Alleviating the Moodle “Scroll of Death”

Since Moodle began, navigation has been plagued with what became known as the “Scroll of Death”. In Moodle 2.x, there are additional navigational menus that result in a Menu “Scroll of death”. What follows is one of he more simple ways to manage this problem.

Summary: Use the course menu plugin to solve the problem of section to section navigation (combined with the one section per page format) and the Awesome bar to provide nice vertical menus to replace the long vertical menus of out of the box Moodle.

Overview: what’s the problem?

Course design in a nutshell: the basic unit of content is the Section. Courses have sections.  A Moodle course comes with empty sections.  You fill up a section with items chosen off the activity chooser.

Out of the Box Moodle provides two Course formats to view sections:

  1. One per page
  2. All sections on one page.

However, if you use the built in navigation menu to navigate section to section this can be quite daunting, and the menus can be very long. There is a drop down, inconveniently located at the bottom of the section, where again scrolling is needed to get to it.

There are two plugins that can help.

Course menu

This provides a block with section to section navigation. When located in a sensible position (like top left) it provides intuitive navigation around a course.

Course Menu

Awesome Bar

This relocates the Moodle navigation menus, usually in long vertical menus, into dropdowns at the top.  The result: much less scrolling, quick to access.

There are several themes that use this.  Here is an example of awesome bar in the Decaf theme:

Awesome Bar

Below, the drop down menus in action.  Each of the menus replicates the structue of the menus in Moodle. This is good, since much less relearning is needed.  Things can only improve.

Awesome Bar Dropdown

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Course menu plugin: moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=block_course_menu  This is a stable, well maintained plugin that probably will be updated  this week for Moodle 2.6.  (Mid Dec 2013)

Awesome Bar.  This has to be deployed as part of a theme.  Two themes with the Awesome Bar:

  1. Decaf (The original, coded by Lei Zhang, now maintained by Paul Nichols) moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=theme_decaf
  2. Krystal: moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=theme_krystle

Summary

We have found huge efficiency gains with these options.

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