By Domi C Sinclair, on 21 July 2015
With a new academic year approaching after the summer, it is time to spring clean your Moodle courses. Old students need to be removed and (if used) the Portico block needs to be re-activated to bring in the 2015/16 cohort of students. Time to reset and refresh your Moodle courses.
Whether you are new to this process or not you might have some questions about what needs to happen and why. I will address those below. Please check with your departmental admins if they have any specific year-end procedures in place. Of course if after reading this you are still unsure, or have any other Moodle questions please contact the E-Learning Environments team.
Why we need to do a course reset?
Course resets are an essential part of the Moodle housekeeping process because they:-
- Clear out old student data. (Don’t worry about this being lost – see information about the Moodle Snapshot below)
- Remove current students’ permissions from Moodle courses (so old and new students aren’t mixed together).
- Keep our campus licensing agreements at the correct level.
- Makes existing/current courses easier to manage and less prone to errors.
What happens if we do not do course resets?
- We build up irrelevant data in the live database. Moodle still has to sort through this before returning page requests, this slows down Moodle for everyone.
- We have to count these expired students against our Licensing for systems such as Turnitin, which increase our costs.
But how do I do a course reset?
Instructions on how to do a reset are located here in the UCL Moodle Resource Centre wiki.
Please note that courses with a Turnitin v2 assignment may produce the following error message when resetting: “Default exception handler: Coding error detected, it must be fixed by a programmer”. This does not prevent the course successfully resetting and we are currently working to stop the error message.
The Moodle Snapshot (previously called archive)
For anyone worried about a loss of historical data, please remember on the 17th July 2015 we took the Moodle annual snapshot. This snapshot is a point in time capture of Moodle including all the student data, that is set in a read only mode for you to access as required as a separate instance from live Moodle (previous instances are located here http://moodle-snapshot.ucl.ac.uk/).
My Course requires a reset at a different period of the year (Postgraduate courses etc.). What do I do?
For those courses such as Post-graduate, medical and other non-standard timetabled courses and modules please see the following guidance page.
What about Portico mappings?
Many courses have a mapping set up between Moodle and Portico to enable the automatic enrolment of students. Course admins can now manage this process via the Portico enrolment block.
During the Snapshot/Upgrade period, portico enrolment mappings for all courses were deactivated. This means that the nightly synchronization between Moodle and Portico enrolments has ceased to happen. It is the individual course teams’ responsibility to manually turn on, or re-activate, their Portico mappings via the Moodle block. You can find out how to do this from the guidance in the Moodle Resource Centre wiki.
For courses that follow a standard undergraduate timetable, it is advisable to wait until after the Portico year-end on the 3rd August to reactivate your enrolment mappings. See the reset guidance in the wiki.
For courses that don’t follow a standard undergraduate timetable, it is up to the course owner whether you want to reactivate your enrolment mappings. If the class list is stable and you aren’t expecting any further enrolments or unenrolments, then you can safely leave them deactivated. See the alternative guidance in the Moodle Resource Centre wiki.
In either case re-activating Portico enrolments will remove any existing students on the Moodle course who are no longer in the Portico list for that course. It is for this reason we advise you only turn the mappings on after you have reset the course.
We greatly appreciate your help in this activity any questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org