In November 2007 the University started using Moodle version 1.9 with various customisations to suit our needs and requirements. The WCEL team manage the site and have ensured new stable releases were implemented as released by the community.
We had 12 months to ensure our customisation were upgraded to meet the needs of the much anticipated Moodle 2.0 version, which was released in late 2010. Developments were made and a pilot run in B Semester with about a dozen staff to test the functionality and customisations of our Moodle 2 code. Feedback was positive and after a series of upgrade tests we implemented Moodle 2 in October ready for our November 2011 Summer School.
With the site and all existing papers now upgraded to the new version of Moodle staff are settling into the changes with some very keen to explore the new features and functionality yet to be enabled.
The University selected Moodle as the centrally supported Learning Management System to replace Class Forum. We contracted Catalyst IT to assist with the development of several UOW customisations and implemented Moodle version 1.9 in November 2007, several months before it was officially released. The WCEL Team look after the system and regularly implement new stable releases as they are made available by the community. Including these enhancements, bug fixes and new features ensures our users are provided with a stable and modern eLearning environment.
I helped with the community Moodle 2.x testing process since August 2010 and tried hard to keep up to date with the progress of this major new version. Moodle 2.0 was released in November 2010 and over the year my WCEL colleague Troy worked hard to develop our customisations. Together we ensured the UOW Moodle customisations were prioritised, upgraded and tested successfully.
In April and May 2011 we sought staff who wished to pilot Moodle 2 in their B Semester teaching via official communication methods and staff briefing sessions. These staff were provided with Moodle 2 specific training sessions during June and the Student Help files were updated to ensure students had appropriate reference material throughout the pilot.
The new version of Moodle was piloted in B Semester with about a dozen academic staff and nearly 600 students. Feedback received was positive and helped ensure our customisations were compatible and the new Moodle features were supported. The pilot was hosted on a different Moodle site to ensure existing papers were not affected. This caused minor confusion with some students involved in the pilot, however a clear link returning them to the ‘normal’ Moodle site was provided.
Moodle 2 Go-live
The upgrade plan included placing the existing 1.9 Moodle site into maintenance mode for approximately one hour during which time we created a copy to be upgraded. The existing system was then made available in Read Only mode while we worked on upgrading the copy. We accomplished this by altering the Authenticated User role to prohibit relevant editing and participation capabilities. These prohibits then overrode any other role’s capabilities. This allowed staff and students to access resources during the upgrade, without the ability to make any edits (eg. forum posts, grading assignments) as these would not be in the copy we upgraded and as such would have been lost. The copy was then upgraded and tested before being made available again the following afternoon, Wednesday 26th October 2011.
Not all new Moodle 2 features were released to staff at this time as it was decided to allow staff time to adjust to the new file system and navigation. Course Completion and Selective Release will be made available University wide in the near future.
Business as Usual
With Moodle 2 now running in production all training and help material has been updated. A number of two hour upskill workshops were initially run to ensure staff were comfortable with the major changes to Moodle and the standard Moodle workshops that are run throughout the year will continue. Course Completion and Selective Release will be made available in the coming weeks, once staff are comfortable with the new file system, navigation and interface. Minor upgrades will be implemented as new stable versions of Moodle are released with the plan of moving to the relevant stable version in November of each year.