher contacts and more with the Fordson Student Dashboard panel.  This panel provides course information at a glance for students.
  9. When a course is set to show one topic per page the Fordson theme will show individual topic completion progress on the course homepage.  Students can quickly see what topics still have unfinished assignments.  
  10. Enroll students directly from the site homepage when using the Easy Enrollment Add-on.

Additional Information

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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Chris Kenniburg (Lead maintainer)
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Comments RSS


  • Wed, Oct 21, 2020, 5:29 PM
    Where does fordson theme save settings? In the database or in some file somewhere? I want to change settings automaticly (by script) when copying over to development site.
  • Fri, Oct 30, 2020, 12:07 AM
    Hello Chris,
    In versions of moodle lower than 3.7 I have overridden the 'render_user_picture' function in the file 'fordson/classes/output/core_renderer.php' to change the URL of the image and calling a webservice to retrieve an external image on the fly. It works in versions prior to 3.7 along the site, but from version 3.7 only in forum mod it doesn't work.

    From version 3.7, Moodle uses some helpers located in "mod/forum/classes/local/" folder that bypass this the render_user_picture override. They get the user image URL and other attributes using these files in 'local' folder. This breaks the possibility of override some aspects of the forum, and make this module behave different when rendering some objects.

    I know this is not related to your theme, but maybe you can give some hints to solve this. Do you think that this must be reported to Moodle?

    Thanks in advance!
  • Fri, Oct 30, 2020, 5:28 PM
  • Giovanni Marangelli
    Tue, Nov 10, 2020, 10:49 PM
    Hi Chris
    I would like to ask you if a version of your Fordson theme will also be possible for version 3.10 of Moodle.
    Thank you so much
  • Tue, Nov 10, 2020, 11:01 PM
    I am working on finding a solution to make it compatible. Not quite sure why it broke. Hoping someone might be able to catch where it is failing. If you have a solution please share.
  • Wed, Nov 11, 2020, 5:23 AM
    With Moodle 3.10, Fordson has some minor quirks:
    1. The top bar is no longer opaque, so that when scrolling down the material that has been scrolled appears behind the top bar.
    2. The turn editing on button reaches from the top of the top bar to the bottom and no longer appears as a button.
    3. The messaging and notification icons are now stacked rather than rendered side-by-side.
    4. The bottom "You are logged in as" area shows only a blank between the brackets rather than the username of the person logged in.
    All of the features work as they always have with Moodle 3.9.3.
  • Thu, Nov 12, 2020, 10:41 PM
    After the update to 3.10 my moodle website theme turned all white ..even with the background pictures and colors defined... can someone help please? sad
  • Sat, Nov 14, 2020, 2:59 AM
    I am also having style-issues after updating. Background and header images do not load, content areas do not have correct shading. I would say it looks a lot like the stock boost theme, and there is little that can be don to fix it from within the theme settings. Hoping that this theme is still under active enough development that this issue will be addressed. Please let us know.
  • Sat, Nov 14, 2020, 3:30 AM
    Please update to the 3.10 version and then please change the Preset , then save settings. Then change the preset back to the one you want and save again. Clear all cache.
  • Sat, Nov 14, 2020, 3:38 AM
    ALSO, Change the SECTION STYLE CHOOSER to something other than Default Boost Layout. The theme defaults are meant to work only with the Perception Preset.
  • Sat, Nov 14, 2020, 3:43 AM
    @Chris Kenniburg, I'll have to make a sandbox version and try it out. Thanks for the reply.
  • Sat, Nov 14, 2020, 4:28 AM
    @Chris Kenniburg I've changed the preset to modern moodle and then back to perception, and I've changed the Section Style Chooser to Bold Notecard... Purged server caches, and cleared browser caches but still no background images and the homepage layout is left-aligned where it used to be centered. Any suggestions? Reports from other users as well?
  • Sat, Nov 14, 2020, 4:44 AM
    Sorry, it is the Layout Chooser. Switch that and purge cache. Must have the newly released version of Fordson.
  • Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 1:37 AM
    How can we remove/hide the button "All courses" that is on the bottom? (version 3.4)
  • Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 3:06 AM
    Hi Chris, I'm using moodle 3.10 with fordson 3.10. I can't change language in main icons (dashboard, calendar..) to spanish, all other text, menús and config are displayed in spanish, please help me.
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