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Moodle Retention Policy

Synopsis

Instructors & students retain immediate access to their courses for two calendar years.

Instructors & students retain access to course backups for four calendar years.

Details

California College of the Arts commits to offering live access to Moodle courses for two calendar years. Thus courses from the Spring 2020 semester, for instance, will be accessible until at least the end of the Spring 2022 semester. Users will be able to sign into a Moodle instance with a valid CCA account to view these courses. Note that instructors have the ability to delete or modify objects within a course, so students (and co-instructors) cannot assume that everything will look the same as when they were in the course.

CCA commits to offering access to Moodle course backups that appear to have been in use[1] for four calendar years. Thus courses from the Spring 2020 semester, for instance, will be accessible until at least the end of the Spring 2024 semester. Course backups are stored in compressed archives in Google Drive. As such, it takes time to download them, locate a specific backup, and restore it in Moodle. We will attempt to restore courses within one business week of receiving a request, but cannot commit to a specific timeline due to the complexity and inconsistency of the backup restore process.

Despite these commitments, CCA still strongly recommends that users who want perpetual access to their own works create their own backups, whether on a personal hard drive or in cloud storage. As previously mentioned, while we assure access to course contents, we cannot prevent instructors from modifying them. Additionally, CCA will perform software migrations—updating Moodle, its plugins, and other systems that integrate with it—and we cannot guarantee that any particular object in a course will retain all of its content or functionality perpetually into the future.

Glossary and Notes

[1] Moodle offers no single way of acknowledging a course was held in the system, and CCA loads all courses into Moodle whether or not instructors plan to use them. To avoid backing up unused courses, we define "in use" as either a) being visible and/or b) having more than 100 "hits" (views within the course and its subpages). If you want to ensure that your course is included in backups, all you need to do is make it visible.

Backup - a single, compressed file that can be exported from/restored into Moodle instances. Instructors may create and download their own backups (see Moodle's Course backup documentation), keeping them longer than CCA commits to. If you want one of CCA's long-term backups to be restored, contact the Help Desk.

Moodle - open-source learning management system, see https://moodle.org/.

Moodle instance - a single installation of the Moodle software. For instance, CCA hosts one Moodle instance at https://moodle.cca.edu while there are "demo" Moodle instances hosted at https://moodle.org/demo/. CCA may maintain multiple Moodle instances at any given time.

Plugin - a software component that adds a specific feature to Moodle, such as the ability to create certain types of assignments. Many plugins are not maintained alongside the core Moodle code nor by its owner organization, but by independent organizations and developers. For that reason, there is no guarantee that plugins remain functional through system upgrades.

Users - any officially CCA-affiliated person, including instructors, staff, undergraduate students, graduate students, and alumni.