Enable the use to set the initial display of the list as collapsed
All sections will be collapsed and the user will then expand the relevant section (or all section).
Lyn Porteous commented
Alternatively display a help bubble which highlights the collapse sections icon every time a student/instructor enters a list. Students do not find this facility themselves but we can see the reluctance of Ex Libris not to collapse the sections automatically on the grounds of user experience.
Chris Jones commented
The collapsed list section titles act like an index or table of contents to a list overall, so it is really much more helpful to present the collapsed list structure to an end user, so they have a visual summary of the contents and can determine which section/s to expand.
For any list which has >1 section it would generally seem better to auto-collapse the whole list. As much as anything the space on screen is an issue - for a list which has 2 sections, and each section has >2 items soon starts to fill the screen. We find many lists have 5-12 sections each with multiple items. The only alternative is to create multiple lists for a course.