Saturday, March 03, 2012

Moodle 2.0 Making the Leap at RSC

In common with a lot of colleges, universities and institutes running Moodle 1.x, we are now beginning to consider the way forward for migration to Moodle 2, not least because it seems support for Moodle 1.x will cease this coming summer.

To this end I was more then enthusiastic to get myself along the an RSC event in London ‘Moodle-2.0 Making the Leap’ the choice of title I was informed influenced in some part by the 29th February, I didn’t see that connection I must admit.

The event was enjoyable and very much worth the trip, presenters from colleges that already made the leap were there all giving presentation workshops on the themes of Pre migration, migration and post-migration. One measure I use as to how much these events are to me is in the amount of notes that I take, and on the way home I counted 13 full pages in the A5 notepad handed out to us, say no more.

While we had not actually set a fixed date for our own migration, one thing became clear, do it early, and that running it over the summer break was not going to be an option, users need to see it, try and get used to the new features.

There did emerge though two very strong approaches and these were:-

1: Simply run the upgrade process effectively replacing old with new. Assuming you are running it very much out of the box and so with little by way of customisation and integrated apps. Of course if you decide to take this option then it should go without saying that you make a secure backup of your old site and database first.

2: Create a brand new instance of the vle, while retaining the original and transfer courses over; this can be a lengthy process however, but it would be a good time to get users to decide just what material they really do wish to take forward. One college reported that only 45% of courses were actually required for the new system! On a really important note to remember though is that users and their data will not be included as part of the transfer.

Of course the big question ticking away in my mind is, what are the dangers?

Well it seems that file names can be a cause of some concern i.e much to long, the type of thing that can happen when you just save without naming and then the whole first sentence or more piles in, its happened to me. I also picked up concern over spaces and underscores, and need to look into that. If you read this blog regularly then you will no doubt have come across my posting some time ago, where I reported developing a new lesson plan where grouped content could be copy-n-pasted straight into a block. Well now it turns out that such practices can result in the upgrade process chucking such blocks all over the place, ouch.

A speaker from one of the colleges reported that nearly a third of courses failed to migrate! Basically if things get this bad then you could be in for some lengthy work in resolving and fixing the problem.

With regard to 3rd party plugins that you already have for Moodle 1.x these will likely not be available for Moodle 2.x, so do plan for this one.

There are a number of changes to the user interface with Moodle 2.x and in particular Files and Upload options, and this along with other changes is going to generate the need for some training. Speakers at the conference had approaches ranged from 2 hour to 45-minute sessions, but I guess that is going to be something everyone will adapt for themselves.

So is it worth the upgrade, well personally I think it is, Moodle 2.x comes with a lot of new and improved features and so I for one am looking forward to it.

Please stay in touch as we make that leap


Blogger Jacana said...

enjoyed your blog - thank you for all of the useful tips and info I picked up during my visit

5:27 AM  

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