E-Learning Unit


Changing the look of your course with formats

For: StaffApplication: Design and Build , QMplusTagged: baseline , course format , design

Course formats control the look and feel of your course area. The Collapsed topics format is the most commonly used format on QMplus and is what you will get by default when you have a new course area created. You can, however, change this through your course settings.

This guide describes the various options available for course formats and gives an overview of what each looks like.

Where to find the course formats setting

In your course area, on the right of the screen, go to Settings>Course administration>Edit settings

Scroll down to the Course format section and you will find the Format menu.

Grid format (QMUL)

Grid format (QMUL) allows you to create a more graphical navigation structure for your course area.

Each topic has an associated image which can be clicked on to access the contents. By default, clicking on one of the images brings up the contents of the topic on an overlay.

Accessibility note This lightbox functionality of the grid format is not accessible. If you are using this format, you should set the Course format setting to Show one section per page. This turns off the lightbox functionality.

Collapsed topics (QMUL)

This is the most commonly used format on QMplus and the one you will get by default when you have a new course area created.

In collapsed topics format, each topic in the course area has topic header. Clicking on the topic header collapses or expands the topic to reveal the content. You can collapse or expand all the topics at once by pressing the “Alt” key on your keyboard and right mouse click on the topic header at the same time.

Further improvements to the Collapsed Topics (QMUL) format

To provide more flexibility in structuring content in your QMplus areas, it is now possible to move sections into separate tabs. Watch this video to learn about how tabs look like. orĀ visit this page to find out more tabs.

Topics format (QMUL)

In Topics format (QMUL), each of the topics appears “open” on the page so you can see the contents. If you have a large number of topics in your course and/or a large number of items within topics, students can end up having to scroll up and down to page to find what they are looking for.

You can use this format with the “one section per page” option. See our guide on Reducing the length of your course page with one section per page for more details.

Weekly format (QMUL)

The Weekly format is very similar in look and feel to the Topics format described previously. Each topic appears “open”. As its name suggests, the weekly format assumes that each topic is related to a week of teaching. By default, each topic has a date as its title. QMplus uses the start date of the course to highlight the “current” week.

By default, the weekly format will use dates as the headings for each of the topics, you can choose to use titles instead. QMplus will still highlight the current week.

As with Topics format (QMUL) you can use the “one section per page” layout option with this format. See our guide on Reducing the length of your course page with one section per page for more details.


If you are using the weekly format, remember to set the start date for your course to the correct date. You will find this under Settings>Course administration>Edit settings

Single activity format

As its name suggests, the single activity course format is used in a course which revolves around one activity.

In the screenshot above, the course contains an assignment activity.

This format is very limited. You can only configure the activity, you cannot add blocks to the course area, there is no “Topic 0” or tab fucntionality.

Did this answer your query? If not, you can raise a ticket on the online Helpdesk or email: . Alternatively you can also request a particular guide or highlight an error in this guide using our guides request tracker.

Produced by the the E-Learning Unit at Queen Mary University of London.

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