New Collapsed Topics Gets Moodle 3.5 Compatible But With An Old Friend Called ‘NumSections’

New Collapsed Topics Gets Moodle 3.5 Compatible And An Old Friend Called ‘NumSections’

A prolific citizen of the Moodleworld, Gareth Barnard recently presented the Collapsed Topics plugin, a popular course display and one of the key actors in eradicating the “scroll of death” in Moodle, that almost forgotten ailment caused by users having lots of past Moodle activities getting in the way of the active ones.

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In its latest release, Collapsed topics brings color and customization options, and brings refined compatibility with the default “Boost” theme, as well as the new generation of themes based on Bootstrap 4. Barnard credits the end product to a large group users who voiced their issues, wishes, and the odd complaint.

One of the curious issues Barnard had to deal with was Moodle’s “resolution” of the so-called NumSections situation. Traditionally, course formats like Topic and Week, as well as some additional ones added through plugins, offer the ability to set the NumSections variable, which decides the number of course activities shown on the page of the course in the set format. The existence of NumSections felt conflicted for many reasons, including because setting it to a value smaller than the amount of course activities would effectively hide as many items as whatever the difference between total items and NumSections was. But as it turned out, many teachers were using this difference as a method to hide activities. Even after Moodle 3.3 enabled “Stealth activities,” this was a preferred “hack” for many, who protested the fix by Moodle HQ as well as the removal of the NumSections variable in Collapsed topics. Long story short, NumSections is back.

Download and install the Collapsed topics plugin from the official Moodle Directory. ■

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