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Moodle Environment Overview

This last year has seen substantial changes to the structure of our Moodle environment with the running of both a “Legacy” and a “New” Moodle environment to enable the transition from the previous module coding structure to that delivered by the Academic Model Project.

This period of dual running two “live” Moodle instances will come to a close with the completion of the Moodle 2019 summer upgrade on the 26th of July, when we will return to one “live” instance of Moodle for the coming year 2019/20 and read only snapshots of the previous five years Moodles. The new 18/19 Snapshot will remain read/write however until the 20th September for the reasons detailed below.

End of Year Moodle Processes

It is standard practice that end of year Moodle processes undertaken by course teams (e.g. course resets, new course creations, examination board reviews) begin to occur after the Moodle upgrade date. This is because the upgrade date is also when the yearly Moodle Snapshot is taken to capture a point in time copy of the previous year’s courses. The departmental teams can then be confident to work on these processes without any data loss as per our normal guidance https://wiki.ucl.ac.uk/x/bR88AQ

However this year 18/19 sees a significant increase and change in practice to the late summer assessments process (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/academic-manual/recent-changes/late-summer-assessments-2018-19).

Change in Practice of Moodle Use and Late Summer Assessments

To facilitate the changing combination of required end of year tasks in combination with the late summer assessments, we now request that all late summer assessments take place within the 18/19 Moodle Snapshot that will be created on the 26th of July 2019.

The reason why we are asking that you follow this guidance is as follows:

  • All associated course content and student/cohort data will remain consistent and associated with the correct Moodle snapshot in this case 18/19
  • Completing late summer assessment within the 18/19 Snapshot allows all the “live” Moodle courses to be reset and normal end of year course activities to take place from the 29th July, so course teams can begin immediately on 19/20 courses
  • Additional Moodle course creation is kept to a minimum within the live Moodle instance, and aids in Moodle housekeeping activities (reducing dead/unwanted courses, improving long term database performance).

What are we doing to facilitate this change?

  • The Moodle 18/19 Snapshot will remain read/write until the 20th September 2019 (2 weeks after the final assessment date for late summer assessments)
  • Digital Education will retain the current two Moodle selection/landing screen however, it will be re-purposed to direct students to the Snapshot Moodle for late summer assessments
  • Digital Education will create a global banner within “live” Moodle directing students to the Snapshot for the duration of the late summer assessment period
  • Digital Education will place other redirection adverts/links within “live” Moodle to highlight to students that late summer assessment activities can be found within the 18/19 Snapshot

How can you prepare for Late Summer Assessments?

If you wish to prepare in advance courses that will have late summer assessments requirements, we recommend the following: –

Within any course where late summer assessments will be taking place create a hidden section and place any material or submission points within that section. This can be done in the current “live” Moodle up until the 26th July 2019 as preparation. Alternatively, it can be done within the 18/19 Snapshot which will be available on the 27th July 2019.

When you are ready to make late summer assessment material/submission points available simply unhide the section within the course on the 18/19 Snapshot.

Details on how to create and hide sections within Moodle can be found in the following miniguide: https://wiki.ucl.ac.uk/x/RgxiAQ

For any questions regarding Moodle and Late Summer Assessments please email digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk.

Timeline for Dates

Late Summer exam period will be from the 19 August - 06 September 2019. Moodle Snapshot will become read-only on the 20th September 2019.
If you have any assessments after this period - October onwards, these should follow normal processes and must run on live Moodle as Snapshot cannot be kept open after 20th September.

FAQs

 What is changing and why?

This year 18/19 sees a significant increase and change in practice to the late summer assessments process (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/academic-manual/recent-changes/late-summer-assessments-2018-19). To facilitate the changing combination of required end of year tasks in combination with the late summer assessments, we now request that all late summer assessments take place within the 18/19 Moodle Snapshot that will be created on the 26th of July 2019.

The reason why we are asking that you follow this guidance is as follows:

  • All associated course content and student/cohort data will remain consistent and associated with the correct Moodle snapshot in this case 18/19
  • Completing late summer assessment within the 18/19 Snapshot allows all the “live” Moodle courses to be reset and normal end of year course activities to take place from the 29th July, so course teams can begin immediately on 19/20 courses
  • Additional Moodle course creation is kept to a minimum within the live Moodle instance, and aids in Moodle housekeeping activities (reducing dead/unwanted courses, improving long term database performance).
 Does this change affect all courses which run over the Summer?

No, this change is ONLY for late summer assessments (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/academic-manual/recent-changes/late-summer-assessments-2018-19). This change does not apply to any modules which have always run over the summer or any postgraduate modules which finish later on in the year. For these modules please follow your normal processes.

 What is a Snapshot of Moodle?

The snapshot (previously know as the Archive) is a 'point-in-time' copy of UCL Moodle (http://moodle.ucl.ac.uk) taken for reference purposes. All records present on this date will be included in the snapshot. This includes, but is not limited to, course content, i.e. resources and activities, and stored records, i.e. forum posts, assignments and grades. Modifications are made to ensure staff and students are moved into read-only roles. If the Late Summer Assessments does not apply to you course, students can view content but not take part in any two-way activities (quizzes, forums, assignments etc). While this retains most of their respective functionality, it prohibits further editing or changes to course content, grades and enrolments. The purpose is to retain an accessible digital record of each course for students and staff. Courses will be kept in the archive for up to five years.

