My Moodle 2.0 Upgrade Journey Part 1…

To upgrade or not to upgrade? That is the question.

Well my answer is…upgrade!

I am currently in the process of writing a short paper on a possible upgrade to Moodle 2.0 for Leeds City College. I am proposing an upgrade during the summer.

Unfortunately, due to the size of the organisation, our custom tweaks, third party plug-ins and staff training needs, an upgrade isn’t going to be easy.

This blog post will be part of several posts during the run up to D-Day! Or M2-Day as I’ll call it.

So the big question?…Why upgrade?

Many colleges are put off with the upgrade as they feel the support won’t be there yet if things go wrong, if bugs are found or they can’t find their way around.

Well unless we get behind Moodle 2.0 and try it we will only slow down the development proces, bug fixing and support documentation.

I must admit, I’m scared to upgrade, if it isn’t broke right?

But surely the new features in 2.0 outweigh any snags and hiccups I’ll encounter along the way. And I’m sure I’ll find bugs and some things won’t work the same as they did but that’s what it’s all about, that’s what Open Source is all about.

As long as I get the theme right and make sure things are in the right place then will my end users notice anything radical? Then when it comes to training I’ll sell the benefits of what’s new and improved rather than what has moved or changed or what’s disappeared.

So what next:

The first thing I did was have a look at what third party modules we have installed and which ones have been transferred to 2.0 and which ones are not. Loosing some desired and heavily used functionality will only irate my users. I’ve been slowly stripping out mods througout the year in preparation and deliberately not installing anything new until I know it’s (2.0) future and so I’m left with:

The Book module – which has a 2.0 version
Certificate Module – which doesn’t have a 2.0 version
Face-2-face Module – which doesn’t have a 2.0 version but do I really need it?
Log Book – which doesn’t have a 2.0 version
Lightbox Gallery – which doesn’t have a 2.0 version but I’ll be onto Paul to see if he has any plans for this or if I can lend a hand.

It may be that I can find workarounds for some of these. For example, can I use forums to replace the logbook? I have had requests from tutors for Nanagong and Reflect blocks/mods but have not installed them as I’d only be taking them away if there isn’t a 2.0 version planned.

So what’s next?

The next step is to clone the Moodle Server and try an upgrade. See what works, see what doesn’t, see what died etc..

My own modifications don’t worry me, as I can make these fit 2.0 and I have until summer to create a striking new Moodle 2.0 theme – the pressure is on to create something awesome.

My next post will inform you how the development server upgrade went, how the database coped and were all my courses intact?

I’ll let you know how i get on… let the stress…I mean “fun” begin.

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