To compute this list, we considered downloads and fans from the Moodle plugin directory, as well as our own page views. The “Boost” theme, the default look of Moodle since the previous December, was not up for consideration, but some of its many “children” did make it onto the list.
Without further ado, here are the Moodle themes that made it big this year:
#10: “Enlightlite” by LMSACE
Opening the list, “Enlightlite” is one of the reasons why reviewing Moodle developments is so gratifying. Built by a team of up-and-coming open learning consultants from India’s Tamil Nadu state, it proves good ideas can come from anywhere and the Moodleverse will be ready to embrace them. By answering their unique problems of a responsive theme with advance multilingual support that covers right-to-left languages (RTL), their solution proved to be helpful for more than 500 users worldwide.
#9: “Photo” by Damyion Wiese
A proof of concept that spontaneously spurred into an appealing choice, “Photo” benefits from a tutorial page on the Moodle Documentation where users can learn to make a “Boost” child theme and then compare their work with that of a Moodle HQ senior developer.
#8: “Campus” and “Essential” by Gareth J Barnard
The always-dependable work of Barnard could not be left out of this ranking. As he must know Moodle inside and out, his themes are a reflection of his skill and commitment to the Moodleverse and open learning, which have benefited users in every time zone. While “Essential” strives for a clean experience and “Campus” is more playful (intended for a middle school palate) both are responsive and highly customizable themes.
#7: “Adaptable” by 3b
Another iconic theme, and the most downloaded of all time, developers Fernando Acedo, Manoj Solanki, and “Jez H” did not rest on their laurels this year; the trio kept on adding new features. Most notably this year, the ability to customize using “Layout Builders” theme design by drag and drop. But this is only one of the dozens of feature to which it owes its popularity.
#6: “Handlebar” by Richard Oelmann
Another “Boost” child, this theme shines thanks to its advanced preset customization options, from extended menus to full support of the SCSS language to speeding up the coding of visual styling. But while it serves the needs of tinkering designers, no expertise is needed to enjoy some of “Handlebar’s” other features, like social media integration, pop-up pages, and custom block regions.
#5: Aosis’ Moodle Material Site / “LMS Showroom”
An interesting and elegant work from South Africa’s only Moodle Partner, the team has developed a “Moodle showroom” that not only gives users a taste of their design prowess, but their appreciation for modern web design standards, as is the case of Google’s Material Design principles.
#4: “RemUI” by EdWiser
As a premium theme, “RemUI” is not only its unique enhancements, including user profile pages, interactive scrolling, full-screen mode, and a grid-based course archive page, but also by its supportive team, ready to offer guidance and customization quickly. Many of the customer-requested features become part of the new features generally available, making this product by EdWiser another way to support Moodle development.
#3: “Boost Campus” by Kathrin Osswald and Alexander Bias
A theme designed for University case scenarios, and yet another child of “Boost,” “Boost Campus” is a conscious effort to avoid bloating whenever possible. University of Ulm’s Kathrin Osswald and Alexander Bias went the extra length to remove components from the frameworks used by the theme (mainly Bootstrap) to keep it light on its feet. It also brings new customization to admin pages, statistical dashboards, and even the new Course Overview.
#2: “Boost Training,” “Boost Learning,” and “Boost Magnific” by Eduardo Kraus
Another group of “Boost” children, this time from a Brazilian Moodler, these themes are a perfect example of how to take good ideas further. Some of the best outcomes of Kraus’ work include: Taking the left-side “NavBar,” where Moodle items can now be hidden, and adding compact icons, as well as adding another right-side collapsible bar to add the blocks and keep the Moodle Mobile layout.
#1: “Fordson” by Chris Kenniburg and the Dearborn Schools District
In large part thanks to “Boost” and the new navigability features in Moodle this year (which will only continue to be refined in 2018) 2017 was a great year for Moodle themes. Any one from this list, as well as the many others available in the Moodle Plugin Directory, will be able to give users and organizations a unique, customizable experience that conforms to modern web design standards.
But it is undeniable the level of quality, work, and attentiveness by the Dearborn Schools District IT team led by Chris Kenniburg, which over the year proved to be willing to test new ground, sometimes at the request of users in the Moodle Forum. The sheer number of features added to “Fordson” in the past 12 months is too large to list here, but the team has also made sure the documentation for the theme is extensive and simple. A final reason why the theme is the best example of what Moodle can be is the fact that many other volunteers, including developers from other themes in this list, deserve some credit in some of Fordson’s most remarkable features.
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