Sunday, 2 April 2023, 12:40 AM
Site: Flinders Learning Online
Topic: FLO Staff Support (FLO_Staff_Support)
Glossary: How-to glossary

Blocks – add a Clock block

1. Plan  |  2. Build  ||  Support 

The Clock block displays the time in both Adelaide and the student's location elsewhere in the world. It helps students determine how times referred to in FLO relate to their local time.

The Clock block is a handy resource for enrolled students from different time zones (overseas or interstate). This feature is particularly relevant if the topic is fully online, if students will be interstate or overseas, and can be helpful for time-dependent activities such as Collaborate, quizzes and assignments.

How it works: when a student accesses your FLO site from a computer or device in another time zone, in the Clock block they will see the time according to the FLO server in Adelaide and their local time, according to the device/computer used to access FLO. 
The clock block.

Whilst the Clock block provides a useful visual help for students to understand time zone differences in their topics, it is important to provide clear guidance to students on why you have added the Clock block to your topic site and how you expect students to use it.

Important Clock block tips

  • The Clock block is a visual guide and like many online tools, accuracy may depend on the functionality of the user's browser and security settings.
  • The Clock block will show the current time for the student, based on their local computer time settings.
  • If a student changes their computer time zone, or the computer time is incorrect on the computer they use to access FLO, this could make the Clock block inaccurate.
  • If a student changes their time zone settings in their FLO profile settings, the Clock block time will not reflect this change.

The Clock block displays the time as 12-hour by default. We do not recommend changing this setting to 24-hour because students see the time displayed in 12-hour format in FLO. If you are using the Clock block for international students, you may want to edit the Clock block setting Show day name to Yes.

To add the Clock block in your FLO site:

  1. In your topic Turn editing on

  2. Open the Block menu in the top-right of the topic's home page.

  3. Locate the Add a block menu (usually on the right-hand side) and select Clock

    Select 'Clock' from the drop-down menu

  4. The newly created Clock block will display two clocks; Server time and your time

    Clock block

  5. To reposition the block, hover over the move icon The move icon is a cross with four arrowheads.then click and drag. We recommend positioning it under the 'Topic links' block (the top block), so it is readily visible each time students go to your topic.

Blocks - main entry

Blocks are a navigational tool in your topic and can provide quick links/access points for students.

1. Plan  |  2. Build  ||  Support 

Blocks appear in the Topic Blocks menu in the top right corner of each FLO site. 'Topic Links' is a standard block, with links to topic information, grades, SETs etc. Different kinds of blocks can be added (eg Activities, Teaching team, Upcoming events), or you can add an HTML block and use it to feature the textbook/s or for some other topic-related purpose.  

Good practice guides and tip sheets

Good practice guides and tip sheets have been developed to support quality in both curriculum design and teaching practice. Good practice guides provide a pedagogical overview and tip sheets provide you with practical strategies and ideas for implementation. Links to teaching-related resources are provided below. 

Facilitating Student-Teacher interaction in FLO

1. Plan

Some blocks are standard in topics, as part of the college template or starter site. Others you will need to add yourself. You can also move blocks up/down to emphasise important ones.

The Activities block is particularly useful if you have lots of activities and resources in your topic, as it is a navigational tool for students.

Types of blocks
Block name Description
Activities Lists all activities used in the topic, with links to show all activities of each type
Attendance Provides a link to the attendance register. Requires the Attendance activity
Comments Allows students to post comments on the page. Comments will be visible to all users in the topic
Completion progress The Completion Progress is a time-management tool for students. It visually shows what activities/resources a student is supposed to interact within a course. It is colour-coded so students can quickly see what they have and have not completed/viewed.
Engagement analytics Moodle Engagement Analytics allows you to easily track student engagement on Moodle against three different indicators of progress. The analytics examines how much students are engaging in: Forum activity. Login frequency.
Feedback Provides a link to provide feedback. Requires the Feedback activity
HTML Allows you to enter custom text, links and images
Inactive user alert
The Inactive users alert block allows instructors to create alerts per course to determine if students have not accessed the course or important activities by specific dates
Lecture recordings Provides a link to the lecture management interface (QStream)
Logged in user Shows the current logged in user (you)
Messages Links to the Messages tool
Module links Provides a table of contents of modules in the topic
People Links to the Participants tool
Quiz results Shows results from quizzes in the topic
Random glossary entry Shows a random glossary entry. Requires the Glossary tool
Recent activity Shows the most recent activity in the topic
Remote RSS feed Allows you to import RSS feeds from external websites
Search forums Provides a tool to search all forums in the topic
Self completion Displays progress on self completion in the topic
Timeline  Shows students upcoming due dates
Upcoming events Shows calendar events for the next 7 days

2. Build

Add blocks to your topic
  1. In your topic, click Turn editing on
    turn editing on button
  2. Locate the Add a block menu (usually on the right-hand side)
    add a block menu
  3. Select the type of block you wish to add

Add a teaching team block

The teaching team block lists the names, photos and optionally contact details of the teaching team. Your block is included in the FLO sites so you will not have to create it yourself unless it has been deleted. 

Note: To add/alter your profile picture displayed in the Welcome block, see how do I upload a profile photo.

  1. In your topic, click the Turn editing on button

  2. Open the Topic blocks menu

  3. Locate the Add a block dropdown menu (usually on the right-hand side) and select Topic welcome
    select topic welcome from the add a block menu
  4. When the new block appears, click the cog icon to configure the block (see more information below)

  5. In block title, add the text 'Teaching team'

  6. In Roles to display, tick 'topic coordinator', 'teacher' and 'tutor'.

  7. To show more contact methods change the Contact methods to display options.

  8. In Course welcome text

    If your topic uses the starter site, enter a space into the text box. If you want to introduce yourself to students, use a welcome video instead

    If your topic is not yet using the starter site, you can add some introductory text for students here. Try to keep the text short – if you have a lot of content, consider using a welcome video or page resource instead.

