What's New in UR Courses

UR Courses was upgraded to Moodle 3.6 just prior to the Fall 2019 semester.

The upgrade to Moodle 3.6 on Friday, August 30 2019, required us to move all courses to more mobile-friendly and responsive themes.


The main changes to note with the new themes are highlighted in this short video, as well as further below:

The navigation column is now collapsed by default, making the content the main focus of each course page.

Clicking the menu icon in the top left corner of any page will open or close the navigation column.

Course Administration

All Course Administration functions have been moved from the navigation column to a menu now located at the top of each page. It will open by clicking on the cog icon.

All Activity/Resource Administration functions have been moved from the navigation column to a menu now located at the top of each page. It will open by clicking on the cogs icon.

Course Images

Courses are now associated with a unique, random image created as a course header and identifier.

Course Header Style

You can also upload a background image and choose between a square or background image header style.

Please note that on small screens such as mobile devices the background header style is always used.

Avoid using images that contain text for the course image as it will be covered with the course title on small screens.

Dark Mode

Dark mode is now available in the new UR Courses theme. It can be switched on and off via the user menu.


A new Templates feature has been added that allows instructors to insert pre-defined content and formatting into your course content. If you have any suggestions for additional templates, please let us know!

New Course Blocks

A new Library Search block has been added that provides an interface to search the Library from right within your course.

A new Writing Help block has been added that can be used to promote writing help for students, available both online and on campus.

Improved course overview

Sort, star, hide and display courses more efficiently thanks to the welcome Course overview improvements on your dashboard.

New dashboard blocks

Keep up to date with the Timeline block, the Starred courses block, the Recently accessed courses block and the Recently accessed items block, all available for the dashboard.

A new, simple global search feature is now available. It enables you to perform a search against all course content you have access to.

Course Email improvements

An improved course email interface includes split pane viewing, a new BCC field, and more.

Messaging interface improvements

Messaging enhancements bring greater control over who can message you, along with the ability to star messages and engage in group messaging, (if groups have been created within the course).

Note: To prevent others from using messaging to contact you, under the User menu, navigate to Preferences > Message Preferences and ensure My contacts only is selected.

Quiz improvements

The Drag and drop markers question type is easier to edit, and thanks to the Moodle Users Association, the Quiz statistics report has improved usability.

Quiz essay questions

Specify accepted file types for the Quiz essay question type and upload files when grading them.

Filter questions by tag

This Moodle Users Association funded project means tags may be added and filtered directly in the Question bank and when adding random questions.

Choice results display

You can now know in advance how the Choice results will display, anonymously or otherwise.

Record assignment feedback

Media and other file uploads are now permitted when grading assignments, meaning instructors can record their feedback and/or include supporting images or other files.

Directly record audio and video

Buttons in the Atto editor now enable you to make quick recordings directly into Moodle.

Open Forum

The Open Forum module was designed to increase engagement and provide a modern alternative to the standard Moodle forums, (which are still available).

Open Forums contain a number of additional features including a setting to show recent forum posts on the course page, private replies, anonymous posting, post bookmarking, and more, along with all the features standard Moodle forums have.

Embed Quiz Questions Filter

A new filter and Atto plugin allow questions from the question bank to be embedded anywhere that instructors can input HTML. It can be used as a way to make learning materials more interactive. With the filter enabled, you can embed quiz questions in a Book, Page, or even a Label.

Quiz Live Report

The Quiz Live Report module allows instructors to see, in real time, the responses from students as they are completing questions in a quiz. As students change their answers or submit more answers, the spreadsheet is refreshed. Students names can be hidden when displaying the report . If desired, the grades that each response would be given can be shown as the background color in the cells of the spreadsheet, but this action is unrelated to the grading of the quiz.

H5P updates

H5P continues to evolve and innovate by adding new features and activity types to their library. For a full list of the available activities, please refer to the H5P examples page.

H5P activities now have unique icons based on the activity type, making them more visually distinctive when listed on the course main page.

For more information, please refer to our page on working with H5P interactive content.

Atto HTML editor

The Atto HTML editor was specifically built for Moodle and has been available since Moodle 2.7. Due to the increased benefits of using this editor, it has now become the default editor in UR Courses, as it is in Moodle.

If you wish to continue to use the TinyMCE editor, you can enable it again by going to the Preferences page from within the user menu (top right), and then select Editor preferences.

While we've tried our best to make everything better, things can always be improved. If you have any concerns or feedback regarding the new themes we'd love to hear from you.

Additional UR Courses manuals and guides are available on the Technology Learning Centre website.

For more detailed information from Moodle regarding this upgrade, please refer to the release notes for Moodle 3.6 and earlier, or see the highlights from Moodle 3.5, and Moodle 3.6.

UR Courses was previously upgraded from Moodle 3.4.4 to Moodle 3.4.6 for the Spring/Summer 2019 semester.