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Moodle Retention Policy

Effective as of Dec 08, 2020 | Last updated on Feb 27, 2023

Policy Statement


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

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


California College of the Arts commits to offering live access to Moodle courses for two calendar years. Thus courses from the Spring 2023 semester, for instance, will be accessible until at least the end of the Spring 2025 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 backups of Moodle courses that appear to have been in use (see the definition for Used Course) for four calendar years. Thus used courses from the Spring 2023 semester, for instance, will be accessible until at least the end of the Spring 2027 semester. Course backups are stored in compressed archives in cloud storage. As such, it takes time to locate a specific backup, download it, and restore it into a Moodle instance. We 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 restoration 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 routinely performs software migrations—updating Moodle, its plugins, and other systems that integrate with it—and we cannot guarantee that any particular object in a course retains all of its content or functionality perpetually.


Contact the Help Desk if you would like access to a backed up Moodle course (e.g. course older than two years and younger than four years). Please provide the complete course section code, including semester, with your request. Section codes look like "ARTED-1000-1-2023SP" and they include a department code, course number, section number, and semester.


Not all CCA courses are in Moodle. If your course was held in Google Classroom, for instance, you would access it at and it is not subject to this retention policy.



A 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.


An open-source learning management system, see Moodle is the primary LMS used at CCA.

Moodle instance

An installation of the Moodle software. For instance, CCA hosts one Moodle instance at while there are "demo" Moodle instances hosted at CCA may maintain multiple Moodle instances at any given time.


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.

Used Course

Moodle offers no authoritative 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 expending effort on backing up unused courses, we have loose criteria to ascertain whether a course has been used:

  • being visible
  • having more than the usual amount of course activities (assignments, forums, pages, etc.),
  • having more than 100 "hits" (page views within the course and its subpages).

Having any of these criteria causes us to consider a course "used".

If you want to ensure that your course is included in backups, the simplest method is to make it visible.


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

Update History

Jan 13, 2023

  • Converted into Portal Policy page format
  • Several edits for clarity
  • Added an additional usage criterion (number of modules in course)