Learning Management System Policy

Overview


Moodle is the Learning Management System (LMS) maintained and current supported by Beloit College Library & Information Technology Services (LITS). Moodle resources are available to all Beloit College faculty, students and staff to be used for College-related purposes.

Accounts


Account Creation

Moodle and Moodle Groups accounts are available for all faculty, students and staff at Beloit College and are created automatically as part of the enrollment and hiring processes. Faculty and staff accounts will be confirmed by the Human Resources office and student accounts will be confirmed by the Registrar.  Moodle usernames and passwords synchronize with other campus systems, so Moodle login credentials will be the same as those for other campus network resources.

Guest Access

There are two methods to grant access to guests in a Moodle course.  The first is to enable Guest Access, which will allow a user without a Beloit network account to view (but not interact with) the content of a course. Instructions for setting up Guest Access up can be found in the Enable Guest Access article on the LITS Knowledge Base. 

The second method for guest access to a Moodle courses is to for the Moodle Administrator manually create an account for the guest.  Manual accounts will only be created when a guest needs to have the ability to interact with course content (forums, assignments, quizzes, etc.) or when the guest needs to have the ability to create or edit content for the course. Instructors are responsible for deciding what additional roles (Instructor/Facilitator, TA, Librarian) are given access to their course. For more information on access roles in a course, see the Enrolling Users in a Course article on the LITS Knowledge Base. Manual account creations may be requested through by submitting a Help Desk ticket to the Moodle Administrator.  Approval from the Chief Information Officer will be required before manual accounts can be created.

Account Termination

LITS (Library and Information Technology Services) will terminate accounts as directed by Human Resources (for faculty/staff) and the Registrar (for students). Termination of an account also removes associated course user data. If a course instructor's account is terminated, LITS will work with the Provost's office to reassign the course to a new instructor. 


Courses


Academic courses are created automatically in Moodle through an integration between the campus' student information system, JICS (the Portal), and Moodle. 

Moodle Groups is the site dedicated to non-academic content. Any student, faculty, or staff member at Beloit College may request a course in Moodle Groups if it is related to official college business.  This includes clubs, committees, groups, organizations, training, searches, etc.  Courses will not be created for non-Beloit College users.

Course Naming Convention

Academic Moodle courses are created using a standardized naming convention to allow for easy searching of the available courses. The course name is matched to the Registrar's course catalog.  Academic courses are suffixed with the semester in which they are taught, if applicable.  Academic courses are named with this format: Department Number.Section Title SemesterYYYY (ENGL 301.01 Medieval Literature FA2010).

Courses in Moodle Groups will be named based upon the request and to fit within the existing site organizational structure.

Course Visibility

Academic Moodle courses are initially created in Hidden mode to allow course instructors to setup the course content before revealing to students. Course instructors are responsible for making the course visible to students. Documentation on this process is available in the Make a Course Visible article on the LITS Knowledge Base. The Moodle Administrator will hide courses at the end of each semester.

Backup and Restore

Data on the Moodle server are backed up on a routine basis. Instructors may not store copies of courses on the server as backups. If the instructors/facilitators wish to maintain a copy on their computers, they should download any backup files they create from the Moodle server, either within the Moodle or Moodle Groups instances, and then delete the backup files from the server. The Moodle administrator will provide documentation/training to course instructors/facilitators who would like to back up their course data to their computer. If data needs to be restored and falls within the maximum file upload limit, the course instructors/facilitators will be responsible for restoring that content. The Moodle Administrator will provide documentation/training for doing so. If the backup file is larger than the upload limit, the Moodle Administrator will be responsible for completing the restoration.

FERPA, Copyright, and Licensing

Instructors and students using Moodle are responsible for ensuring that all materials uploaded comply with copyright law and FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) requirements.  Licensing restrictions for some journals require that all copies be removed from online courses at the end of the semester. Instructors are responsible for removing any licensed materials from their Moodle course at the end of each academic semester.

