Finding your way around

This section introduces the course homepage and explains how to navigate your way around the course website and the course materials.

Please note: The screenshots below are illustrative only. Your course may not include all the ‘blocks’ shown here on the left-hand side, and may include others not shown here.

Your course homepage


Your course homepage will be the main page you use to access the course materials, activities and other features of your course.

If you are studying a short course, the main course material for you to study each week is indicated by the bookicon. You may also see forums, chat sessions, polls, surveys, InfoMaps and any other resources you will use during your course.

Other useful tools to help you find your way around

The Navigation block
You can move around your course materials via the Navigation block.

Navigation block

Click expandto expand the relevant section and click any of the links to navigate to that section or feature of the course. From here you can move from one unit to another, without going back to the course homepage.

Click on your course title in the top banner at any point to return to the course homepage. You can also use your browser’s back and forward buttons, but if you are entering text remember to save any changes before leaving the page.

Other blocks
On the left-hand side of your screen, below the navigation block, you will see a number of other blocks. These provide essential tools and resources to help you study online. Your course will contain some or all of the following blocks.

Search forums

Search forums block

To search the forums, enter the text you are looking for in the box and then click Go. For a more specific search, click Advanced search. Remember the search facility only searches the discussion forums, not the course materials.

Recent activity

Recent activity block

This displays a list of recent activities within the course, together with a link to the item and a full report of all recent activity. The number and nature of the items displayed will depend on the amount and type of activities included in the course.

You may find this block particularly useful to see if any new postings have been made in the discussion forums since you last logged in.


This lists the different activities available in your course. Clicking on a link will display a list of all available activities of that type.

Activities block

The most commonly used activities are Forums and Assignments. Forums are a central part of an online course so for more details on how to use the forums see the Discussion forums page.

Oxford Reference Online

Access to Oxford Reference Online, is available to some students.

Oxford Rreference Online block

If you are studying a short course with access to Oxford Reference Online, you can access the resources via the link in the Oxford Reference Online block. There may also be links to specific resources in your course materials.


This provides you with context-sensitive options and you will see a different list of links for different features of the course.


For example, if you are on a short course and navigate to a unit and then a chapter, you will see options to print the content of that chapter or the entire book. If you look at the administration block when you are in a forum you will see options to subscribe and unsubscribe to that forum.

Customising your screen layout

To make more room on your screen, you may choose to ‘collapse’ or ‘dock’ individual blocks. Collapsing a block hides the content, leaving just the block heading displayed. To collapse or restore a block use the – or + found in the top corner of the block.

dock buttons example

Docking a block moves it to the far left of the screen. To dock a block click block to docked position. To view the content of a docked block hover your mouse over the title in the side menu. To restore the block click dock position to block.