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100% section titles

Section titles are important for a user to get a good experience of a Moodle site. They are used in the contents menu of the site thus making them primary navigation tools. They are like the chapter names in a textbook. They are essential for giving an overview of the site and for finding content within it. This observation was evident from focus groups we carried out earlier this year.

Section titles are particularly important for us at Sussex because we would like all sections to be a page of their own and thus remove the scroll-of-death problem inherent in Moodle. But in order to do this, whilst ensuring our Moodle is still highly usable in all sites, we need 100% section titles.

However some sites at Sussex still have no section titles at all. The lack of section titles has largely resulted from tutors copying old sites which did not have section titles.

In order to get to a position where all sites use sections as self-contained pages we have altered our interface design to encourage tutors to input a title for their sections.

We have made it particularly obvious to tutors that they have a section which needs a title by re-naming the section “Untitled section“. “Untitled” is the term commonly used to alert users that they need to name something. For example, MS Word and Googledocs use “Untitled document” for unnamed documents.

We have coloured the text green. The colour is significant because we use green all over the site to signify an action is expected by a tutor. For example, all our action buttons are green.

Finally we have made the title mandatory when a user is creating a new section.

Students still see the name of the section as “section x”, where x is a number, so as not to further compound their experience of the site.

We have also made efforts to educate our staff about the importance of section titles. Training sessions emphasize the importance of meaningful section titles and we have a dedicated site for tutors offering practical tips which highlights section titles as an area for concern.