Course Plug-Ins

Course or site plugins are external tools that can be loaded on the Moodle server to enhance Moodle's standard features.  LITS staff have a limited ability to support external, third-party plugins for Moodle. All plugins must be reviewed and tested for compatibility with the current Moodle site before they will be installed on a production Moodle server. Requests for additional plugins may be sent by a Beloit College instructor to the Moodle Administrator for investigation and testing. The investigation and testing of plugins is a time consuming process and takes a significant amount of coordination and staff time, so please submit requests well in advance of need.  Plugins found to be incompatible with the the site or those that pose a security risk to site or user data will not be installed.  


Sites


LITS maintains two separate current instances of Moodle:

  • Moodle (for all academic courses)
  • Moodle Groups (for all administrative or non-academic content

A new Moodle site will be created for each academic year. Each year consists of a three term cycle: summer, fall, and spring. New Moodle instances will be created in the spring of the preceding academic year (e.g. Moodle for 2021-22 will be created over winter break 2020-21). The new instance will be made available in later in the spring semester preceding a new academic year. The name/web address for each instance will include the academic year in the following format: https://moodley1y2.beloit.edu. The current Moodle instance will always be found at https://moodle.beloit.edu. A redirect from moodle.beloit.edu to the new Moodle instance occurs shortly after Commencement.

Upgrades

Academic Moodle sites will be created and maintained on the latest version of the Moodle with Long-Term Support (LTS) that is supported by Jenzabar and the Collaborative Liberal Arts Moodle Project (CLAMP) at the time the instance needs to be created.  Following site creation, academic Moodle sites will updated as-needed to apply patches and security fixes within the same major point release in order to maintain a safe and secure working environment.  Major point release updates will not be applied unless absolutely necessary.

The Moodle Groups site will be updated to keep in step with the current version of the academic Moodle site.

Archive

The current Moodle instance will always be found at https://moodle.beloit.edu. A Moodle academic year includes summer, fall and spring terms. Courses are archived after the close of each term. LITS creates a redirect from https://moodle.beloit.edu to the current Moodle instance shortly after commencement. Once this is done, a link to the passing Moodle instance will be posted on the Moodle Archive page. LITS will maintain an archive of 3 years of Moodle courses, as well as providing immediate access to the most recent two years of Moodle instances — the current academic year and the immediately previous academic year.  If you need materials from an archived course, create a School Dude ticket and the Moodle administrator will work with you to retrieve your course from the archives.The new Moodle instance for the upcoming academic year will be made accessible in March of the spring semester preceding the new academic year. In December of each calendar year, the Moodle instance from 2 years prior will be shut down. See the chart for a depiction of how the schedule will operate.

All archived and accessible instances will be kept behind our firewall for increased security. Anyone needing to access an archived instance from off-campus will need to use a VPN client to access that instance. Please contact LITS for questions regarding this.

Administrative courses in Moodle Groups will be archived on an as needed or per request basis. The Moodle Administrator will collaborate with the course facilitator to determine an appropriate timeline. Courses may be archived and/or deleted at anytime at the request of the person(s) responsible for the course.  If the person that originally requested the course is no longer with the College, the Moodle Administrator will work with their department head to determine the best course of action.

Site Creation and Deletion Cycle Plan

The new Moodle instance for the upcoming academic year will be made accessible in the spring semester preceding the new academic year. In May of each calendar year, the Moodle instance from 2 years prior will be shut down. See the chart for a depiction of how the schedule will operate. 


Spring 2017Fall 2017Spring 2018Fall 2018Spring 2019Fall 2019Spring 2020Fall 2020Spring 2021Fall 2021Spring 2022
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Green = active, red = inactive/inaccessible

All archived and accessible instances will be kept behind our firewall for increased security. Anyone needing to access an archived instance from off-campus will need to use a VPN client to access that instance. Please contact the LITS InfoDesk for questions or assistance regarding Moodle access.