Moodle and the RLO dashboard link

Have you ever wondered how the Moodle RLO dashboard link finds the correct reading list in RLO? Generally, if a module has a reading list and the reading list in RLO has been linked to a node in the RLO hierarchy, the dashboard link will automatically activate in Moodle and your Moodle module and reading list will be linked.

Occasionally this doesn’t work and this is when you need to know what is happening behind the scenes.

Every course in Moodle has a shortname which you should be able to see at the top of the screen:

metamodule Moodle shortname Moodle shortname

To activate the dashboard reading list link you need to attach your list to a node that matches part 1 or part 2 of the Moodle shortname, where the parts are separated by an underscore _

Part 1:


Part 2:



If 2 modules have been combined in Moodle to create a meta-module, you are likely to see a shortname in this format MDL_XXXXX-YYYYY_PRDX_YYYY-YY. So to make this meta-module find its reading list you will need to create an RLO node called XXXXX-YYYYY and link the list to this node. This will activate the dashboard link.

dashboard link

A couple of things to note. The dashboard link can only link to a single node so if you have multiple nodes in RLO with the same name it will not work.

If more than 1 list is linked to a node for the current year Moodle will link to the node rather than the actual list.

If you have a meta-module and you need to keep separate nodes in RLO (you don’t want to create a ‘meta-node’ such as INM123-INM234) you could add the Reading List Block in Moodle and ignore the dashboard link. For a meta-module called


the reading list block will look for a node called INM123-INM234 first but if it can’t find it it will look for INM123 and INM234 separately. If it finds multiple nodes it will display both relevant reading lists.

Moodle RLO block

The ‘part 1’ or ‘part 2’ element of the Moodle short name must be unique for this to work. If you have a very generic Moodle module where part 1 or 2 are, for example, MDL_PRD1, you will not be able to create a unique node in RLO. In this instance, the Moodle module owner may be able to change the shortname to make part 1 or 2 unique.

If you come across a scenario that doesn’t match the above you may need to create a manual link to the reading list.

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One Response to Moodle and the RLO dashboard link

  1. Pingback: How to add a module node to RLO | Sierra and other library systems

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