Collapsed Topics

Course formats ::: format_topcoll
Maintained by Gareth J BarnardGareth J Barnard
An interchangeable topic or week based format that solves the issue of the 'Scroll of Death' when a course has many topics.
Latest release:
6006 sites
148 fans
Current versions available: 24

An interchangeable topic or week (day for 2.3.1+) based format that solves the issue of the 'Scroll of Death' when a course has many topics / weeks. All sections except zero have a toggle that displays that section. One or more sections can be displayed at any given time. Toggles are persistent on a per browser session per course basis but can be made to persist longer by a small code change. Full installation instructions, code adapt-ions and credits are included in the '' file.

If you have a course with more than fifty two sections then currently the toggle persistence will not work for the fifty third section and above.  Then you need to upgrade to the Moodle 2.5 version+.


The format comes with NO support.  Please see the 'Support' section in '' file that comes with the format.  This is because the format is complex and I regret that I don't have the time / resources to freely assist with questions pertaining to specific enhancements / changes / knowledge improvement.

I will investigate genuine bugs and issue fixes in a timescale set by myself.  When reporting issues you MUST clearly state the full version and release of both Moodle and the Collapsed Topics format as contained within their 'version.php' files - if not it takes me longer to figure out, often resulting in me asking for the details anyway and slowing the process of solving your problem down.  It really helps to read the 'Reporting Issues' section in the '' file and upload and describe in detail the issue you are having on the 'Course formats' forum.


NEW: 'The Complete Guide to Collapsed Topics' (and 'Blurb') book is now available, covering: installation, upgrade, uninstallation, course and global features, resetting, capabilities, language strings, overriding icons / styles in a theme and adding a new icon set.

The Complete Guide to Collapsed Topics book

The Complete Guide to Collapsed Topics book on a book stand

Inside the Complete Guide to Collapsed Topics.

NOTE: The latest version incorporates functionality to support new UK / EU Cookie Law which is implemented as a user acceptance in the 1.9 version and no 'cookie' is used at all in 2.x versions.

Screen casts:

Privacy API support starts with V3.3.1.2 for M3.3 and V3.4.0.2 for M3.4 where the API has been implemented in the minor release of Moodle.


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Gareth J Barnard
Gareth J Barnard (Lead maintainer)
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  • Thu, Oct 13, 2016, 2:47 PM
    Hi Gareth, thanks for your answer.
    Sorry I wasn't clear enough, I was talking about the section-summary-activities zone (giving the number of each type of activity and progression)

    Kind Regards,

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Thu, Oct 13, 2016, 7:54 PM
    Hi Jean-Roch,

    I have no idea what you mean by 'section-summary-activities zone', please post a screen shot in: so I can try and understand what you mean.

    Kind regards,

  • Thu, Oct 13, 2016, 8:13 PM
    Done! Be there in 30 minutes
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Thu, Oct 13, 2016, 8:26 PM
    Hi Jean-Roch,

    I've replied.

    Kind regards,

  • Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 3:35 PM
    It's my favorite cours format. It would be great if there would be an option that the students could see their grades on the top, like in th "Course formats: eTask topics format" ore even better, that a course category Total with their marks could be shown. I don't know if such an option ist possible.
    Thanks a lot for your greet work. Jürg
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 10:26 PM
    Hi Jürg,

    Most things are possible it is only a matter of time and therefore money. If you're the budget holder then I'd be happy to send you my rates and terms. Given the eTask format its something that I would probably add in a custom format for you.

    Kind regards,

  • Tue, Jan 24, 2017, 10:03 PM
    Hi Gareth,

    This is an awesome, helpful plugin. Thank you very much. I have two questions: Is it possible to have the highlighted topic on top automatically? Also, how do I make sure that only one topic is open at a time.. In other words, if the student tries to open another topic while another is open, the first one should close.
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, Jan 25, 2017, 8:27 PM
    Hi Hayley,

    For 'highlighed topic' use the 'Current topic first' structure in the course settings.

    For 'only one topic at one time' - not at the moment. This would have to be a paid for enhancement. If you have a budget and control / authorisation for contracting me to add this for you then I'll work out a quote.

    Kind regards,

  • Thu, Feb 23, 2017, 1:05 AM
    Hello Gareth-

    This is a wonderful plugin that many of our instructors use. Is it possible to have the ability to have a picture be the background of a topic when collapsed rather than a color? Or to assign a small picture or icon as part of the topic as you have created in the Grid format?

    Thanks for your time,

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Thu, Feb 23, 2017, 1:15 AM
    Hi Mark,

    It all depends on if you want to hack the CSS with an image already on the server or have the functionality in the format. The former would take a little time to work out, the latter you are looking at many days development time. If you PM me then I can discuss rates and terms of business.

    Kind regards,

  • Tue, Mar 14, 2017, 7:20 PM
    Should you be able to have more that one column when using the collapsed topic format with Moodle 3.2? many thanks. Annick
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Tue, Mar 14, 2017, 9:10 PM
    Hi Annick,


    Kind regards,

  • Tue, May 2, 2017, 6:48 PM
    Hello, i'm new to this, I just installed collapsed topics folliwing the readme. it installed, I can adjust the settings, and when I am in my admin account and edit the course, I can see all the collapsed options. However, when I turn editing off or log in with a student account, I don't see any of the collapsed functionality. The primary reason I installed it was so students would see all of the topics expanded by default. Any thoughts?
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, May 3, 2017, 3:14 AM
    Dear James,

    Please post screen shots of the issue, what you did when creating the courses (i.e. the setting values) and Collapsed Topics and Moodle version to

  • Sun, May 14, 2017, 11:39 AM
    I wanna use this format in all my courses. One question: there is a way to hide the text "open all" and "close all"? I think they are not necessary, this format is very intuitive. Thanks in advance
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