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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  • Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 3:47 AM
    Also verified that the iPad emulator on BrowserStack behaves the same way, so if you need an alternate way to test if you have no physical device, that could help.
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 3:51 AM
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 5:27 AM
    Down to new support for MDL-51802 - need to think.
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 6:30 AM
    Dear Edward and Mathew,

    Please test on your test server (ensure you do a 'Purge all caches') and see if it fixes the problem for you.

  • Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 6:45 AM
    Hi Gareth, just doing a quick test on the emulator before heading out, but the change appears to fix the issue. Only niggle is after tapping it, it leaves the topic title bar highlighted (the hover state) until you click on another topic title bar.
  • Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 6:47 AM
    And Cheers on the incredibly speedy response!
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 6:55 AM
    The hover state will have to be a compromise and probably was that way in previous versions. If not then I'll have to revert and remove the functionality of MDL-51802 or only use 'spans' in editing mode - which leaves the issue of not being able to inline edit the section name on an iPad and still operate the toggle. No win situation. This is not easy!
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, Jun 8, 2016, 12:58 AM
    RE: "Only niggle is after tapping it, it leaves the topic title bar highlighted (the hover state) until you click on another topic title bar." - Checked the M3.0 version and happens there too. Nothing I can do about it as no 'focus' pseudo-selector style defined.
  • Wed, Jun 8, 2016, 11:21 AM
    I am trying create collapsed format for all section. I can do collapsed inside the section but can't do for all section. My course has 10-12 weeks. So I create as 10-12 section. But I like to do all section will be close and whenever student will click current/particular section then it will open.
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, Jun 8, 2016, 6:41 PM
    Dear Mohammad,

    Please post on for community support.

    Kind regards,

  • Thu, Jun 9, 2016, 7:01 PM
    Is the version of this great plugin support the Elegance theme?
    I cannot get more than one column to display with the elegance theme, or is it a theme issue?

    Many Thanks

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Fri, Jun 10, 2016, 12:23 AM
    Dear Annick,

    Its a theme issue. As Bootstrap is the parent theme, I've put in a pull request here: - where you can see the changes.

    Kind regards,

  • Fri, Jun 17, 2016, 10:57 AM
    Hi Gareth. Many, many thanks for making this plugin available and your continued efforts to maintain and update it. We're going to be switching to Collapsed Topics as the default for all our courses next semester which I really think will please both staff and students a great deal. I did just have a quick query - nothing urgent, but thought it might be worth raising: under Moodle 3.x installations is it possible to easily turn off the 'edit section' "cog" icons which are shown when using Collapsed Topics but which no longer feature in the Moodle 3.x default topics or weeks formats (under those formats a single 'edit section' link can be accessed through the relevant 'Edit' drop down menu associated with the section)? For 3.x users, these additional icons are, effectively, redundant and visually add to page clutter as well as, again, being inconsistent with the other default formats Moodle 3.x offers.

    Again, not urgent - and thanks again for offering this plugin to the community.
  • Fri, Jun 17, 2016, 2:22 PM
    Hi again Gareth. Apologies - just one more quick query: under Moodle 3.1 editing of a section title is now possible in the same way that editing of activity/resource names has been for a while now i.e. users can click a little pencil icon to the right of the title and then enter their text directly, without the need to click the dedicated 'edit section' link and be taken to a separate page. However, while this functionality still works when using Collapsed Topics, because clicking anywhere in the region which contains the section title also simultaneously toggles the section's open/closed state, it actually can be quite confusing for users when the contents of a section disappear or appear just as a result of trying to edit the section title. So, in short I just wondered if it's possible to make clicking the pencil icon not activate toggling of the section? If it's not, no worries and, again, just thought it worth raising.
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