To find out important dates relating to Moodle Upgrade, Snapshots, Late Summer Assessments 2019, please visit: https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/digital-education/2019/06/21/moodle-upgrade-and-late-summer-assessments-2019/

 I run a postgraduate module with Dissertations/Assessments due in the Summer (after 26th July) do I direct my students to the 18/19 snapshot?
No, this change does not affect you and you can follow your usual processes unless your PGT Module is running a late summer assessment and would normally finish before July.
 The snapshot becomes read-only on the 20th September, however we need to grade our students for late summer assessments after this. Can you advise us what to do?

If this is the case please send an email to digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk closer to the time and we will accommodate your needs.

 How will my students know that they have to submit their assessment on the 18/19 snapshot?
We will be creating signage on the front page of Moodle as well as directing students from Moodle to the Snapshot to take any Late Summer Assessments. You can either add a notice on your course if you like on the live moodle once we upgrade or hide your course to avoid confusion. See below the steps we plan to take:
  • Digital Education will retain the current two Moodle selection/landing screen however, it will be re-purposed to direct students to the Snapshot Moodle for late summer assessments
  • Digital Education will create a global banner within “live” Moodle directing students to the Snapshot for the duration of the late summer assessment period
  • Digital Education will place other redirection adverts/links within “live” Moodle to highlight to students that late summer assessment activities can be found within the 18/19 Snapshot
 I want to create the assessments for my Late Summer Assessments. When can I do this?

You do not need to wait until the snapshot is taken and can prepare your assessments earlier. Within your course where late summer assessments will be taking place, create a hidden section and place any material or submission points within that section. This can be done in the current “live” Moodle up until the 26th July 2019. Alternatively, it can be done within the 18/19 Snapshot which will be available on the 17:00 Saturday 27th July.

When you are ready to make late summer assessment material/submission points available simply unhide the section within the course on the 18/19 Snapshot.

Details on how to create and hide sections within Moodle can be found in the following UCL Moodle Guides: M01 - Moodle course structure#Moodlecoursestructure-Hidesectionsonmycourse

 My assessment is due on the 26th July (or a week before the upgrade), do I mark on the snapshot? Where do I give students feedback?

If your assessment is due on the 26th July you may have extension requests or extenuating circumstances which mean your students will need to submit their assignment somewhere. We advice in this case that you do this on live Moodle and grade/provide feedback on live Moodle.

The changes are only being made to Late summer assessments modules. If your assignment finishes at the end of June 2019 and you have all your submissions submitted and ready to grade. You can choose to grade your students on live moodle after the upgrade OR the snapshot. This is entirely upto you and you can follow your old process if this is easier.

 If the snapshot occurs in July, when or how does the Turnitin submissions, get captured that occurs between August and end of September 2019?

The new 18/19 Snapshot will remain read/write editable until the 20th September 2019. Changes made on the new 18/19 Snapshot will need to made before this date.

 Can students submit their assignments on legacy Moodle 17/18, once the legacy platform becomes a Moodle snapshot?

No, after the 7th July 2019 Legacy Moodle becomes a read-only snapshot. Late Summer Assessments can only take place on Moodle 18/19 Snapshot up until 6th September 2019, with a grace period of 2 weeks after the final assessment date for marking late summer assessments.

 I cannot guarantee that all marking will be completed by 20th September, do I create the submission on my live course would we then unenroll them after the 2019/20 Moodle snapshot?

If you are anticipating your marking will not be completed before 20th September 2019, we would suggest duplicating your course on live Moodle and rename this course to for example  ‘Course name 1819 Dissertations'. By doing this you will not have to remove the dissertation students and they will be captured in 2020 Moodle snapshot as a separate course.

 I have a Late Summer Assessments on Moodle 18/19, can I do my marking after the 20th September 2019?

If you have any assessments after this period - October on wards, please continue to use live Moodle following normal processes, as Snapshot cannot be kept open after 20th September 2019.

 Do I have to wait for the Moodle Snapshot to be taken on the 26th July before I start editing my course for the next academic year?

You do not need to wait until the snapshot is taken and can prepare your course materials earlier. To do this create a hidden section and place any material or submission points within that section. This can be done in the current “live” Moodle up until the 26th July 2019. Alternatively, it can be done within the 18/19 Snapshot which will be available on the 17:00 Saturday 27th July.

When you are ready to make course material/submission points available simply unhide the section within the course on the 18/19 Snapshot.

Details on how to create and hide sections within Moodle can be found in the following UCL Moodle Guides: UCL Moodle Guides: M01 - Moodle course structure#Moodlecoursestructure-Hidesectionsonmycourse

 What dates should I avoid scheduling in any specific Moodle activities such as submissions deadlines or time bound Moodle activities?

Moodle is unavailable from 17:00, Friday 26th July17:00 Saturday 27th July. However, due to the complex nature of the Moodle upgrade the service should be considered at RISK from 17:00, Friday the 26th until 08:00, Monday 29th July. We strongly advise that you avoid this period for any specific Moodle activities such as submissions deadlines or time bound Moodle activities.

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