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Customising your course page with blocks

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For: StaffApplication: Design and Build , QMplusTagged: blocks , getting started

Blocks enable you to customise your course. They include organisational tools such as the calendar or communication tools such as the latest news or Quickmail blocks. Some blocks are visible to your students, some provide functionality that is only available to teachers or administrators.

What a block is

Blocks enable you to add a wide range of different functions to your course page. Some blocks are visible to your students, some provide functionality only available to teachers and administrators.

From left to right:

  • Calendar – the calendar block allows you to display QM events, course events, group events and the user’s personal events.
  • RSS Feed – the RSS feed block allows you to pull in content from external websites. In this case news stories from the business section of the BBC website are being displayed. This block is visible to students.
  • Quickmail – allows you to send emails to the students on your course. This block cannot be seen by students.

Adding a Block to your course page

  1. TURN EDITING ON (via the slider in the top right of your screen).
  2. Click on the ADD A BLOCK dropdown menu and select one of the available blocks. In this example I have selected Remote RSS Feeds.

Some blocks, such as the ‘RSS Feeds’, require some configuration. Others, such as the ‘QuickMail’ block are activated as soon as they are added.

Repositioning and editing your blocks


In editing mode, small icons appear below the block’s heading. The cross arrow allows you to reposition the block by dragging and dropping it. The cog icon provides access to a menu which allows you to configure, delete, show or hide your block.

Some blocks can only be added to a course area once and will disappear from the add a block menu after they have been added. Other blocks can be added more than once.

Tips for using blocks

Although blocks can be useful, there are a lot to choose from. Don’t be tempted to overload your course area with blocks which are visible to the students. Think about which ones you think will be of most use to your students.

Did this answer your query? If not, you can raise a ticket on the online Helpdesk or email: its-helpdesk@qmul.ac.uk . Alternatively you can also request a particular guide or highlight an error in this guide using our guides request tracker.

Produced by the the E-Learning Unit at Queen Mary University of London.
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