Course formats: Collapsed Topics

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.
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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+.

REPORTING ISSUES: 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 'readme' 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:


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Gareth J Barnard
Gareth J Barnard (Lead maintainer)
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  • Gareth J Barnard
    Tue, 17 Jan 2017, 10:26 PM
    Hi Jürg,

    Most things are possible it is only a matter of time and therefore money. If you're the budget holder then I'd be happy to send you my rates and terms. Given the eTask format its something that I would probably add in a custom format for you.

    Kind regards,

  • Picture of Haley Ngonadi
    Tue, 24 Jan 2017, 10:03 PM
    Hi Gareth,

    This is an awesome, helpful plugin. Thank you very much. I have two questions: Is it possible to have the highlighted topic on top automatically? Also, how do I make sure that only one topic is open at a time.. In other words, if the student tries to open another topic while another is open, the first one should close.
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, 25 Jan 2017, 8:27 PM
    Hi Hayley,

    For 'highlighed topic' use the 'Current topic first' structure in the course settings.

    For 'only one topic at one time' - not at the moment. This would have to be a paid for enhancement. If you have a budget and control / authorisation for contracting me to add this for you then I'll work out a quote.

    Kind regards,

  • Picture of Mark DeLonge
    Thu, 23 Feb 2017, 1:05 AM
    Hello Gareth-

    This is a wonderful plugin that many of our instructors use. Is it possible to have the ability to have a picture be the background of a topic when collapsed rather than a color? Or to assign a small picture or icon as part of the topic as you have created in the Grid format?

    Thanks for your time,

  • Gareth J Barnard
    Thu, 23 Feb 2017, 1:15 AM
    Hi Mark,

    It all depends on if you want to hack the CSS with an image already on the server or have the functionality in the format. The former would take a little time to work out, the latter you are looking at many days development time. If you PM me then I can discuss rates and terms of business.

    Kind regards,

  • Picture of Annick F
    Tue, 14 Mar 2017, 7:20 PM
    Should you be able to have more that one column when using the collapsed topic format with Moodle 3.2? many thanks. Annick
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Tue, 14 Mar 2017, 9:10 PM
    Hi Annick,


    Kind regards,

  • Picture of james lunn
    Tue, 2 May 2017, 6:48 PM
    Hello, i'm new to this, I just installed collapsed topics folliwing the readme. it installed, I can adjust the settings, and when I am in my admin account and edit the course, I can see all the collapsed options. However, when I turn editing off or log in with a student account, I don't see any of the collapsed functionality. The primary reason I installed it was so students would see all of the topics expanded by default. Any thoughts?
  • Gareth J Barnard
    Wed, 3 May 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

  • Picture of Yamila Jara
    Sun, 14 May 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, 21 May 2017, 6:30 AM
    Hi Yamila,

    That can only be hidden with code changes.

    Kind regards,

  • Picture of Mike Wilday
    Fri, 26 May 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, 26 May 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,

  • Picture of Mark Glynn
    Fri, 23 Jun 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, 23 Jun 2017, 3:56 AM
    Hi Mark,

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

    Kind regards,

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