Students Staff

July 2, 2021

[Service Alert] Moodle upgrade 2021

Filed under: Elearning, Moodle, [Scheduled], [Service Alert] — Tags: , , , — John Maydew @ 10:37 am


  • 07:00 The Moodle update is now underway, you will experience some connection issues
  • 08:27 Upgrade is still progressing but taking longer than anticipated, thank you for your patience
  • 09:39 We’ve hit a few hurdles, but the upgrade is still progressing
  • 10:36 Upgrade is largely complete, Moodle and Open Essex will remain “At risk” throughout the day while we monitor the situation. We are still working on creating the 2020 Moodle archive
  • 12:15 2020 Moodle archive is now available
  • 15:00 All existing grid format courses are now set to “One section per page”
  • 15:15 Changes to student enrolments have been completed

Original message

Moodle will be unavailable from 7:00am on Tuesday, 13th July until no later than 5:00pm (GMT) while we upgrade to the latest version and perform essential system maintenance. Moodle will be “At risk” throughout the day, and we advise users to avoid any critical work in Moodle during this period.

The latest version of Moodle will include performance and security improvements, along with bug fixes and new features for Moodle and its core plugins. You can find full details in the release notes for Moodle 3.10 and 3.11.

We will also be creating the 2020/21 Moodle archive and removing the 2016/17 archive.

New plugins

This upgrade will include the following new plugins:

  • Download Essay Submissions (quiz_downloadsubmissions)
    • Allows teachers to bulk download essay answers from Moodle quizzes
  • Panopto filter (filter_panopto)
    • Paste a link in your course to a video in Panopto and Moodle will automatically convert it into an embedded video, without you having to worry about embed codes
  • Word count (atto_count)
    • See word counts in the Moodle text editor
  • Coderunner question type (qtype_coderunner)
    • Pose programming questions to students who respond with blocks of code, which can be automatically checked and graded
  • Academic week availability (availability_academicweek)
    • Restrict access to activities and sections based on the current academic week

Changes to student enrolments

We’re improving how students get added to Moodle courses, to make the process more accessible to staff and much more flexible. This will make it easier to set up courses for multiple modules, provide better control over when students gain and lose access to a course, and improved group synchronisation.

We’ve trialled this method with a few courses over the last six months, during this upgrade we’ll be migrating all taught courses (linked to at least one module) to use the new enrolment method. This process will happen automatically, and you shouldn’t need to do anything.

You can find more information on how to manage student enrolments in your courses here:

Changing how courses are displayed

We’ve noticed a number of problems with the “Grid” course format, specifically when configured to open sections in a pop-up window, rather than in a separate page.

This pop-up window does not follow web accessibility standards, and may be difficult to navigate for some users who make use of assistive technologies. In addition pop-up windows have been observed causing serious performance issues in large courses, and especially courses with lots of embedded videos.

During the upgrade we will be changing all courses using the “Grid” format to not use the pop-up window, and instead open each section in a separate page. This will be done automatically, and you won’t need to do anything.

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

August 5, 2013

Windows XP to Windows 7 summer upgrades

Filed under: Computers, News — Tags: — Dan Jolly @ 9:56 am

This summer the Engineering team will upgrade approximately 500 machines across all campuses. Computers running Windows XP will be upgraded to Windows 7. This is due to Microsoft withdrawing their extended support for Windows XP in 2014.

As of 8 April 2014, when Microsoft withdraws their support for Windows XP, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, or online technical content updates. Running Windows XP after their end of support date may expose the University to potential security risks. In addition, new applications may no longer be compatible with Windows XP.

Departmental administrators and office managers have already been contacted to schedule an upgrade.

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.