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Annual administration cycle

This guide describes the way that Moodle is administered. It can be helpful for staff to understand some of the processes that are taken behind the scenes in Moodle.

Moodle spaces (typical)

Each unit of an undergraduate or postgraduate course is recorded in SAMIS and will have a corresponding Moodle space automatically created for it.  Each SAMIS unit of study has a nominated Unit Convenor who is allocated a Teacher+ role in Moodle and has responsibility for developing and maintaining their Moodle spaces (content and activities).

Units are typically delivered in Semester 1 (S1), Semester 2 (S2) or across the full Academic Year (AY). See period slot codes for more information. Additionally, some course teams like to have a ‘course level’ Moodle space, and this is possible via two methods:

  1. If a course in SAMIS has a Director of Studies listed, a Moodle space will be automatically created with the relevant SAMIS course code. This will automatically enrol all students listed against that course code. This is particularly useful if a course hub space is required for students across all years of a course.
  2. A new space can be created (by the TEL team) and student enrolments can be mapped to it via the SAMIS Integration block. This is particularly useful if a course hub space is required for a specific year group in a course.

The following timeline describes the annual process for units that are delivered through semester 1 and 2. At each point along the timeline, advice is provided.

Moodle spaces (non-typical)

There are some courses that do not follow the ‘typical’ annual pattern of delivery. For example, PGT courses run their dissertation units from May to October, and some pre-sessional units run over the summer. In these cases, there are some additional issues to be aware of, and to plan for.

It is important therefore that Unit Convenors are aware that:

  • access to Moodle during the upgrade process will be read-only, and may be unavailable completely for short periods
  • submissions made to Moodle, after the snapshot, will not be captured in the Moodle archive
  • students on these courses/units will be automatically unenrolled according to the SAMIS slot code before the next snapshot, and so there will be no evidence of student activity in any Moodle archive

Recommended: It is worth checking the SAMIS integration mapping to ensure cohorts are enrolled in Moodle with the correct period slot code.  For example, the DIS (Dissertation) mapping will ensure students are enrolled from May-October.  You can extend the end date of this mapping to avoid students being unenrolled before assessment marking is complete.

  1. Identify when the unit/course will be ‘completed’ i.e. when students will no longer be active, and assessment marking or grade transfer is finished, but before the students will be unenrolled.
  2. Take a manual backup of the Moodle course (including user data) and save in a secure location (such as the x:drive or in SharePoint) outside of Moodle.  If required, it can be restored to Moodle at a later date.

Common administration queries

The remaining information deals with common questions that arise for Unit Convenors (and other users of Moodle) when one cohort completes a unit and a new one starts.

Moodle enrolments

Unit Convenors are enrolled in Moodle spaces alongside students who are recorded in SAMIS for any given unit.  Unenrolment is automatically timed (see the timeline diagram above) but can be altered, if appropriate, by the Unit Convenor (or anyone with Teacher access in the Moodle space).

Recommended: Do not manually enrol students in cases where a cohort can be automatically populated from SAMIS.  Should it be necessary to make use of manual or self-enrolment, you will need to build manual housekeeping into your processes in order to avoid confusion.

Other academic or professional services staff who require enrolment into a Moodle space are manually enrolled.  This means that they also need to be manually unenrolled when they no longer need access.

Important: At the start of every academic year, students must have completed Registration Online fully and be registered in a SAMIS unit to be able to access Moodle spaces.  Returning students who already have a Bath username and password are not exempt from this requirement.  Course teams can reinforce this requirement if students complain they do not have access to their Moodle spaces.

The SAMIS Integration block in your Moodle space allows you to manually synchronise it with SAMIS.  If students tell you they are registered, and you can see them enrolled in SAMIS, you can manually run the sync to pull them into Moodle – without waiting for the automatic sync that happens overnight.  See guidance for details.

