After having dealt directly with students suffering from the Scroll of Death, I read an article in .Net Magazine (known as Practical Web Design in the US) which showed you how you could toggle collapse a table body.
So I set to work and made a version of the Topics format that would do just that - please see attached picture.
If you are interested, I have put the code in - http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/CONTRIB-1081. I have tested on Moodle version 1.9.3 - 15th October 2008.
It is not perfect as it does not store the state of the toggles so everytime you refresh you have to reclick the topic. But it does work!