Inactive User Alert


The Inactive User Alert is a tool to automate contact with students based on activity completion in your unit site. The block was developed for UNSW by Netspot/Blackboard. The block supports alerts if the user does not log in and also alerts for non-completion of activities and resources. 

The Inactive User Alert is set up by the addition of a block: At the bottom of the blocks on the left hand side of the unit, click on the Add menu in the Add a block block and choose Inactive user alerts. This will add a block below the last block on the left:

Inactive user alerts

To add a new alert, click on the edit icon in the block and choose Configure Inactive user alerts block from the drop down menu.

Login alert

There is a default alert available which is a login alert, or an activity alert can be configured for specific activities in your site (see below for more on this). 

Block settings

To set up a login alert, click on the edit icon (pencil) in the block settings. The settings for Enabled and Students only have a default setting of 'No'. These should both be changed to 'Yes'. When the settings open for the first time, the default dates will be set to the current date. Setting an alert for this date will not generate an email even though it will save it and appear to be functional. The Alert date must be changed to a future date in order for students to receive alerts. This alert will only be sent to students who have not accessed the site previously. 

Login alert

The Email template can be altered to include any information, including links, however, these will have to be pasted in full as the editing frame does not provide any formatting options. This means you will be unable to link text to a URL or use any other formatting options such as bold, italics, lists etc. The email is sent as plain text, with a standard subject line - UNE Moodle activity notification - this is set in the configurations for Moodle and cannot be changed to suit individual alerts.

Email text

Staff can set the email text (but not the subject field).The following merge fields can be used:

  • {alink} : link to the activity (displays as the activity name)
  • {clink} : link to the course (unit) (displays as the course fullname)
  • {cfull} : the fullname of the course (unit)
  • {cshort} : the shortname of the course (unit)
  • {userfullname} : the user's fullname (ie John Student). The only identifier of who the alert has been sent to is the username {userfullname} field in the body of the email, so it is recommended to include this in the text. 

If CC alerts is set to Yes a copy of the email will be sent to all teaching staff enrolled in the unit site. 

The emails don't show as coming from a person, instead they have the sender address: UNE Moodle <>. This means it is important to include contact details in the email text to assist students to contact you.

The timing of alerts is set in the Scheduled Tasks in Moodle. They are sent automatically at 11pm on the date set for the alert.

Once the alert is added, a summary will be displayed in the block on the unit site. The block is only visible to teaching and design/ support staff - students do not see the block at all. The summary indicates the alert which has been set up, the date and the number of alerts sent. In the example below no alerts were forwarded. 

Inactive user alert block summary

Clicking on the link to View user access report in this example displays a list of users, their last access to the site and the alerts sent (as above, no alerts were forwarded in this example).

user access report

Activity alert

The activity alerts are created in a similar way to the login alert, but the activity must have a completion requirement in place prior to adding the activity alert. To add an activity completion requirement see the Activity Completion instructions in this site. Activity completion can be based on viewing a resource or activity, submission (ie an assignment) or receiving a grade (ie a quiz).

When creating an activity alert, all activities and resources in the site will appear in the drop down menu. These will appear in the listing in the same order as they appear in your site, so if two activities or resources have the same name, take care to choose the appropriate one. 

Activity alert 

When multiple alerts are set up, they are listed in the Inactive user alerts block:

Inactive user alert block summary

Clicking on the View user access report link will default to the first alert. To view later alerts, click on the link for the report required at the top of the page:

multiple alerts - user access report

Additional notes

Who is sent alerts

Alerts are sent after 11:00pm on the alert date if:

  • the alert is enabled (set to yes);
  • the user has not completed the activity. Completion in based on the activities completion setting;
  • the user has an active enrolment in the site, e.g. they have not withdrawn or completed
  • the date and time of the alert passes. The alert is checked at 11:00pm on the date the alert is set.

Activity completion

Completion of activities is based on Moodle activity completion. It is important that these are set appropriately before the site, or at least the activity is made available to students. A few notes:

  • If an activity/resource is set to be manually marked complete (the default setting) it will only be considered complete if the student checks the completion box on the unit main page.
  • Alerts for assignments that are set to "Submit to be marked complete" are not considered complete while in 'Draft' status, so students with a draft submission will be included in the alert (this is not necessarily a bad thing as it should remind them to submit the assignment).
  • Quizzes that are set auto submit if not completed will be marked complete after the due date. Be aware that the alerts are automatically sent at 11:00pm. If the alert is set for the quiz due date and the due time is 11:55 students will be sent the alert at 11:00 but given less than one hour to complete.

Activity restrictions

Students are sent alerts even if there is an activity restriction. This is useful for the AIM. Students that have not completed the AIM are sent an email. It is less helpful if the item is restricted by time.


The alerts work if one activity has been set up for groups and all participants are in those groups. Where an activity is available for a group, which is a subset of students enrolled in the site, the alerts are sent to all students with active status (not just those in the group that the activity is assigned to). 

Hidden activities and resources

Alerts should not be set up for hidden activities or for items that are in a hidden section.


When importing or restoring a site that has the block, it comes across with the previous settings, but alerts are not sent.

Known issues

  • All staff enrolled in the site are sent alerts if they do not meet the completion requirements. It would be preferable if they did not receive these, or if it could be restricted to users with a permission, but that is not possible at this stage.
  • Alerts cannot be created and set for the current date, e.g. today. They must always be created with a date at least one day in the future.
  • If an multiple alert alert has been created, it is impossible to disable the last set alert. e.g. if there are three alert dates and this is to be reduced to two, unselecting the third alert results in the notice "New alerts must be set in the future." when attempting to save. 

Last modified: Monday, 23 January 2017, 4:22 PM