When SAMIS period slot codes are active:

  • for existing units, the Unit Convenor in SAMIS will be automatically enrolled to an equivalent Moodle space
  • for new units, the presence of a Unit Convenor in SAMIS will ensure that an equivalent space is created in Moodle

Important: It is crucial that SAMIS is updated with the appropriate Unit Convenor information for any given unit, otherwise the wrong academic could be enrolled in the Teacher+ role. This needs completing by Programme Administration staff (and not the TEL team).

There are often changes in Unit Convenor between academic years, so this should be the first thing you should check if you find that you don’t have access to your Moodle spaces.

Once you are enrolled on a space in the role of Teacher+, you will have full access to customise the content and its enrolments as you wish.

The Teacher+ role has the added ability to use the Grade Transfer tool which allows the transfer of assignment/quiz grades in Moodle to assessment items in SAMIS.

Reminder of Moodle roles:

  • Teacher+ – this role allows the Unit Convenor to add and edit content, enrol users, and transfer assignment grades to SAMIS

Other academic staff who also require access can be enrolled as either:

  • Teacher – with all the same editing rights as Teacher+ except for grade transfer
  • Non-editing Teacher – with the rights to view and grade assignments but with no rights to edit content

In each Moodle space, the roles can be renamed. If you see roles such as Tutor or Faculty Administrator you can check the Course Settings to see the original Moodle role.

Students are enrolled into Moodle spaces via SAMIS integration, and this happens automatically, 3 weeks before the SAMIS period slot code for the unit.  This method also provides an unenrolment date so that students are also automatically unenroled (removed) from Moodle spaces at the end of the year.

 Check SAMIS Period Slot Dates for specific dates for academic sessions.

Note: Individuals who were added manually (including through self-enrollment), will need to be unenrolled manually.  If manual enrolments are not removed, they will remain for subsequent cohorts and can cause problems, particularly with group activities or peer assessment. It is possible to add an end date to manual and self-enrolment to avoid this issue.

If you are unsure of the process, contact the TEL team for support.

Remember, that Moodle spaces only link to a single SAMIS cohort by default and, should you wish to link your Moodle spaces to more than one SAMIS cohort in the academic year, you will need to use the SAMIS Integration block to do so.

Important: When students complete their course and leave the university, they will lose all access to university sytems, including Moodle and Moodle archvies. Each year DD&T communicate this to students so that they can prepare (i.e. download any material they have the right to retain copies of). However, some students do not appreciate the need to take action before they lose access and subsequently, each year we see requests for their content. TEL is not responsible for the content created in Moodle spaces so all such requests will be forwarded to course teams/departments. It is possible for Unit Convenors to enable the option for students to download the contents of the Moodle space, which may be worth considering as part of the activity students undertake at the end of a unit. In all cases, it would be helpful for course teams to remind students of what happens to their system access when they leave the university.

Remove students via the SAMIS integration block:

If the Unit Convenor chooses to, they can change the unenrolment date in the SAMIS mapping to remove students earlier, but this should only be done once student activity has ceased and a ‘course backup’ has been taken.

If you want to remove users sooner, you can follow these steps:

  • Go to the SAMIS integration block in your Moodle space (if you don’t see it, you need to add the block)
  • Choose Manage Mappings
  • Find your course in the list, open the mappings by clicking on the + sign next to the course name
  • You will see the cohorts which are mapped to the course. Find the relevant cohort by academic year.
  • Change the Unenrol method to Specified
  • Change the specified unenrol date to yesterday’s date
  • Save changes
  • Choose Sync course to synchronise the enrolments immediately (otherwise they will synchronise overnight)
  • Choose View Enrolled Users. In this view you can see how the students are enrolled, and which SAMIS cohort they belong to, to check the enrolments are now up to date

Remove students manually:

If you have any manually enrolled students, you’ll need to take remove them manually.

Moodle reset or new space

It is usual for Unit Convenor’s to continue using the same Moodle space, whilst cohorts come and go.  The content and student data therefore need to be refreshed (or reset) at the end of each teaching period and before each new cohort begins.

