Course formats: Collapsed Topics

format_topcoll
Maintained by Gareth J Barnard Gareth J Barnard
An interchangeable topic or week based format that solves the issue of the 'Scroll of Death' when a course has many topics.

Collapsed Topics 3.0.0.3 for Moodle 3.0

My mug
Michael de Raadt
Monday, 7 December 2015, 8:27 AM
General comments

The Collapsed Topics course format allows sections in a course page to be collapsed down, avoiding the "scroll of death". There are a number of features, including:

  • persistence of section collapsing for users,
  • showing the current section first and
  • choice of weekly or topics layouts.


Plugins survey usage
35%
This course format was reported as being widely used in the Plugins Usage Survey (2015).
Supported versions
1.9 to 3.0
 
Update frequency
Regular, reliable
Feedback about plugin
Positive
Installation process
Git, Zip
Complicated setup
There is an over-abundance of settings, all of which are available at both course and site level. There are some capabilities to control access to settings for teachers, but these don't seem to do much and still leave too many settings. I personally would remove most of the settings from the course page and even most from the site level.
Documentation and help
Lots
  • Help strings on settings.
  • Docs, incl. video
  • There is a link to a README.md file from the settings pages (odd).
Usability
Poor
For students, the format is relatively easy to use, however, in it's default state it is very messy and inconsistent with themes. In order to get the appearance of the sections to be consistent with other formats, most of the settings needed to be changed and I applied a CSS hack has been applied to the Open all/Close all controls above to reduce their visual significance.
Tracker issues
Numerous issues, few open.
Tracker issues
Translations Lots
Basque, Catalan, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Lietuvių, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Spanish - Mexico
Dependencies None  
Error messages
None
I encountered an error message when testing this a couple of weeks ago. When I reported it to Gareth he fixed it fast.
Coding style
Problems
When run through the Code Checker, there were a number of issues. They were mostly formatting issues.
Themable
Not really
There are settings at site and course levels, but the course format should just follow the set theme.
Backup/restore
Basic

Performance
OK
 
Security
No risk
 
Tests
None
 
Accessibility
Concern
Keyboard accessible. Toggling sections doesn't seem to trigger ARIA events (based on code inspection).

To achieve a course format consistent with a standard theme, many changes from defaults were made. I think if this were to be included on a large site, modifications would need to be made to the code to reduce the number of settings and to establish appropriate defaults.

General recommendation: It's a useful plugin, but I wouldn't add it unless you are prepared to maintain a simplified version.