I'm not sure if I should post this here or in the forum "Installing and upgrading help" but after Moodle was upgraded in my school from 3.3 to 3.5, the collapsed topics plugin went missing. Can this be prevented when upgrading? Other plugins were still there.
The plugin was set as the default course format in our system and this had some repercussions such as:
- The courses that previously had the collapsed topics format automatically got the one topic format > discussions, showing in most cases only announcements. Very confusing for teachers/students.
- When the plugin was put back in Moodle, all courses using collapsed topics were set to 8 weeks/topics (the default setting). If the course had more topics they were orphaned and still worse in some courses, all course materials were put in the first week/topic but all other weeks empty.
Who did the upgrade? Did they install the version for Moodle 3.5? Collapsed Topics (CT) is not a core plugin but a contributed one (I know, I'm the developer) so needs to be upgraded separately to Moodle core. Therefore the situation you describe with the courses defaulting to a core format indicates that the human that did the upgrade forgot to upgrade CT as well, and as they did remember to upgrade the contributed one topic format, which would have changed (unless you have a prior course backup and can restore that) the structure of the course in the database as soon as the course was accessed. Therefore the 'prevention' is an update to your upgrade procedure.
I understand the situation you are now in Kristbjörg, however there is not much you can do with the changed courses unless you have a backup from before the upgrade.
Ultimately when upgrading, always have a test server, try out the procedure on that with enough coverage to encompass all the courses / plugins you have. Then you'll know what will / will not work before undertaking the upgrade on the production machine.
Therefore this sounds like a human upgrade failure.
Thank you for your post Gareth, it is informative and confirms what I thought. Users accessing courses without CT, changing the structure of the course. Thank you also very much for your plugin. We have used it for many years.
I knew this was a human upgrade failure. There were other things that went wrong as well. This is the Moodle administrator appointed by our IT division. He has a long history of wreaking havoc in our Moodle, horror stories I won’t repeat here. We recently got him back after our very fine admin got a job elsewhere. We have a backup of the system before the upgrade, set up on a different url now. I have backed up courses there and restored in the active Moodle. However, the backup is wrongly setup as well, no files in the courses, just empty links to files.
The administrator was asked many times for several weeks to make a test upgrade, so we could check if everything went fine, but he never did. My colleague also sent him a link to the upgrade documentation. The system was not upgraded on the decided time (advertised to users), which resulted in me not seeing Moodle before users accessed it. As soon as I opened my course I discovered CT was missing and put it up, but by then some users had already been looking at their courses in the evening before.
I will, if I may, quote your information in my letter to the head of IT.
Please do quote my information in your letter. It is though based solely upon your description of the issue and my interpretation of it - but clearly not against concrete observation of the technical process that was followed, but rather my understanding of CT, course formats and Moodle.
I am yet to test what happens to a course when you switch from CT (with many sections) to 'One topic' and back again, therefore 'informed theory' in this aspect as against 'proven fact'.
Thank you Gareth.
I'm mainly thinking about quoting you on about testing the upgrading procedure first on a copy of our Moodle. This is what was requested but not made. The info about testing is also in the upgrading documentation here on moodle.org