You should reset your course each year. If a student is reenrolled for reassessment, their original activity is still recorded (e.g. quiz attempts, assignment submissions etc.) unless you reset the course. Once reset, all students can attempt activities afresh.

Important: Before resetting a Moodle space it is important to make sure that it has been backed-up with user data and/or is included in the Moodle Archive snapshot.  See instructions for taking a course backup.

To reset an existing course, you can use Moodle’s Reset option (found in the Administration settings). This feature allows you to empty a course of user data (e.g. forum posts, quiz results, wiki content etc.) while retaining the activities and other settings.

If you have any questions about the reset feature, please contact the team who will be happy to assist.

 Staff and students can revisit Moodle spaces from the past 6 academic years from the Moodle archives webpage:  http://moodle-archive.bath.ac.uk/

Important: the Moodle archives can be accessed on campus or using the VPN while off campus. You must use the ‘Bath VPN – All Traffic’ channel for access to work.

Note on hidden content: If content in your Moodle space is not needed, please delete it (rather than hiding it). We see many Moodle spaces with hidden content, which has been used in the past, and which won’t be used in the future, but continues to be stored and ultimately copied over every year when the Moodle upgrade takes place. Unit Convenors can access past content in the Moodle archives if required and shouldn’t use Moodle spaces as ‘repositories’ for old material.

If you have inherited a Moodle space that has been used previously, you may prefer to start with a blank one.  If so, please contact the team who can delete the old course and create a new blank one for you – enabling you to start afresh.

  • Take a back-up of any course content you would like to retain
  • Provide the name of your Moodle space (and preferably the URL of the existing one)
  • Ask for your space to be created with a Moodle template if appropriate (a template is a recommended starting point to help you structure your Moodle pages and meet the Bath Blend Baseline)
  • Provide the SAMIS unit code for the Moodle space (in the format XX54321)
  • In SAMIS make sure the Unit Convenor name is up to date for this unit
  • Restore or import the backed-up content

Moodle assignments

Moodle Assignments are commonly used for coursework submission and require careful consideration when preparing for a new cohort.

Recommended: Our advice is not to reuse Moodle Assignments, but to start new for each cohort.

As well as removing old user data, it’s very common for Moodle Teachers to want to update the assignment submission points in their course – modifying last year’s assignment text slightly or simply updating the submission dates.

Important: This may only be done as long as you do not plan to use either Ouriginal or anonymous submission.

If you plan to use Ouriginal, or you are enabling students to submit anonymously, you will need to create new submission points (rather than update old ones).

Ouriginal is an online text-matching service which checks electronic, text based submissions against a large database of material (including journal articles, websites and other student submissions) and produces a scored originality report for each piece of work.

For details about using Ouriginal in Moodle see our support pages.

When you create a Moodle Assignment, Ouriginal will be turned on by default.  If you don’t wish to run submissions through the text-checking service, then you can turn off this setting.

Important: If you have existing assignments set up and you want to turn Ouriginal on, just Edit the assignment and re-save it. Ouriginal will be turned on.

If you want to check a single submission directly in Ouriginal (rather than through Moodle) please contact the Library for details.

Moodle groups and groupings

If you have used Groups and/or Groupings in your Moodle space and you want to reuse them for the next cohort, you can use the Reset function as described above.

Recommended: Before you start to repopulate groups with students check that the correct students are enrolled. 

  • If any students in the previous cohort were manually enrolled, they will need to be manually unenrolled – this includes self-enrolments.
  • The previous cohort will unenrol according to the SAMIS mapping, and there is a short period where the old cohort and the new cohort overlap. If you are going to use the ‘auto-create groups’ option you can wait till the old cohort is removed, or you can change the SAMIS mapping so that they are unenrolled sooner.

Students who are enrolled automatically via SAMIS are given an unenrolment date. To remove students before the SAMIS unenrolment date, you need to go to the SAMIS Integration block in Moodle and change the mapping. This will remove the students and you can then safely organise groups or groupings without concern over the wrong students being included.

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