Themes: Fordson

Maintained by Picture of Chris Kenniburg Chris Kenniburg
Fordson | A child theme of Boost provides a specialized enhanced homepage, multiple style presets, innovative user dashboards in courses, and other features that are focused on providing a better user experience. Try out Fordson and show some love by clicking "favourite" ( ♥ ) !
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About Fordson

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.  Fordson provides many functional enhancements to the homepage and navigation of Moodle in theme administration area.  Customization, unique style presets, and a variety of useful tools built into Fordson makes it ideal for K-12 education, colleges, and businesses.

Instructions and Overview of Settings

Check out the latest documentation and information on Fordson settings and presets:
View Fordson Documentation

Introducing our newest preset: Dearborn Public Schools

Our newest namesake preset is something we were working on for our own site and is now part of the Fordson 1.6.0 theme.  Sleek, stylish, and built to appeal to K-12 and beyond.  This preset goes full-width with content, only uses custom course images on the main course page, and has unique styling touches throughout.  Be sure to checkout the Fordson Documentation for the best theme settings for each of the presets.

Version 1.6.4 New Feature:  Frontpage My Courses sort by Last Access

You can now sort frontpage My Courses by the last access for a more personalized experience.  The most recently accessed courses will be displayed first in the list. Watch the video below.

Course Management dashboard.  Expand and collapse the menu

Course Management Panel

This panel appears for teachers so that they can manage the course.  This is a replacement for the links commonly found in Course Administration block.  We took those links and grouped them so that they are logically displayed and a teacher can see everything at a glance.

Student Dashboard

Student Dashboard

Students can quickly access important course information in the "This Course" dashboard.  It contains a course description, teacher contacts, grades, course completion status, and activity links. 

Custom Login Page for Fordson

Custom Login Page

Create a custom login page to market your site and provide information to students.  In order to activate the custom login page you must force users to login.  To customize the page you can find all the settings and information on the Fordson Administration page under Appearance > Themes > Fordson > Custom Login Page.  Add text, upload photos, choose icons and more can all be customized right from the theme admin pages.   

Custom Homepage

Fordson supports a slideshow, custom Icon Navigation buttons, Marketing tiles, custom text boxes, alerts, and more. Install the optional "Easy Enrollment" plugin and you can enroll students to any course directly from the homepage using a 6 digit code(Auto-generated) or a QR Code (Auto-generated).     The auto generated enrollment codes are displayed on the course page for teachers.  There is a button at the top of the page. 

Topic progress bar

Course Topic Progress Report

Utilize course completion in a course and set the display options to "Show one topic per page" and Fordson will show a progress bar based on the topic completion status.    

Customize Activities and Resources

Want to showcase most used or top activities?  Fordson makes it easy!  Not only can you create a special list of activities you can also control the ordering and even hide activities from teachers. Managers and Site Admins can see all activities.     

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.   

K-12 Preset

7 Style Presets 

Style presets allow you to instantly change the look and feel of your Moodle site.  We have a preset for corporate users, K-12, University, e-Learning, and our default universal preset.  Be sure to checkout our documentation which recommends theme settings for each preset. Fordson Documentation

Clean, Simple, Efficient

  • Customizable navigation: Nav Drawer, My Courses, Homepage Icon Bar, Add Activities & Resources panel, Teacher and Student Course Dashboards can all be customized in Fordson
  • Customized Homepage that has creative features when needed but can be used to create a minimal, focused, and distraction free homepage
  • Out of the box a clean, refined, and stylish appearance with minimal configuration
  • Built for all screen sizes
  • Seven Preset Styles that instantly change the look and feel of the site.  Continue to enhance the look of your site by changing colors, adding logos and images, slideshows, and custom textboxes
  • Easy Enrollment plugin integration takes students from the homepage to learning with course enrollment codes.  

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.

Theme Notes and Information

  1. View the latest documentation explaining the best settings for each preset:  Fordson Documentation and Information
  2. 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. Appearance > Navigation > Default Site Homepage.
  3. 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.
  4. VERSION 1.6.1 PRESETS - In this release we changed our default preset to be Dearborn Public Schools. We renamed the previously named default presets to:
    1. default.scss  =  K-12.scss
    2. default_x   =  K-12 Vertical Block TItle
    3. default fullscreen header image  =  K-12 Fullscreen Header Image

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 Polaris Lee
    Mon, 4 Dec 2017, 9:34 PM
    Dear Chris, thank you.
    You are right.
    I think it is wrong to do a DB repair a while ago.
    The same symptom appears in all themes based on boost themes.
    Huh ~ I am worried about how to restore it.
    Anyway, I will leave the screenshot on the link above.
    Thank you for your quick and kind answer.
  • Picture of xiaofeng liaol
    Mon, 4 Dec 2017, 11:36 PM
    Dear Chris, thank you. Another question is, where can I set the home page to show the number of courses in a row 4 courses, the current default is three.
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Tue, 5 Dec 2017, 1:55 AM
    My Courses on homepage will display 4 course tiles. Available courses will show 3 course tiles. In order to change this you must be able to change the code for Fordson because there is no setting for this. Also, this is best answered in the forums since it is complex and requires several steps which is no good here.
  • Picture of xiaofeng liaol
    Tue, 5 Dec 2017, 3:48 PM
    Chris.Thank you for your reply,Hoping to see that you can provide convenient setup features in the theme.
  • Picture of Bas Harkink
    Thu, 21 Dec 2017, 4:51 PM
    Hello Chris,

    Is there any way to make the social icons show on all pages (after login)? They seem to be hidden when I arrive in a coursepage.

