November 21, 2022, by Helen Whitehead
The Moodle Archive: What happens to old modules in Moodle?
You may be surprised to hear that modules that have been offered to students using Moodle are all kept. This means that we have “snapshot” copies of every module ever taught from when we first started using Moodle in 2011. This is an amazing resource of over 100,000 archived modules. In October we archived (most of) the modules from the academic year 21-22, but they’re still available for those who were originally enrolled on them. Students therefore retain access to modules from previous years, to refer to if they wish. Staff can look back at modules taught previously and can compare and contrast to inform improvements for the current cohort.
What is the Moodle archive?
We move modules into the archive generally in early October after the end of the academic year (e.g., 9th October 23 for 22-23 modules). The modules are moved into an archive category and become “read-only” – they can no longer be edited. Students and staff already enrolled on the module will continue to see the materials (it is not visible to others, such as the current year’s students), and they should be able to see them for as long as they have access to Moodle.
Why do we keep modules and archive them?
Our policy is to snapshot all modules exactly as taught – nothing (that was used during the year) should be hidden, removed or edited – that means we have a complete record to refer to in the case of queries, complaints and reviews.
Students can look back on previous modules to support their study in later years. Another advantage of keeping an archive of all taught modules, and not just recycling the modules as many educational institutions do, is for new members of staff. They can request to have view access to the previous years’ versions of the modules to help them plan their new version.
Does every module have to be archived at the same time?
Archiving can be delayed or temporarily reversed (unarchiving) in some circumstances, but all modules are archived as soon as possible. Masters modules are a classic example of delayed archiving: submission of dissertations is often in the autumn term, so the module may not be archived until November or December. Any editing teacher or staff with higher level Moodle access can delay archiving from within the module (Year End and Archiving block). There are risks associated with delayed archiving or unarchiving: for example, increasing the chances of accidentally editing an old module instead of a new one.
Does this affect where I see modules on my Dashboard?
Archiving does not affect how the Dashboard (My Modules) works in Moodle. You can choose to view:
- All your modules on your Moodle Dashboard, or
- Just Future ones – those that haven’t yet reached their Start date
- In progress – those between Start date and End date
- Past modules – those after their End date. These continue to be visible (unless their editing teachers decide otherwise), and the only effect of archiving is that you can no longer change anything in them, though you’re still free to refer to resources.
What do I need to do?
This does have one effect which means you need to take action. Once a module is archived, students cannot download submissions and marks. So, in the months before archiving – after the end of the academic year:
- STUDENTS – should download their marks and feedback.
- ACADEMIC AND ADMIN STAFF – Should download marks and feedback in bulk from Turnitin. Moodle assignments can be accessed in the archive.
For further information about archiving of modules, or access to any of them, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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