Email digest type

If you are subscribed to many forums on moodle.org as i do, you might have encountered problem of your email address been spammed with a lot of new posts. How to solve it without tossing your email address out?

Maybe you overlooked one tiny setting in your profile, with label Email digest type.
As you can see, there are 3 possible options:

  1. No digest - you will become all new posts from your subscribed forum, that means a lot of emails sometimes ;)
  2. Complete - you will become one email, with all content of new posts, this can be very long
  3. Subjects - you will become one mail only with topics and authors of new posts

I prefer third options, it seems most informational and still comprehensive for me.

You might find, you cannot see Email digest type label with select menu at all in your profile. Please notice, that this setting is set up as Advanced. So press Show advanced button to see it.

With this post you will be never again spammed by ;)


Change language strings in Moodle

Moodle is widely known and used in many countries around the globe. You can run moodle in over a 70 languages (English - of course ;-), German, French, but also Japanese or Hindi.). You can find full list of languages here

We call these language packages language packs (or langpacks in short). They are consisting of php files with lines:
define['somedefinition'] = "What the definition means, in selected language"
You can change the right sides of these lines to change literal meanings of definitions on the left sides.

Language variables are separated into different files for better navigation, mostly with names of modules/blocks they belong to. General strings are found in moodle.php file

Let say, we want to change label Course categories that is on the Front page to something different. Like Lesson categories for example.

Here is step by step approach.

  1. Login as administrator
  2. Go to Site Administration block
  3. Choose Language link
  4. Choose Language editing
  5. Select language pack you want to edit (if you have more than one installed)
  6. Choose Edit words or phrases
  7. Select file to edit (moodle.php in our case)
  8. Find there a "Course categories" string (with CTRL+F)
  9. Change the meaning of the definition to "Lesson categories"
  10. You will find Save changes button at the bottom on the page

Problems you may run into:
Definition meanings are not writable
Solution: Your server (apache user) don't have needed rights for write in language directory. Change permissions (chmod or set it in gui).

Better Solution: Let Moodle create your "local" directory with yours changed strings. In this case you will not loose your edits next time you will be updating. (In Moodle 1.9 it is not possible to change original language packs with administration gui, only create local directory)

You can find button needed for creating local directory on Edit words or phrases page.

I don't know what file to edit
Solution: Use some IDE that can search through directories and files in. I am using free PSPad It's very helpful for programming and creating Moodle customs and it's is really user friendly.

And as usually you can find small video (1:07, 1.4MB) with higher mentioned process HERE


Front page settings

Moodle has various setting when, where and what to display on its Front page, this article will describe basic settings. After this article you will be able to create same great pages full of informations as moodle.org is using ;-).

You have various setting for content part (middle) of front page. You can access them all on page
(Site) Administration >> Front page >> Front page settings

You can fill there full name and shortname of your site. If you are using standart themes included in moodle, full name would be seen as heading in left top corner. Shortname is used in breadcrumb navigation.

Site description can be displayed on Front page when you add block Site description.

Next you have the ability to choose what you will show based on log in status of your users. You can choose between not logged users (guests) and logged users.

For both kind of users you have 4 types of what to show.

  1. News item
  2. List of courses
  3. List of categories
  4. Combo list
Or show nothing, of course ;-).

News item
This will show content of Site News forum. You can also set how many news you want to show with setting News items to show lower on the Front Page settings page.

List of courses
Displays list of courses in that user is enrolled into OR if user is not enrolled into any course (or user is not logged in) it shows all available courses.

List of categories
This displays categories your moodle consists of. Hidden categories aren't displaying for users who don't have needed rights of course.

Combo list
This will display categories with courses included AND search form for course search.

Hang on, there are only a few settings left.

Very important and setting this post was about before it had grown to current proportions ;-) is Include a topic section

This setting will add you place on the top of your front page you can create labels in add Resources, or Activities that everybody can see or participate.
You can create a fairly complicated content with built-in html editor so here is sky the limit ;-).

Just in this section is created main content of moodle.org front page, these Welcome to Moodle and Moodle community parts are written in html editor and you can do just the same! :-D

Last two settings are Courses per page and Allow visible courses in hidden categories.

On number set in Courses per page depends how many courses will moodle display on one page, larger count will be paginated.

And Allow visible courses in hidden categories does just right that what is saying, because on default, when you will hide category, you will hide courses and even if you will show the courses manually as a side effect this courses won't be accessible for students.

This blogpost should give you a basic overview of the settings for the Front page, just try play with these to gain behavior you need. If you will have questions about Front page layout, use comments please.