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

  • New: Customize how Add Activities and Resources is presented to teachers in courses.  You can now limit what is available to teachers, add a "Most Used" list of activities, and control the ordering of items teachers can add to courses.  You can even limit activities for teachers but allow Managers to see everything.  Site Admin will always see all activities and resources.
  • Minimal design
  • Single pane of focus for learning materials and blocks
  • Customizable navigation: Nav Drawer, My Courses, Homepage Icon Bar
  • Brand new folding course navigation for teachers and students.  This makes managing courses easier.  
  • 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
  • Choose from 3 unique styles for displaying course tiles.\

Theme Presets
Default Theme Preset

Default Preset

The Default Preset uses a course image at the very top of the page.  This image is uploaded by the teacher in course summary files. The height of the image at the top of the page can be adjusted in the Content Page of the theme.

Recommended Theme Settings

Learning Content Spacing = 150px 
This is the padding at the top of the page to where the main course content appears.

Content Padding = 2rem (minimum) or 6rem(default)
This controls the spacing on the left and right of the main content.  

Default Fullscreen Background Preset Default Fullscreen BKG
This is the same as the default preset except we use the image as a fullscreen, fixed background.  Each course can have their own identifying image.  Likewise, Site admin can turn this off and make one image used throughout the site. 

Recommended Theme Settings

Use the settings recommended during install.
eLearner Preset eLearner Preset
This theme uses a fullscreen image as the background just as the default preset.  Each course can have their own image.  There is a transparent border around the main content.

Recommended Theme Settings

Use the settings recommended during install.
Corporate Learner Preset Corporate Learner
This preset uses a solid background color and eliminates the background image.  Each course will use a custom image to identify it in course searches. This theme mainly utilizes two colors:  Brand Primary and Body Background.  Most elements of the style are based off these two colors.  It's designed to be easy to change the look by switching these two colors.  

Recommended Theme Settings
Brand Primary Color = Changing this will change most elements of the design.  
Body Background Colour = Background of the pages.

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.

Help and Support Questions

Please leverage the support of the entire Moodle community and utilize the theme forum.  Request for support will not be responded to here on the plugin page.  The theme forum allow for back and forth troubleshooting which cannot occur here.

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
    Tue, 1 Aug 2017, 11:48 PM
    While you might think that this is a theme issue, it may very well be a moodle and server configuration issue. For expert advice and help I would Highly recommend that this and other posts seeking help be put in the theme forum at The comments section of plugins is not the best way to get help. Chances are this will be a back and forth issue where we are going to need to confirm you have made the proper changes to the server.
    Please make a new discussion post in the theme forum.
  • Picture of Jocelyn Chappaz
    Wed, 2 Aug 2017, 9:01 PM
    Hi Chris, just did. Thanks.
  • Picture of esteban sadas
    Wed, 2 Aug 2017, 9:32 PM
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Thu, 3 Aug 2017, 12:22 AM
    Esteban, Creating this theme (as well as Evolve-D and Pioneer) is part of my employment. While not a mandate or job duty, it grew out of some needs we saw and an early implementation using evolve-D theme. Us sharing Fordson here on Moodle is just us trying to be involved and help the community. There has been plenty of code we borrowed to better enhance the theme and user experience so we wanted to make sure others could see and use what we built. I uploaded my first version in December. It was based off the awesome work of Richard Oelmann (Handlebar theme). It's been about a year.
  • Picture of bobby demers
    Tue, 8 Aug 2017, 11:42 PM
    I've Just rolled out the Fordson Theme on our Moodle and our admin staff seems to have some issues they've found with it.

    1) We use a local plugin called Login as, that allows Admin to log in as other staff or students (sooo helpful to correct or view issues people are having). Previously, it was in the Administration Block, directly underneath the Site Administration link. Now it seems to have disappeared and is not visible either in the Course Management section or in the links at the top of the browser window where Site Administration is showing up. Any idea where this might have gone?

    2) In our previous theme (Adaptable), we could dock Blocks on the LH side of the screen in tabs, but this option appears to not be part of the Fordson setup. Can this be added in at some point?

    3) The Blocks are now on the RH side of our Moodle page and we'd prefer them to be on the LH side. Will there be an option to control what side they are on in an upcoming update?

    4) I've updated the Navigation Drawer links in the Menu settings page, but when I click on the link it's still sending me back to the previous Moodle page and not the updated one for 2017/18. Any idea why that might be?
    I even deleted ALL of the custom navbar links and they're still showing up!! It's as if Fordson is referencing a different or previous Theme to get these links....

    Overall they love the new look and feel of it though smile


    Thanks smile

    bobby demers
  • Newport Beach California!
    Thu, 10 Aug 2017, 9:13 AM
    Set max_execution_time = 120
    memory_limit = 512M
    Still no luck getting the theme to load.
  • Picture of Huw Smith
    Thu, 10 Aug 2017, 7:14 PM
    When uploading a file to restore a course via drag and drop there is no progress bar so users are clicking on the restore button before the file has completed uploading.
    The only way to tell the file has finished uploading is that the .mbz appears at the end of the file name and it is underlined.

    Is it possible to display a progress bar?
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Sun, 13 Aug 2017, 2:58 AM
    Help and support questions should be placed in the theme forum. I will not respond to any posts placed here as this is not conducive to back and forth troubleshooting.
  • Picture of Rama Bektep
    Tue, 15 Aug 2017, 1:43 PM
    Hi. I'm using Moodle 3.2 Fordson V 1.4.6. On the front page (top right) "Customize this page" button is almost invisible (only the lower part of the button without inscription is visible). How can I move a little bit down this button? Thanks in advance.
  • Picture of lê hà
    Sun, 3 Sep 2017, 4:40 PM
    Hi, does anyone know how to expand the text box on both sides? I mean to reduce the red-marking space. I use Themes Fordson. Thank you very much!
  • Picture of David Heuring
    Mon, 4 Sep 2017, 4:45 PM
    Hi, installed Fordson 1.5.7 on Moodle 3.3.1 with LAMP stack - Ubuntu 16.04, but I'm not getting the theme to render any images. All that shows are the links. I cleared theme cache, also browser cache. No difference. Although this is a development site, it is SSL encrypted so I'm assuming that is the reason it won't display anything except the links but not sure what else to do. Any suggestions? Would really like to give Fordson a try to decide if I will use it on the production site.

  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Wed, 6 Sep 2017, 2:52 AM
    Help and support questions should be placed in the theme forum. I will not respond to any posts placed here as this is not conducive to back and forth troubleshooting.
  • Picture of remon saweris
    Mon, 11 Sep 2017, 7:36 PM
    Is it available to make the block hide as in Moove theme
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Tue, 12 Sep 2017, 9:56 PM
    Remon, Is that a direction people would like to go? While it is neat to show and hide blocks do you think it benefits the learner?
  • Picture of remon saweris
    Tue, 12 Sep 2017, 11:07 PM
    Dear Chris it is just some time we need the full width page and if there's option to minimise the block it will be nice
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