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
149 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.


Screenshot #0
Screenshot #1
Screenshot #2
Screenshot #3
Screenshot #4
Screenshot #5
Screenshot #6
Screenshot #7


Gareth J Barnard
Gareth J Barnard (Lead maintainer)
Please login to view contributors details and/or to contact them

Comments RSS


  • Tue, Dec 8, 2015, 7:09 AM
    Hi Gareth --

    When we installed the Collapsed Topics format a couple months ago, we changed the following options to #FFFFFF (sorry if I wasn't clear here earlier):

    Toggle foreground color
    format_topcoll | defaulttgfgcolour

    Toggle foreground hover colour
    format_topcoll | defaulttgfghvrcolour

    Toggle background color
    format_topcoll | defaulttgbgcolour

    Toggle background hover color
    format_topcoll | defaulttgbghvrcolour

    And Toggle all icon hovers was set to YES


    I see what you mean when you asked why we set them all to white. That doesn't make sense. Even though these are set to white, when running the previous version of Collapsed Topics, the section titles are actually not white (that's probably why we didn't dwell on the default color settings). They are using the color from our custom theme (note that if I switch the theme to the Clean theme, the titles do go white; when I switch back to our custom theme, the titles are visible again, using our the color from our theme). It's only after installing the updated Collapsed Topics do the titles go to white.

    I think it's interesting, using the previous version and before installing the update, the section title color was essentially ignoring the course format's settings and instead used our custom theme's color setting. It's only after installing the upgrade does it all sort itself out.... the format's color settings are respected. So I suppose there isn't anything necessarily wrong with the course format. We will have to update the default color settings (i.e. don't use white for text).

    Does this make sense? I apologize if I led you down the wrong path, trying to find an error where one doesn't exist.

    Thanks... Brian
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Tue, Dec 8, 2015, 7:22 AM
    Hi Brian,

    Thank you for the information.

    A recent fix: caused the incorrect data to manifest itself.

    Kind regards,

  • Tue, Dec 8, 2015, 3:29 PM
    Many thanks Gareth, your feedback has been superb !!
  • Thu, Dec 10, 2015, 4:08 AM
    Can it do nested collapsible topics?
  • Thu, Dec 10, 2015, 3:23 PM
    Hi, This is a great plugin. Thanks a lot. But I'm facing some problems. I run version 2.9 and BCU theme. The "No additions" layout is not working on mine. In fact, none of the layout options work nor do the options to change text alignment etc. Whatever option I choose the default settings remain intact. Is it a problem with my Moodle version or the theme. Is there a fix? I wish I could post an image here.
  • Thu, Dec 10, 2015, 3:28 PM
    Please ignore. My fault :|.. I was changing the settings in site administration instead of course adminsitration. It works perfectly now!
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Thu, Dec 10, 2015, 7:59 PM
    Hi Evan,

    RE: Can it do nested collapsible topics?


    Kind regards,

  • Sat, Dec 12, 2015, 5:34 AM
    Hi Gareth --

    I think I may have come across an actual bug with the 2.7.4 update (for Moodle 2.7). This problem becomes evident after upgrading a Moodle 2.7.11+ (2014051211.02) site to Collapsed Topics v. 2.7.4 (from The problem/bug is seen in courses with orphaned activities sections, after the 2.7.4 update has been installed (there is no problem with the version). In these courses, the collapsed topics format behaves properly when those viewing the course (e.g., the toggle icons open and close the sections). However, the problem/bug comes into play when editing is ON. With editing on, you see the dimmed orphaned activities section at the bottom of the page (as expected). The problem is that the individual section open/close icons DO NOT open the section (though the Open All and Close All icons do work). Also, with each section, the "edit summary" (gear) icons don't work. Clicking on them does nothing, except highlight the word "Orphaned" in the now-visible orphaned activities section at the bottom. Also, the "Add an activity or resource" link in each section doesn't work.

    It it helps, I can add post to the course formats Moodle forum, along with a couple annotated screenshots. Please let me know if this would be helpful, or if you have any other questions.

    Thanks.... Brian
  • Sat, Dec 12, 2015, 5:40 AM
    Gareth -- I forgot to mention that the problem I mentioned above (with courses with orphaned activities sections) is theme-independent. I'm see it with our custom theme, but also with the Clean theme. -- Brian
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Sat, Dec 12, 2015, 5:50 AM
    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the report. The 2.7.4 version had fixes for things in the header that were conflicts. Please do post annotated screen shots in the course format forum as this will help me replicate the issue faster and thus be in a position to find a solution.

    Kind regards,

  • Thu, Mar 10, 2016, 9:25 AM
    I recently updated to the most recent version of Collapsed Topics for Moodle 3.0. I have noticed odd behavior within my courses. Certain topics (not the one that is highlighted) is always opened expanded (not collapsed). Even if I collapse all topics and refresh the page the same topic is reopened. There seems to be no way to close the topic. I do not recall seeing this behavior until after this last update. Does this ring a bell? I there anything that is changed that might keep certain topics expanded?
  • Wed, Jun 1, 2016, 5:20 PM
    In Moodle 3.1 "open all" and "collapse all" icons are not working in iPads and iPhones
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, Jun 1, 2016, 7:50 PM
    Hi Sakshi,

    Tested locally on Chrome emulation of iPhone 6 and working. Tested on Safari on iPod Touch 4th generation and working. Both times with Clean theme. No access to the physical devices you state. Thus until any further evidence / validation from others, assume is working.

    Kind regards,

  • Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 2:44 AM
    My students, who are on Moodle 3.1, are not able to close or open individual collapsed topics while using the Safari browser on an iPad or iPhone. The only workaround so far is to hit the "open all" and "collapse all" icons, which do work.
  • Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 3:34 AM
    Hi Gareth, I'm also confirming that on Moodle 3.1 after upgrading from 2.8, indivdual section toggles are not working are not working on an iPad, Safari Browser. "Open All/Collapse All" are working though as Edward indicated.
Please login to post comments