Feature Enhancement Proposal: Hide Sections from course outline

Status: Product definition


This document explains the need and specifications of a previously available feature called Hide_from_toc. This feature was never officially deprecated but it stopped working once the learning MFE was introduced.


As a teacher I don't have enough flexibility to create the structure of my course according to my particular needs, this prevents me from solving specific cases, trying new ways of teaching, being creative, experimenting, etc.

Key Use Cases

  • As the course author, I want to include some supplemental learning materials that are not considered part of the normal course flow, but are available for students to view and use if they have the correct URL, that I can place anywhere in the course where I see that it fits

  • As the course author, I want to hide a section from students in the course outline but allow them to access it via its URL. The grade that this section generated must be maintained for those students who completed it. and it must be reflected in the structure of notes and progress. If a student has not yet accessed this section, its record in the grades and progress structure will appear empty.

  • As a course author,  I often use open response assessment with multiple steps including: peer assessment, then self-assessment, then staff assessment. Due to the nature of this learning activities it may take several weeks for a learner to complete all the steps as the process happens asynchronously. However, I don't want the Learners to stop going through the learning sequence until the open response assessment activity is completely done,  instead I want them to continue with the sequence and be able to revisit the ORA activity  from time to time.  I've noticed that it is confusing for the learner to have the ORA placed in one particular section. If there was a way I would prefer to have this ORA  disconnected from the Course outline, and I would build a custom page to present the information about the ORA activity and link to it appropriately.

  • As a course author, I crafted a book resource with orientation materials for online students. My main goals are to ensure that students engage with the book and also participate in the practice activities. To achieve this I want to keep the book available in the course outline and within it link to the hidden practice activities. This maintains a cohesive learning experience and prevents students from skipping the book and going directly to the practice activities.


In the settings of the sections, in the visibility segment, we will add an option called "Hide in the course outline but available via shared link". When activated, that section will be hidden from the course outline for the students, but it can be accessed by them if they have the URL.

You can see the change in the following prototype: https://www.figma.com/proto/qYJv1B3LkiB6YXMntXQNIx/Hide-from-table-of-contents?type=design&node-id=63-1690&t=1eOrUZ2ayohiRInm-1&scaling=scale-down&page-id=63%3A1687&starting-point-node-id=63%3A1690

  • In the prototype you can hide the section "Mechanics and Biomechanics " and see how the Studio interface reacts and explains to the author how the hidden sections and subsections work.


  • If you go to the "Newton's laws of motion" subsection and click on the "View Live Version" button you can see how a student would see that individual subsection, without breadcrum and without the ability to jump between subsections.

  • By clicking on the "View Live" button you can see what the course outline looks like in the LMS from the point of view of a staff user and from the point of view of a learner


Other topics

  • In other aspects such as course progress, ORA activities and grades, these hidden sections will continue to behave like any other. Really the only difference will be that they will not appear in the course outline.

  • Breadcrumbs will disappear from hidden sections.

  • It will not be possible to move between subsections of a hidden section. The "next" and "previous" buttons will be disabled in those cases.

  • If a learners wants to continue with their normal flow they must do so from the course outline of the course.

  • Course authors will be able to see hidden content in both LMS and Studio with the following message

Access to this functionality by roles in Studio


Can see

Can use


Can see

Can use










Technical solution

The learning microfrontend will be improved to make it recognize the Hide_from_toc option in the chapter and act accordingly

The studio interfaces for adjusting the visibility settings for sections will be improved to allow the course author to set this property.

Additional information

This feature request is aligned with the open edX for campus initiative 2023,  so as long as the issue can be discussed,  prioritized, and approved during Q3 or Q4 2023,  edunext will contribute all the product and technical implementation effort.

Other relevant LMS also cover this need as described below:


Plan for long-term ownership/maintainership

eduNEXT is commited to build and contribute this work as part of the unidigital (spanish government) project. As part of that commitment, edunext would commit to maintain the feature for a minimum of 2 years and after that, either find a suitable maintainer to hand it over to, or to follow a the deprecation procedure in case the feature has any inconvenience or its maintenance is a burden that no one can carry.