Course formats: Collapsed Topics

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.
4841 sites
99 fans
Current versions available: 19

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
    Thu, Jul 19, 2018, 5:55 AM
    Hi Jose,

    Purge all caches.

  • Picture of Steve Radford
    Fri, Jul 27, 2018, 5:03 PM
    Hi Gareth,

    Are you able to explain the difference between this plugin and the Collapsible topics format (format_collapsibletopics) plugin please?

    Thanks in advance,

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Sat, Jul 28, 2018, 1:04 AM
    Hi Steve,

    I see you've already posted the same question here: and got a response. Collapsed Topics supports both Bootstrap 2.3.2 and 4, has remembered toggle states and lots of additional functionality.

  • Picture of Steve Radford
    Mon, Jul 30, 2018, 4:26 PM
    Thanks Gareth
  • Picture of pgmoodle dundee
    Wed, Jan 9, 2019, 12:01 AM
    We are using a plug-in called Collapsed Topics

    Is there a way of changing all topics in all courses from horizontal to vertical all at once?

    Or is the only way by making this change individually in each module?

    Kind regards
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Thu, Jan 10, 2019, 8:11 PM
    Hi Usman,

    Yes there is. Look in the course settings.

    Kind regards,

  • Picture of Rob Reilly
    Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 5:56 PM
    Hi Gareth
    Is there a way to remove the radio button on the right of each collapsed topic title (hovering shows "view only 'Topic ..'")?
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Sun, Feb 3, 2019, 7:14 PM
    Dear Rob,

    The radio button on the right of each toggle is an integral part of the synergistic cohesive solution that Collapsed Topics provides as it deviates down a different path from what is provided in the core formats pertaining to the different and sometimes confusing views that can be established upon the same format with no immediate way of the user being able to change between them and thus getting frustrated.

    Kind regards,

  • Picture of Samuli Karevaara
    Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 6:10 PM
    All topics can be open by default, but can I set individually which topic would be open by default? Usually just the topic 1 would be open by default, rest you need to click open.
  • Picture of Angela Cristina Contreras
    Tue, Feb 19, 2019, 1:39 AM
    Hi Gareth,

    The plugin was working good on 3.5 moodle version, we did the upgrade to 3.6 and the titles are showing short:
    Any ideas?
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Tue, Feb 19, 2019, 2:03 AM
    Hi Angela,

    The theme is broken / does not support CT. I only support core / my own themes. The developer needs to perform the correct renderer method overrides for the row and column methods.

  • Picture of Paul Nijbakker
    Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 5:24 PM
    Hi Gareth,

    Thanks for your work on this plugin. We have been using it for many years. Recently, (since our upgrade to Moodle 3.4 I believe). The colour settings of the format have been seemingly spontaneously resetting to the site default in some courses. I have not been able to find out what triggers this. Do you have a suggestion?

  • Picture of Jose Luis Martin Jimenez
    Thu, May 16, 2019, 8:03 PM
    My Moodle 3.5.4 site was working fine with the version (2018052302) of this plugin.
    Yesterday I updated to Moodle 3.5.6, but today I have realized that the automated cron (Ubuntu 16.04) doesn't work anymore.
    When I try to run the cron manually, I get this error:

    ..!!! Excepción - Too few arguments to function format_topcoll::get_section_dates(), 1 passed in [dirroot]/analytics/classes/local/indicator/community_of_inquiry_activity.php on line 840 and exactly 3 expected !!!

    I have unistalled this plugin (Collapsed Topics) and the cron works again.
    Is it a bug of the version?

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Thu, May 16, 2019, 10:56 PM
    Dear Jose,

    Bug of CT = no, bug of Moodle = Yes, please see: and

  • Picture of Jose Luis Martin Jimenez
    Tue, May 21, 2019, 2:46 PM
    Thank you, Gareth.
    I'll be watching for resolution of this bug.
    José Luis
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