What formats are available for my course?

Valid for Moodle 2.8.  Updated on 7/20/2015.One of the first things you will need to do is to decide how you want to organize your course material. You can adjust the course structure by modifying the course settings. Moodle supports four basic course formats plus two more have been added.

All format has a general area at the top of the course for material that does not fit specifically into the rest of the course layout. For example, a course organized by weeks might put the syllabus, which is not tied to a specific week, in this area. This is also the area where you put a course banner.

Format Options


In the Weekly organization the course material is divided into sections that correspond to the weeks of the course. This is the currently default organization. The number of weeks is determined by the number of weeks for the course given in the course settings. The start date is also given in the course settings and every subsequent week starts seven days later. In the weekly format the current week is automatically highlighted for the students.

If there is material that doesn't belong in a specific week it can be included in either the top general section, or the course can be extended simply by increasing the number of weeks and adjusting the start date. See the page on combining weekly and topics format for more information.

If there is material that only relates to two or three weeks, such as a forum for a discussion that should be continued a second week, you can either direct the students to use the same forum for both weeks or, at the end of the first week, you can drag the forum into the second week.

Weekly format

In the topics organization the course is divided into sections based the topics in your course. This is very useful when the course breaks down into a few clearly defined sections and where the material under each topic is not excessive. What constitudes a "topic" is up to you. This format has the advantage that if the schedule slips you don't have to move content around. There is no auto-highlighting with this format but you can manually highlight each topic when appropriate.

If there is material that doesn't belong in a currently existing topic it can be included in either the general section at top, or the course can be extended simply by increasing the number of topics and the material added to a new topic build specifically for it.

Topic format
Single Activity

The Single Activity format allows you to present a highly truncated version of a course that consist of just one activity. This is useful, for example, if the only thing you plan on using Moodle for is a one discussion forum. You could also use if for a course that consist of nothing but a single quiz.

When you set the course format to single activity, you will have to specify the activity. Then the first time you go to the course you'll have to set up that activity. After that going to the course will immediatly drop you into that activity.


This turns the course into a single social forum. It's unclear how useful this would be for a real course, particularly as opposed to the Single Activity format.


The Onetopic Format presents only one section at a time.  Tabs along the top allow the user to quickly jump from one section to another.  In addition, links at the bottom of each section allow the user to go to the next or previous section.

One topic format

Collapsed Topics

With the Collapsed Topics format initially all of the sections of the course are reduced to headers. By clicking on the large triangle on the left, the contents of any section can be seen. It is possible to open as many sections at one time as you'd like.

collapsed topic format

This format has some very interesting options. Like all the formats, once selected in the course settings the settings display will change to display the appropriate optins. The collapsedTopic format has so many options that an entire new section, Collapsed Topics reset options, is added to the course settings.

Collapsed Topic settings
Collapsed Topic reset settings

Two of the options are of particular interest to many faculty members. The Set elements option allows you to set the content of the topic headers.

Set Elements options

The Set structure option allows for a change in how the material is presented. Dispite its name, collapsedTopic format can present material in a weekly format.

Set Structure options

The Current Week First option shows the students all the weeks up to the current week with the most recent weeks on top (blog order). Future sections are not shown.

Note that as the instructor, when you use this structure, you wouldn't actually see the change until after you turn editing off.