Themes: Fordson

Maintained by Picture of Chris Kenniburg Chris Kenniburg
Fordson 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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Beautiful Design, Organization Branding, & Marketing

Fordson extends the core Boost theme to provide (currently) 9 unique style presets, customized color choosers, enhanced user interactions, improved navigation, and branding opportunities within the theme.  Style presets allow you to change the layout and look of your site by simply choosing a new preset. Depending on your needs, Fordson delivers a variety of style presets from bland to grand! Once you choose the right preset you can continue to customize your site with color choosers, logos, social media links, and other organization branding features.  We realize in addition to learning there also needs to be a method to communicate and market, so we also provide areas within the layout that accomplish this in a way that minimizes distractions.

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. 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.

style presets

Nine unique styles and plenty of customization

9 preset styles plus the ability to upload your own. Color choosers galore! Custom content areas, icons, padding and spacing adjustments, custom images, branded footer area, social icon links, slideshow, marketing tiles, and much more!

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 Eric Breton
    Wed, 21 Feb 2018, 11:07 PM

    we are experiencing errors using the latest Fordson theme. We would like to know if we are alone in this situation ?

    The errors happens each time we change a setting in Fordson, and we save it. We then get this kind of error message :

    Exception : syntax error, unexpected ''
    line 2051 of /data9012/moodle34test-data/localcache/mustache/1519132157/fordson/__Mustache_a670da756bcf8a6066bf921ff9609fac.php: ParseError thrown

    What is strange is each time, is that the "unexpected character" is never the same !

    Also, another important point, despite the error message, the modification in Fordson is saved !

    Do you have any advice on the troubleshooting of this ?
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Thu, 22 Feb 2018, 12:41 AM
    I've not gotten any error messages like this in our setup. My initial thought is that maybe you entered a strange character into one of the input fields. Did you try opening up the file to see line 2051? Is this a write/permission issue with cache?
  • Picture of Eric Breton
    Thu, 22 Feb 2018, 3:51 AM
    Hi Chris, first of all, I woule like to thank you for taking the time to answer me, this is greatly appreciated. I inspected the php file, and the line 2501 is the very end of the file. So, it's like if the parsing of all the command lines generates this error, like if an IF or some kind of a loop did not close properly.

    If it helps, I would like to mention that our version of Mustache is 2.3.0.

    Thank you,
  • Picture of Polaris Lee
    Thu, 22 Feb 2018, 8:26 AM
    I do not think this is a fordson theme issue. I will delete the above information.
  • Picture of David Heuring
    Sat, 24 Feb 2018, 10:56 AM
    Hi Chris,

    I thought my problem reported above was fixed by increasing php memory and execution on the server, but evidently not so. What I didn't realize at the time is that I had turned on "Theme designer mode" in the theme settings, so everything seemed to be working fine (but slowly) while I was configuring Fordson. But then when I turned if off, the same thing happened where none of the images or css shows, just a string of text. So, is this related to the way my cache works with this theme? I purged it on Moodle and my browser, but that didn't make any difference. It must have something to do with the way Boost serves the css, because the same thing happens when I try to use the Boost theme. Any suggestions would be much appreciated since I obviously can't run the site in designer mode. LAMP stack with Ubuntu 16.04; Moodle 3.4.; Fordson 1.7

  • Picture of David Heuring
    Sat, 24 Feb 2018, 11:17 AM
    Me again. I just searched the forums, per your previous suggestion, and found that this issue is related to the Boost theme so please disregard my plea for help. I will re-post the issue on the Boost discussion thread. Sorry for posting before doing a search!
  • Picture of Marvin The Martian
    Wed, 14 Mar 2018, 11:50 PM
    Any way to remove the breadcrumb feature?
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Thu, 15 Mar 2018, 12:23 AM
    Just us CSS to hide the breadcrumbs.
    .breadcrumb-nav {display: none;}
  • Picture of Marvin The Martian
    Thu, 15 Mar 2018, 2:24 AM
    Awesome Chris! Thanks!
  • Picture of Patrick Liersch
    Thu, 15 Mar 2018, 5:29 PM
    Nice Theme.
    But why is that not possible to use this Theme on a themedir Directory - that is only usable on a moodle/theme Directory.
    I hope this will be fixed in near future...
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Thu, 15 Mar 2018, 7:46 PM
    Patrick, I am not following you. The theme works perfectly well when installed properly.
  • Picture of Patrick Liersch
    Mon, 19 Mar 2018, 8:35 PM
    And the Themes works not perfectly. We use a special Moodle Theme Directory for our 400 Moodle Installations - All Themes works (clean, more, boost...) but not Fordson.
    Ok i can write my own patch - but this is not my goal. Few Information about the Theme Directory Specifications:
    My last error at the moment... Attempt to require a JavaScript file that does not exist. (Scrolltotop.js) will not include with my path information.
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Wed, 21 Mar 2018, 8:17 PM
    The javascript is inserted here: Beyond that I am not sure how to help. You will want to look at all the layout files as it will be on the other pages as well.
  • Picture of Chris Chapman
    Thu, 12 Apr 2018, 10:05 PM
    Hi Chris, been trying to mimic the the course screenshot you have in your documentation with the turn editing on button, floating course title, breadcrumb over the header image and also wanted to move the hamburger back to the far left.... but cant see how to do this, any pointers? guessing this is a prev version and its been upgraded... but I really liked it!
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Thu, 12 Apr 2018, 10:13 PM
    Chris, It might be that I am using a different Preset than the default. Have you tried Fordson's various presets? There are like 7 unique styles and each one might change the layout slightly. Change them in the drop-down on the Fordson Settings page. With that said, it could be that the video you are watching is from a very early version of Fordson. We've refined and changed the design along the way as our teachers gave us feedback. Without seeing the photo I am just grasping at straws.
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