Alternate Moodle Layout — Restricted Reverse Chronological

Jason Hogan
Published in
4 min readNov 24, 2020


You might be planning your course: what readings to use, how to assess the students, and how you will communicate with your students. But you might want to give a moment’s thought to how you layout your Moodle course

Generally when a course gets set up you will put your course in a descending chronological order starting with your earliest material at the top, and the later material at the bottom. One thing this means is that you and your students will scroll more and more as you run the course, but there are options. One of the options I want to highlight is the Restricted Reverse Chronological course set up.

By ordering a course with a reverse chronological order, you can lessen the scroll for your students and pace the materials.

Instead of doing your material from first to last, instead to the reverse and start with your final materials at the top and put the starting material at the bottom.

The next step is to hide or use restrict access on the sections so that the future material is hidden from students.

Manually Hiding Course Sections
You can manually hide the course sections, this will let you toggle when students will be able to access the section. You can turn editing on and press Edit to open the option menu and select “Hide Section”. The only issue is that you will have to manually open each section as you want students to access it.

Automatically Opening Course Sections
Instead of manually hiding the course sections, using Restrict access to make things available will have Moodle take care of the opening of the course section for you. So you could have your Week 2 become available at 12:05 am January 11th without having to be awake in the middle of the night.

To set a restrict access setting for the section have Editing Turned On and press Edit for the section and choose Edit Section:

In the section options, go to the Restrict access section and press Add restriction…

Then press the Date button

The next step is to set the date you want students to be able to access the materials in the course. Also be aware that here Moodle is going to use the 24 hr clock

There’s one more step, and that’s to click on the Eye icon to the left of the restriction to put a / through it. This is the “hidden otherwise” control and it will make the section invisible to students until the date you’ve set:

Once that is set, your students will have the most recent section at the top of the Moodle course page and the rest of the sections will descend chronologically.

One con here is that it is just for the student’s benefit. You as the instructor can see the restricted sections but will have have to scroll through the course page through them. But a set up like this should help cut down on questions about locating current assignment drop-boxes or quizzes.

Restrict access is a powerful tool for Moodle and there is a lot of possibilities to do something unique. If you have any questions about using Moodle or restrict access please reach out to us in the E-Learning Office