Wednesday, 20 July 2011

3 - How we are actually upgrading

Midway through the preparation phase Moodle 2.1 was launched and, after testing that the back up and restore of 1.9 courses worked, we have decided not to upgrade in place but to install a fresh version of Moodle 2.1 and restore courses into it.  

We decided that a fresh install of Moodle 2.0 rather than an upgraded 1.9 to 2.1 would give a better long term solution with fewer problems.  We use Moodle A LOT so, although this is a much harder process to complete, being able to develop Moodle without legacy 1.9 issues will suit us better.

So, we have 2 versions of Moodle running side by side - the live 1.9 and a copy of that upgraded to 2.1.  Teachers are telling us which version they want taken to the live Moodle 2.1.  In most cases, the courses exist in two places and we need to make sure we are taking the right one during the upgrade week!!

This is where the categories come in.  In both Moodle 1.9 AND in Moodle 2.1 we have a new category called 'For Live Moodle 2.0'.  As courses achieve their bronze medal OR decided to use the Moodle 2 version, we moved them into the 'for live' category.  Alongside this, the tracker sheet listing all the courses currently in the live 1.9 site was used to record the option for every course - including if it wasn't needed in Moodle 2.  This enabled many of us to be supporting staff and this one tracker was the final decisions and options for upgrade.

During the last week of the preparation, an upgrade list was created.  This listed ALL the courses being upgraded from Moodle 1.9 (around 120) and all the courses being upgraded from Moodle 2.1 (over 350).  This upgrade list also contained the category that the courses needed to be restored in to reflect the college curriculum structure.  To create this upgrade list, the 'for live categories' were used to cross-reference against the tracker to double check the correct courses were to be upgraded (one of the worst scenarios would be for a teacher to tell us they are using the Moodle 2 version, they have spent some time updating it and then we upgrade the 1.9 version!).  DUring this process, the courses checked and moved into a sub-category called 'prepped for upgrade'. ONLY these courses would be upgraded!

So, how will the upgrade process actually happen?

  • The Moodle 1.9 and beta 2.1 sites were made in accessible to all users (except admins) at 4.30pm on Friday 22nd July.
  • Saturday morning sees the start of the course back-ups with user data from both sites.  These will be saved onto external storage and then stored safely on Monday 25th July (this may extend into July 26th as there is a lot of data to transfer to external storage).
  • Monday 25th - all courses NOT in the 'prepped for upgrade' folder to be deleted from the 1.9 and 2.1 servers.
  • All remaining courses are backed up without user data.
  • These courses are then put into a file repository on the LIVE Moodle 2.1 (one folder for 1.9 and one for 2.1).
  • The site then gets it's web address and is shibbolith'd for logins.
  • Then the non-technies get their hand on the LIVE Moodle 2 to start to manually restore all the courses prepped for upgrade.  This will be time-consuming and we have over 8 people working on it (not me - I have a week off!).  My Moodle Administrator is leading this armed with the upgrade list!
  • Moodle 2 will be made live to all staff on Monday 1st August (all being well) but we will still probably have more courses to upgrade by then.
  • Following the upgrade, there will be NO users except the admins.  As each teacher logs in for the first time, they will then need request editing access to their courses (we are going to get the staff to ask rather than use the tracker as we want to make sure staff only have the courses they need - it is another way to have a good clear out!)  All the LTRS staff will be trained on how to do this.
  • I will also be using some admin support for help with re-creating course menus for courses upgraded from Moodle 1.9 - 2 as these loose their topic titles in the course menu.
@chri5grant has set up a posterous site to share experiences of Moodle 2 upgrades and we have a post from the technical side there and also some other documents (such as the current* action plan for upgrade, modules and blocks that are needed). There are lots of other useful posts about the experiences of upgrading to M2. 
However, @SDCmoodle will be tweeting throughout the technical upgrade (or as they say - turning off one and starting another).

* We also had an initial action plan starting from the testing phase moving up to launching the live version.  This one has detail about specific things to test, training to offer and instructions to create:

So - that's it for now!!  

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