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, 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
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Sun, May 21, 2017, 6:30 AM
    Hi Yamila,

    That can only be hidden with code changes.

    Kind regards,

  • Fri, May 26, 2017, 5:44 AM
    Hi Gareth,
    There are a couple of issues with this plugin that I'd like to request be updated.
    1. When tabbing through the course menu settings the colored boxes are totally skipped while tabbing - this is an accessibility issue.
    2. it might be a good idea to update the text from Toggle Foreground to "Toggle Text" You explain it in the question mark, but it might make more sense to put it right in the title for clarity's sake.
    3. Please add the ability to include "transparent" in the color options. I would like the background to flow through the background without having to recreate the color.
    4. It feels like your Open all/close all icons are backward. For instance, the light diode icon colors are backward in the Open All Close all buttons. Open all should be green and Close all should be red.

    Thanks for the plugin!
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Fri, May 26, 2017, 6:02 AM
    Hi Mike,

    Thank you for your comments.

    1. Can be solved by removing 'tabindex' from tc_colourpopup.php.
    2. I'll think about it.
    3. Would you willing to fund this enhancement please?
    4. This was debated at length many years ago and the icon before hover shows the icons affected and when hovering what will happen. So is correct unless diode is specifically wrong.

    Kind regards,

  • Fri, Jun 23, 2017, 3:49 AM
    Hi Gareth,

    Like the others on the list, I think that this is a great plugin - thank you so much. The plugin does not currently work for the new feature of "stealth activities". Is it on your roadmap to update this and if so what timeframe would you have in mind?

    Kind regards

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Fri, Jun 23, 2017, 3:56 AM
    Hi Mark,

    The format does currently implement "stealth activities" as implemented in version of the 6th June 2017:

    Kind regards,

  • Tue, Jul 4, 2017, 8:06 PM
    Hi Gareth, great plugin.

    How can I disable the "One section only" function?

    Thank you very much.

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, Jul 5, 2017, 12:29 AM
    Hi Alberto,

    What version of Collapsed Topics are you running? Could you be a bit more specific please.

    Kind regards,

  • Wed, Jul 5, 2017, 3:15 AM
    Sorry, I'm using version (2017042202)

    We need to disable the "View only..." button:

    Thank you.
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, Jul 5, 2017, 4:58 AM
    Hi Alberto,

    I see, currently that cannot be done without changing the code, however the client loves the functionality.

    Kind regards,

  • Wed, Jul 5, 2017, 2:33 PM
    Thank you Gareth, but our clients are very confused with this functionality and we're receiving many messages about it.

    We are going to hide it using css.

    Kind regards

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Thu, Jul 6, 2017, 1:59 AM
    Hi Alberto,

    Fair enough.

    Kind regards,

  • Fri, Aug 11, 2017, 12:21 AM
    Hi Alberto,
    Could you please share your CSS overrides to hide the "View only" button?
    We have also just had this plugin updated and I wonder whether we may experience a high number of messages about it.
    Kind regards,
    Chris B
  • Fri, Aug 11, 2017, 12:44 AM
    I was impatient and made CSS changes straight away. For anyone that is interested:

    .right.side {
    display:none !important
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