Review: OneTopic course format for Moodle 2

Today’s review Module is the OneTopic course format for Moodle 2. This module provides another useful  course format for those who want something different to the standard vertical topics or weekly formats.


This module for Moodle is created and maintained by David Herney Bernal from the Universidad de Antioquia in Colombia. This was added to the new plugins database on on September 26th. As for all the course format reviews, I used my standard Moodle2 demo course as the basis of the course.

What does it do?

The OneTopic course format presents the existing topics from a topics format course one at a time.. The topic names are shown above the topic content in tabs and each topic can be showed one at a time by clicking on the correct tab. It also keeps the focus on that one topic even when going in and out of resource/activities in the course.

Below I show 3 pictures of the same course. The first is a picture of topics format. The second is the picture of the Topics format, but focusing on one topic. The last picture is the OneTopic format.

Normal Topics View

Normal Topics View


Normal Topics View Focused

Normal Topics View Focused


OneTopic format

OneTopic format

There are two differences visible between image 2 and 3. Firstly the tabs are showing, and secondly the “topic 0” is not showing all the time which saves space.

Is it simple to install?

Yes. I downloaded the provided zip and extracted the onetopic folder. I unzipped it to create the onetopic directory. I just uploaded this folder into my course/format/ and it worked.

When installing the plug-in caused no errors and brought up no extra global settings.

Is there documentation for it?

The plug-ins page has a brief overview on the module and links to the website of the module (which is in Spanish) and a link to their bug tracker forum. Their site contains both the manual for the 1.9 and 2.0 version of the module in Spanish and English!

However, there is no README in the zip nor is there a Moodle Docs page about the format which would be good.

Is it easy for the teacher/admin to use?

Yes. I went into my topics course and set the format to OneTopic and saved. The normal topics view is gone and it is show focused on topic 0.

When I clicked on a tab name, the new topic loaded.

You can swap back to normal Topics format without losing the content base layout. This is an important feature of course formats.

Is it easy for the learner/student to use?

For the student, this is simple to use, click to navigate between the different topics. It really is simple. The state stays even when moving in and out of the activities which makes it all much better.

One thing that you will notice in the above picture is that if there are many topics, the tabs seem to overlap which may be just the theme I am using is not catering for the tabs.(which is a standard one).

Another thing which was unexpected was that the topic name isn’t shown with the content, it is just shown in the tab, although I imagine that might be an easy change to make.

Does it do what it promises?

Yes, this provides a nice simple  view of one topic whilst hiding topic 0 and making tabs for all the headings. I hope this is onward developed as I see it becoming a format many will want to use.

Stars: 3 out of 5


**Standard Reminder**

These reviews check out the plugin for usability not for security. If you are considering installing any module on your site you should also check that is secure and does not impact the server performance.

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