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    Archive for the 'Jason’s Jottings' Category

    Summer Works – New Data Centre, Moodle Snapshot and Upgrade.

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 3 February 2016

     

    This year UCL Information Services Division (ISD) is closing one of its data centres in London and relocating the technology and services that run from that location to a new state of the art facility in Slough.  This is a major undertaking by ISD and nearly all services from finance and HR through to the Digital Education services such as Moodle, Lecturecast and MyPortfolio are impacted.

    In order to complete this exercise all Digital Education services will be required to have a limited period of downtime to make the switch from one location to another.

    To ensure we minimise the downtime and to avoid two shut-down dates, we intend to combine the migration exercise with our normal yearly upgrade and snapshot process.

    As you may be aware from previous years, we normally advertise a period of 5 days of possible outage for our major Moodle upgrade (Friday evening till Wednesday Morning). This year we intend that this period will remain unchanged and that we will complete both the snapshot, upgrade and the data centre migration within the 5 day period. It will be our intention to restore services as early as possible within this 5 day window.

    Moodle Snapshot and Upgrade

    In response to the survey that went out to all our Moodle course tutors and administrators asking for your least inconvenient downtime window we had 201 respondents, I thank all of your who responded for doing so.

    There is never going to be one date that is ideal for all users, however the survey does highlight the dates which would appear to have the least impact for the most number of users. We have also run internal reports within Moodle to identify the period with the least or no current Moodle/Turnitin submissions planned.

    The selected date range is from: 6pm Friday 22nd July > 12pm Wednesday 27th July 2016

    Please let me make it clear that the period that students will be without ANY access to Moodle will be less than 24 hours (Friday evening > Saturday lunch time). This is the time taken for the team to create the Snapshot which is then made immediately available.

    The Snapshot is a complete copy of the live Moodle and provides students with “read only” access to ALL of the material they had prior to the snapshot being taken.

    What the Snapshot does not provide is the ability for students to take part in activities, add to or change Moodle for example the following activities cannot be done:-

    • Submission of assignments via either Moodle or Turnitin
    • Quiz based activity
    • Posting new forum topics or replies

    Please take account of this when planning Moodle activities during this period.

    After the Snapshot is made available there will be a period of time when the current, live version of Moodle is unavailable to allow for the upgrade and migration to take place.  During this time, students will be immediately redirected to this version upon entering the normal Moodle URL.

    The publicised outage will be until 12pm Wednesday 27th July, as this “at risk period” is required in case any issues arise. The “at risk period” should be treated as if the service were unavailable and no Moodle dependant activities planned for that period.

    If the chosen date range affects your course significantly in regard to Moodle usage that cannot be resolved by the use Snapshot e.g. a critical assignment submission or Moodle Exam date that cannot be altered, please contact us at digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk and we will work with you to provide the best possible alternative solution for your requirements.

    Games, gamification and games-based learning SIG

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 18 June 2015

    Do you have an interest in games, gamification and games-based learning?

    If so we would be really interested in hearing from you, we are looking to put together a special interest group at UCL around these areas. The aim of the SIG will be to encourage interaction and discussion on these topics and others, ranging from research on games and play to their implementation within teaching practice (plus hopefully have a bit of fun along the way).

    Please join via our Moodle page if you are interested in taking part along and we will arrange an initial meeting of the group soon.

    ELE Service Desk Changes

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 18 December 2014

    We would like to inform you of changes that are being made to the E-learning Environments (ELE) first line support service.

    In line with wider changes within ISD to move towards the ITIL model of single service desk provision, ELE are moving to a second line support/resolution team role.

    As from Friday the 19th of December, all phone queries for E-learning Environments are to be made via the UCL ISD Service Desk on 25000. The current ELE direct service number #65678 will also direct users to the ISD service desk.

    The ISD service desk staff will record your issue/request and where appropriate resolve specific tasks for which they have been trained. Items outside of this area will be passed via the ISD support ticketing system directly to the ELE Core Services team for resolution.

    If you have a query that can be emailed, please continue to use the ele@ucl.ac.uk address. This email address goes directly to the E-learning Environments Core Services team ticketing system, where it will be prioritised and resolved by a member of the E-learning team.