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:
6042 sites
145 fans
Current versions available: 23

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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  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, Sep 16, 2020, 12:07 AM
    Dear Raphael,

    That's not Collapsed Topics course format, so nothing to do with me. In any event, the progress bar progress is not controlled by the course format. Please use the 'Course and course formats' forum.

  • Zonggen Zeng, Ningbo Polytechnic, Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province, China
    Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 4:34 AM
    Hi Gareth, I'm so sad-- my moodle web site is moodle 3.9.2, but your is not work when I set "columns" to "two" or "three" or "four"! please save me...
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 4:38 AM
    Works for me, please post details on the courses and course formats forum, I can't help as I don't know what's wrong.
  • Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 9:33 PM
    Please help me, I have problem with this plugin
    Collapse Topics is showing Side Block by default
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Tue, Dec 15, 2020, 8:32 PM
    Dear Liko,

    I've replied on the course and course formats forum to your post.

  • Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 5:11 AM
    Hola Gareth, te saludo desde Guatemala, quiero agradecerte por tu trabajo, realmente tu plugin de temas colapsados es genial, quisiera consultarte cuando crees que puedas tener lista la versión para moodle 3.9. Un millón de gracias
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 5:39 AM
  • Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 7:43 PM
    Dear Gareth,
    This is my favorite course format, however it's been a while since I last updated it on my site, I would like to know, is there any way for quiz activities to show meta information based on activity completion? not just finished quiz, for example if a student has a grade below passing grade it still shows as completed.
    Thank you
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 8:57 PM
    Dear Amiran,

    Not sure, but surely this is an issue with the setup of activity completion that it is showing as complete when they've not got the required grade? I thought there was a criteria for this?

  • Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 10:36 PM
    Dear Gareth,
    So if a student has no required grade instead of completed it should say not completed am I right?
    I've checked on several quizzes, for example a student got 0.53 points out of 5, in quiz parameters passing grade is 5 out of 5, and student must Require passing grade, so the activity completion check is not marked, but below the quiz it still says completed and date of completion
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Tue, Feb 2, 2021, 12:06 AM
    Dear Amiran,

    I don't fully know the answer, but I think your best bet is to post on the Quiz forum ->

    Kind regards,

  • Tue, Mar 9, 2021, 7:57 PM
    Dear Gareth
    With Moodle 3.9 and PHP 7.4.3 with Debugging-Mode ON we face the following issue.
    When we use the collapsed topic as a course format and then display a single topic ("View only 'Topic 1' "), obove the topic is this message appearing: “Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /var/www/html/moodle/course/format/topcoll/renderer.php on line 415”.
    After a search-engine research I have the impression, that PHP 7.4 is more strict than PHP 7.2 was and therefore showing this message, while PHP 7.2 was more "accommodating". Am I wrong and there is another way to fix this?
    Kind regards, Dani
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Tue, Mar 9, 2021, 8:10 PM
    Dear Dani,

    Ok... What version of CT are you running please?

  • Tue, Mar 9, 2021, 10:28 PM
    Dear Gareth,
    We're using version (on test-moodle 3.9.4+ (Build: 20210122))

    Our "real" moodle server has the same moodle version but PHP 7.2
    Kind regard, Dani
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, Mar 10, 2021, 12:42 AM
    Thanks Dani,

    It took me a little while to update to PHP 7.4 so I could replicate the issue. The CT version number helps as it allows me to be sure of the actual line. I'll do a fix soon.

    Out of curiosity, why are you running version which is designed for Moodle 3.8 on Moodle 3.9 when the readme file says otherwise?

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