Goodbye to Moodle Snapshots!!
By Jason R Norton, on 11 May 2022
From this summer (2022) there will be NO Moodle snapshot taking place. The current “live” Moodle will be the only Moodle going forward and all courses (past, current, and future) from this point will be located within that single instance of Moodle.
What does this mean?
- There will not be a Late Summer Assessment (LSA) Moodle instance. All Moodle related LSA work will take place in the main Moodle.
- A new category structure will be created based on SITS categories each Academic Year in Moodle.
- All courses starting within a particular Academic Year will be located within the new category structure for that year.
- The course “rollover” functionality will shortly be made available in Moodle. This tool will facilitate the “Rollover” of courses from one year to another.
- Moodle Courses will no longer be reset, they will be “rolled over” into the next academic year and the original kept as a historic record of assessment and for student access.
Why are you getting rid of the Moodle Snapshot?
Moodle Snapshots have been taken historically for two key reasons: –
- Provide students with access to their previous years course content.
- Meet our statutory obligations to hold electronic assessments and feedback in line with the UCL data retention policy.
However, creating a Snapshot Moodle generates a series of issues, especially since the introduction of Late Summer Assessment period in 2018.
- Confusion by both staff and students over which Moodle they should be accessing
- Two live platforms to support and maintain
- Complex administration processes
- Duplicate courses in “live” and Snapshot Moodle
- Fixed deadlines for course teams to complete Snapshot activities so the Snapshot can made read only.
By moving to one instance of Moodle with a new annual category structure we can accommodated the two primary reasons and reduce or mitigate the associated issues.
It will also allow us to build on exisiting features in Moodle such as Global Search, and allow staff and students to eventually search across multiple years of content. Using the now mandatory course start and end date will enable us to enhance and develop the Moodle user dashboard, so users will be able to view past, current and future courses at the click of a button.
The New Category Structure
The new structure will be created annually by the Digital-Education team as soon as taught Modules are confirmed in SITS as being available in the next academic year. The structure created will be based on SITS data. This should ensure that courses are created within their correct location based upon the selection of the Module occurrence/mapping within the CLC-Tool. An example of this new structure is displayed below:
The Course Life Cycle (CLC) Tool (first release)
This plugin will allow you to “rollover” any single course into the new category structure, based upon its SITS module occurrence. Course Administrators and Tutors will access this tool from the administration block, and will be walked through a series of steps to confirm information such as course mappings, catagory and course start/end date, before activating the “rollover” process.
The previous “original” course can then continue to be used until the course completes. In previous years using a snapshot this would be restricted to the end of November when we would make the entire Moodle read only.
Below are the three steps of the course rollover tool (please note these are development screenshots and layout and text is still subject to change)
Guidance and support documentation for the Course Rollover plugin will be released shortly. We plan to make the plugin live in Moodle on the 1st June 2022
Development of the Course Life Cycle Tool?
The CLC tool that we are releasing is our “Minimal Viable Product”, this version contains all the features and functions that we believe are the essential for course teams to Rollover their courses.
This however is not the final version, and our development team will continue to enhance the current functionality and add new features.
On our development roadmap we have the following features to add post initial release.
- UI/UX changes based on intial release feedback
- Bulk “rollover” of courses group and/or selection
- Automated new course creation
- Course level read-only function and automation
- Lecturecast link “rollover” function
Removal of the Course Reset Function
As part of the move to course “Rollover”, the Moodle course reset function will be removed on Friday the 13th of May. Using the Course Life Cycle tool will include reset functionality to create the new version of the course, while maintaining the data integrity of the originating course.
What about the existing Snapshot Moodles?
The existing Snapshot instances will be maintained inline with the UCL retention policy of six plus current academic year before being deleted.
How do I make my course read only?
Courses cannot at this point be made read only. Our development team is currently working to release an addition to the CLC-Tool to do this function. Courses can still be hidden.
Why can I not reset my course?
To ensure that we do not suffer any accidental data loss, we will be removing the course Reset function as courses will now be “rolled over” with the CLC-Tool and not reset. If you feel that you require a specific course reset please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Who can use the new Course Life Cycle Tool?
Access to the Course Life Cycle Tool and rollover functionality will be restricted to the Course Administrator and Tutor role in Moodle.