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.

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 Cody Frank
    Mon, 3 Jul 2017, 4:07 AM
    I have a question regarding the content header Logo section, is there an easy way to move it to the center instead of left i have tried a few methods in the code, but i can't seemt to find the right thing to add/change to make it center vs flush left.

    Thanks in advance.
  • Picture of Dennis Mix
    Sun, 30 Jul 2017, 8:24 PM
    We recently upgraded to 3.3.1 and in so doing the Fordson theme is no longer working. We had our server company take a look, and here is their reply, "I have investigated the cause for the problem and it appears that a part of the stylesheet data of the Fordson theme is missing which makes both the frontend and the backend of your application not being displayed properly."
    We love the theme and hope you are able to remedy the problem.
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Mon, 31 Jul 2017, 9:25 AM
    The stylesheet is processed using SCSS. This requires a bit more time. In the forums there are discussions on increasing the max execution time gives the server more time to process all the scss. All the stylesheets are complete. The server needs more time and/or memory to process it..
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Mon, 31 Jul 2017, 9:26 AM
    The stylesheet is processed using SCSS. This requires a bit more time. In the forums there are discussions on increasing the max execution time gives the server more time to process all the scss. All the stylesheets are complete. The server needs more time and/or memory to process it..
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Mon, 31 Jul 2017, 9:26 AM
    The stylesheet is processed using SCSS. This requires a bit more time. In the forums there are discussions on increasing the max execution time gives the server more time to process all the scss. All the stylesheets are complete. The server needs more time and/or memory to process it..
  • Picture of Jocelyn Chappaz
    Tue, 1 Aug 2017, 11:35 PM
    Hello. I'm using your theme on Moodle 3.3.1 and I just activate https on my website... but the theme doesn't load on https pages... if I use http to connect, the theme is loading fine... If I use https, it doesn't load at all.... any idea ?
  • 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
  • Picture of Dennis Mix
    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.
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