  9. When you have finished configuring the block, click Save changes

Change your user image (via the Topic welcome block)
  1. If you have previously uploaded a profile image, it will automatically display in the welcome block. To add or change your user image, click the edit your profile here link in the block
    follow the 'edit your profile here' link 
  2. Upload your user image clicking the Add button or by dragging and dropping the file into the area indicated
    upload your image
    display of a newly added image

  3. Click Update profile

  4. Your chosen image will now appear in the Welcome block, in addition to many other locations in FLO (eg forum posts)
    a welcome block complete with user image

  Training and support



Contact your local eLearning support teams

No known issues with this tool

Blocks - timeline block

1. Plan  |   2. Build   ||  Support

The Timeline block on the My FLO homepage shows students the upcoming due dates of the most common FLO activities for the topics they are enrolled in. Students can also use the timeline to jump into activities in FLO sites.

Staff will see activities that have specific dates for them, for example, when a 'remind me to grade by' date is set for an assignment.

The timeline can be sorted in either date or topic order and can show dates between 7 days and 6 months ahead.

For the most common activities in your topics (e.g. assignments, quizzes, feedback, forums, etc) the block will show students the due date you have set in the activity's settings. Some activities (e.g. self and peer assessment, chat) also have additional options and settings for displaying dates in the timeline.

When using topic completion, any Expect completed on dates will also show in a student's timeline:

  • This can be used to add due dates to the timeline (in addition to its intended purpose) when the activity does not have one
  • If an activity does have a due date, students will get two sets of dates.

Blog - main entry

Blogs are a specific type of social networking tool which is presented as a website with regular entries including commentary, descriptions and links to digital resources such as videos and images.  Using the blog activity in a topic ideally consists of 5 stages.

1. Plan  |  2. Build  |   3. Administer  |  4. Review  ||  Support 
blog icon

The blog tool in FLO (OU blog) is intuitive for users (there is a 'New blog post' prompt and the user can use the HTML editor to add/edit their post entry). Blogs are usually organised as a chronological series of postings created by the author/s of the blog (the student/s). 

You may want to prompt students what to blog about (this might be assessment information), either in the introduction or somewhere else in the FLO site depending on the blog's purpose. A blog can be used for formative assessment (eg reflections) or summative assessment (eg a final account of their learning).

Good practice guides and tip sheets

Good practice guides and tip sheets have been developed to support quality in both curriculum design and teaching practice. Good practice guides provide a pedagogical overview and tip sheets provide you with practical strategies and ideas for implementation. Links to blog-related resources are provided below. 

Inspirational and engaged teachingProviding constructive feedback in FLO | Communication, interaction and collaboration tools in FLO |  Providing students with comprehensive assessment information and support in FLO


1. Plan

What is the purpose of the blog – what do you want students to do using this tool? 

  • Do you want the blog to be private (separate individual blog) or public (visible individual blog, or blog together)? 
  • Is the blog a task that students will do iteratively during the semester, or will it fall within a set timeframe
These are some of the questions to ask before you set up the tool. As a teacher, you can view participation in the blog and grade it.

2. Build

Once you have determined your blog's purpose, you can set it up. 

  1. Click Turn editing on button

  2. Click Add an activity or resource to open the Activity Chooser

  3. Click the OU blog icon

  4. You will be taken to the Adding a new OU blog screen where you can set the parameters of your blog.

  5. Give the blog a Name and Introduction.

  6. If desired, use the Individual blogs drop-down menu to select individual blogs. If individual blogs are not required, leave this menu at the default no (blog together or in groups)
    Individual blog options

  7. The Blog can be marked by grade or rating. Select Teacher grades students if you want to give the student an overall grade for the Blog activity.
    Rating allows you to rate individual blog post which can then be aggregated to produce a final grade for the student. One of the aggregate options must be selected if rating is used as a grading method.

  8. Click the Save and display button
    Timeline block: The Blog tool does not show to students in the Timeline block.

3. Administer

To administer the blog you can view how users are participating, as well as set up a grade for the blog.

View the participation of a user
  1. Click into the module from the topic homepage

  2. Click Participation by user
    Click participation by user
  3. To limit participation by date, click enable and select dates.  Click Update.
    click to enable dates

  4. Results will display below.  
    Click Details beside user name to view that user's posts and comments.
    Click for details
  5. Use tabs to toggle view between posts and comments
    view posts
    view comments

    Grade a blog activity

    Teacher grade students

    1. Open the blog and click on the Click Participation by user button
      participation by user button

    Select a grade from the drop-down menu in one of the following two locations

    In the display, all users view, select a grade for each student from the drop-down menu. Click Save changes
    1. select grade from drop-down menu


    Click on the details link beside the user name.  Select the User grade tab, select grade then click Save changes
    select the user grade tab

    Use Rating
    1. Select a rating from the drop-down list for each post.
    2. Based on the aggregation type, grade will be automatically calculated in the gradebook. 

    4. Review

    Having used the blog activity in your topic, you can now ask these questions:

    • Was it an effective activity (did it achieve what you wanted it to?)
    • Did students benefit from using the blog?
    • Did students give you feedback about blog use (eg using the feedback activity)? Did they have problems with it?
    The answers to these and other questions may help you refine the activity in the next iteration of your topic, or you may decide to use another tool.

      Training and support



    Contact your local eLearning support team

    No known issues with this tool