Moodle: Organize course by topics vs. weeks and collapsible topics

Organize by topics vs. weeks

Moodle gives you the option of setting up your course by topic/theme or by week. This allows you to customize the layout so that it is tailored to your course.

Before you start, you may need the following:

  • an Instructor of record or Other editing teacher role in a Bryn Mawr Moodle course.

To change this setting:

  1. Click (Actions menu) and choose “Edit Settings”.
  2. Look for the “Course Format” section. Click on the drop-down menu within 'Format' that will allow you to choose from “Topics Format” and “Weekly Format.” If you choose the ‘”Weekly Format,” your course will be organized according to week. Note: You should make sure that your course start date is correct if you choose this option (these settings will also be found on this page). For the “Topics Format,” you should make sure to set the amount of topics you will need. With both formats, you should set the number of weeks/topics to the correct number for your course.
  3. When you are done, click the “Save Changes” button. Now when you return to your course, your page should be organized in the format you have chosen. If you make a mistake or wish to change something later, you can always go back by restarting from step 1.

Collapsible topics

In previous versions of Moodle, course content for all week or topic sections had to be displayed on the main page of the course. For large sites, this resulted in a “scroll of death” to get to sections and resources at the end. The new Collapsible Topics format helps by making all sections (except section ‘0’ at the top of your page) collapsible links so that viewers can expand to see the content.

To change your course to the Collapsible Topics format:

  1. Open your course, click (Actions menu), and choose Edit Settings.
  2. Click Course Format to expand that section.
  3. From the Format drop-down menu, select Collapsed Topics.
  4. (Optional) You can use the settings below this menu to customize the look and behavior of the collapsed topics menu, for example:
    • Icon position (left, right)
    • Icon set (arrow, folder, etc.)
    • Whether to show the section summary when collapsed
    • Instructions for using collapsed topics
  5. Click Save and Return to Course to view your changes.
  6. The top section of the course should now be followed by a collapsed list of the remaining sections, as shown below. The exact look of the list will depend on your settings choices.

A screenshot of the open drop down menu showing all of the collapsed modules.

Warning: There have been alarming cases in which teachers have returned to a Moodle course with a Collapsible Topics format and found a significant chunk of content missing.

  • Instead, the number of course sections was reset to fewer than the actual number in the course, and the remaining sections were hidden from both students and teachers.
  • The workaround is to change the Course Format to Topics, save, and then change it back to Collapsible Topics.


If you have any additional questions or problems, don't hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk!

Phone: 610-526-7440 | Library and Help Desk hours
Email: help@brynmawr.eduService catalog
Location: Canaday Library 1st floor