Customize Your Accord LMS Web Design
Our previous post, 'Customizing Your LMS - The LMS Home Page' , presented an overview of the current default Accord LMS home page settings along with two optional layouts. 'Customizing Your LMS – The LMS Home Page' and it's video links should be reviewed before attempting the modifications highlighted in this article. Whether you are an existing Accord LMS client or looking for a learning management system that fits your particular needs, this article will provide you with informative ideas about what is possible with an Accord LMS portal.
This article will cover the following customizations that you can apply to the Accord LMS web layout:
- Renaming Items on the Menu
- Hiding Pages on the Menu
- Adding Pages to the Menu
- Limiting Pages to specific Learning Roles
- Adding HTML Content to a page
Please note: These advanced techniques are not necessarily included with Accord’s standard support. If you would like to implement any of these ideas which may be beyond your technical experience, please contact Accord Sales for an estimate. If you have not yet implemented your Accord LMS, please discuss any desired customization with your implementation manager. Some modifications can be included in the standard implementation process.
DNN Menu Configuration
Customize the Main Menu
To customize the main menu, you must first be logged into the Accord LMS as a Portal Administrator. As a Portal Admin, you will have access to the DNN Content Management Features on the Persona Bar. See previous article for more information.
Reordering the Menu
Reordering menu items is a simple drag and drop process. Figure 1 below shows the DNN Persona Bar on the far left with Page Management selected. Notice that the column of page names appears in the same order as they appear on the menu (figure 2). Selecting any page name will reveal five icons. To move the page, grab the vertical bar icon on the far right and drag the page to its desired location. If you drop the page on another page, it will become a child page and then appear on a descending menu. View this video quick tip for a short demonstration of this process.
Figure 1 – DNN Persona Bar and Page Management
Figure 2 – Accord LMS Main Menu
Hiding Pages on the Menu
Hiding a menu item is a simple matter of looking at the page details and setting the 'Display in Menu' option to Off. For example, to hide the 'Community Page', open the DNN Pages interface from the persona bar, select the 'Community Page' and click on the gear icon to access 'Page Details' as shown below in figure 3. Set 'Display in Menu' to Off. The page can still be accessed with a direct link but will no longer appear on the main menu.
Figure 3 - Page Details, Display in Menu
Rename Menu Items
In the following example we’ve changed the learner catalog menu label from 'Catalog' to 'Agency Catalog'. Renaming a menu item can be done from the same DNN Page Details shown in the previous example. Changing the 'Name' field will modify the menu. Changing the 'Title' field will change the name presented through your browser tab. Make the desired changes and then click the Save button at the bottom of the page. View this video quick tip for a demonstration of the Page Details interface.
Figure 4 - Page Details, Renaming a Page
It is easy to add a blank page to your LMS Portal. Just click the 'Add New Page' button (see figure 1) and complete the basic information required by the Add Page form (see figure 5). There are a number of options which should probably be ignored. For example, do not make changes to the Advanced Settings unless you have a thorough understanding of the DNN CMS.
Adding the page will create a page with empty panes in which you can place modules. The most common module to add is the HTML module. See the video tip at the end of this article for a demonstration.
Figure 5 - Adding a Page
Setting Page Permissions
DNN offers very tight control of the content within each Accord LMS portal. Each page can be set to only be visible to certain Learning Roles, Teams or individual users. Page level permissions are set from the Permissions tab on the page interface (see figure 6).
Permissions can be set by selecting a Role from a Role Group. To make the page visible to all users, check the view checkbox next to the Registered Users Role. In the example below, we only desire this page to be visible to Learners in our First Aid Certification program. A learning role called First Aid Certification has been added to the permissions list. The Admin granted view permissions for this page to the users within the First Aid Certification role and removed view permissions from registered users.
You won’t see Teams in the Accord LMS Learning Roles manager but behind the scenes they really are a special type of Role. If you would like to make a page visible to members of a specific Team instead of a Learning Role, use the following procedure. Choose 'All Groups Text' in the Filter by Group pick list and then type the Team Name next to the 'Add' button. The Team Name will auto-fill once you’ve typed a few characters. Click 'Add' to place it on the list of Roles. To make the page visible to a specific Role, check the VIEW checkbox to the right of the Role.
Figure 6 - Page Permissions
Adding a Module to a Page
There are many modules which can be integrated with the DNN Content Management System. Many are included with the Accord LMS and more can be found at the DNN online store. It is beyond the scope of this article to explore these available options. In this example we will add an HTML module to a newly created blank page, set page permissions and add an HTML module to the page.
Editing the Page
In order to edit elements of a DNN page, the page must be in 'Edit Mode'. Edit Mode can be selected from the page listing on the persona bar. The portal Admin can also enter Edit Mode by selecting the page from the main menu and then clicking the pencil at the bottom of the persona bar (see Figure 7). To Add a module to the selected page, click the leftmost cube icon (Add Module).
Figure 7 - Add Module
There are many modules which can be added to a DNN Page. Caution should be exercised when adding unfamiliar modules to a production environment. To add an HTML module, type HTML in the search box (highlighted in figure 8) and then select HTML from the options below. Do not select 'HTML Editor Management'.
Figure 8 - Add Module
After selecting the HTML Module, you will be presented with a small box representing the module floating over the page. You can drag the box and drop it on any available pane. It is possible to place the module in a pane that has an existing module. Please remember that the pane controls the width of the module and vertical position in relation to other modules. It does not control the height of the module or it's content. If the module in Figure 9 is placed on the highlighted blue pane, the HTML will be the width of the application and above any modules which are placed in panes that are positioned lower on the page.
Figure 9 - Placing the HTML Module
Editing the Module
While editing the page, an Admin can edit the HTML module’s content by clicking on the HTML module's 'Edit Content Link'. Admins can use the simple WYSIWYG editor to create their content or paste HTML code directly into the editor. All of these page customizations are fairly simple. Basic HTML knowledge is helpful for editing content within the HTML Module. Please view this short video that demonstrates the above process of adding a page, setting page permissions and adding HTML content.
Setting the Module Permissions
The final customization that we’ll cover in this article is setting permissions at the module level. Earlier in this article we demonstrated the concept of making a page available to users with a specific Learning Role. The same technique can be applied to a module on a page. Instead of setting an entire page to appear to a specific Learning Role, you might want to make different HTML messages available for different learners. In the Page Permissions above, we made a specific page visible to members of the First Aid Certification Learning Role. Perhaps we would like to make the page available to all Learners but only show specific HTML content based on their Learning Role membership. For example, the First Aid Certification would see different instructions when compared to Learners in the Driver's Safety Learning Role.
Module Permissions work essentially like Page Permissions. To access the Module Permissions, hover your mouse over the top right corner of the module and select the gear icon (Figure 10). Once Module Settings present, select the Permissions tab. Un-check the 'Inherit View permissions from Page' checkbox and then select permissions as instructed above in the Page Permissions example.
Figure 10 - Module Settings
Figure 11 - Module Permissions
This article has demonstrated a number of ways in which to customize your Accord LMS web portal. The Accord LMS portal is essentially a web site that you can configure to meet the unique needs of your particular organization and your Learners. This article has only briefly described the larger scope of potential options. In future articles we will be discussing the use of Tokens and Learning Roles in your LMS to provide a more personalized learning experience.
For more information about the Accord LMS, please contact Accord sales and request access to the Accord Academy. If you are not yet a client, please be sure to discuss your project and request a complimentary evaluation portal.