  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Fri, 22 Dec 2017, 10:53 AM
    Bas, it was intentional to leave the icons and social links out of course pages. Once in a course it is to focus on the learning. That additional information is distracting for students. You could copy the page footer code from the frontpage.mustache file to the columns2.mustache file and they should appear. We will not be doing so for the reason mentioned above.
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Fri, 22 Dec 2017, 10:53 AM
    Bas, it was intentional to leave the icons and social links out of course pages. Once in a course it is to focus on the learning. That additional information is distracting for students. You could copy the page footer code from the frontpage.mustache file to the columns2.mustache file and they should appear. We will not be doing so for the reason mentioned above.
  • Picture of xiaofeng liaol
    Mon, 25 Dec 2017, 12:29 PM
    Hi, we encountered in the use of fordson theme, run in the chrome browser, including the cover page of the page browsing will not smooth, and there is a delay. Other browsers did not see this problem.
  • Picture of Christopher McCool
    Fri, 19 Jan 2018, 7:42 AM
    Chris, I hate to be one of those who ask for additional feature requests regularly, but I had a few suggestions that I think are worthwhile thinking about towards next release.

    Book Activity modification: Table of Contents should be a drawer/pop-in/out menu. I think most users have acclimated to e-readers/ebooks and clicking a hamburger icon (or some other one) to get the Table of Contents menus. This also helps with fixed layout ebook formats, too, if you have an image width a bit wider than the middle column it scrolls behind the TOC menu instead of re-sizing.

    Frontpage My Courses - add a Blocks region below the Dashboard/Calendar/Badges/All Courses/Create a Course tile or below "Site Announcements". I am not a particular fan of Blocks, but until new Moodle has a better method for injecting HTML snippets for Twitter feeds, Word of the Day scripts from dictionary type websites, Quote of the Day code, etc. I'm finding that although Moodle is moving away from Blocks, the Bootstrap themes haven't caught up with some of their offerings/functions, especially HTML snippets and Activity connected blocks. At least as far as the Frontpage goes, it seems there should be additional options for where blocks can be located.

    As a designer, website content manager, curriculum developer, audio recorder, video and photography professional, it's frustrating that I can't simply implement designs I have for myself a lot of times...but I simply wear too many hats in my current position to focus on learning additional scripting and languages...

    As always, I wanted to say thank you for your amazing theme and for sharing it. I can say that we have not found another theme that accomplishes what Fordson does nearly as well. Nor do many of these other themes have solid continuous development and sound replies regarding framework and intent behind their design. I'm a big fan of having a framework that guides development processes.
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Fri, 19 Jan 2018, 9:58 PM
    Hello Christopher,
    Book Activity- Seems like a personal preference but I think you are on to something. If Moodle was to make the Book module work more like an actual ebook creator/reader then it would be that much more powerful. It would be an awesome OER tool. If the Book module was also available to students to help build/write a book then it would be that much more powerful of a tool. With Moodle's built in LTI support you could easily share these resources. I think currently this is beyond the scope and focus of our theme.

    Block Region - Now this is a great suggestion. I think some sort of frontpage ability to drop in blocks would be nice. Maybe a three column layout. Very basic so that you can customize things a bit more on the frontpage if needed. I like the option but I feel that we would not use it as we have a very minimal and focused homepage.

    I come from a video production background too. My first editor was an RM-440 in the 90's. I still have a love for editing and making short videos.

    I will see what I can do.
  • Picture of Bas Harkink
    Tue, 23 Jan 2018, 10:08 PM
    Hello Chris,

    We recently updated some of the Fordson themes to the newest release (Moodle 3.4 Fordson v1.6.6 (2017122000) in a Moodle 3.4 enviroment.

    Now the presets that we were using do not seem to be working anymore. When we select a preset, all css seems to break. I’ve seen that happening before when the css file contains an error or faulty code. In this case we are now having this problem with presets that work fine in lower versions.

    Do you have any suggestions how to handle this?

    Best, Bas
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Tue, 23 Jan 2018, 10:11 PM
    Go to the Fordson admin page under Appearance. Select a preset from the drop down on the main page. Clear/Purge all Moodle cache. That should fix it.
  • Picture of Dylan Lee
    Wed, 24 Jan 2018, 4:15 AM
    Dear Chris,
    Would this theme work for Moodle 3.1.10 version? If it does, which version of this theme should I apply?
    Thank you!
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Wed, 24 Jan 2018, 4:23 AM
    I'd recommend you update to Moodle 3.4 and enjoy the latest features. That is where we are developing for right now. Unfortunately you must be on Moodle 3.2 to begin using Fordson. To get the latest and greatest features you should be on Moodle 3.4. Not all features are available in previous versions of our theme.
  • Picture of Dylan Lee
    Wed, 24 Jan 2018, 6:51 AM
    Dear Chris,
    Thank you for your prompt response! I've just upgrade to the lastest version to try this theme. Thank you for your work! smile
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