This is my first post on Moodle.org, so please forgive any mishaps or unintended breaches of etiquette. My name is Steve Powell and I head up the e-Learning team at Lancaster University. Some of you may know me from the Moodle Users Association or Moodle Moot. My proposed topic of discussion is whether Moodle HQ would consider extending the period of support provided for November releases. Here at Lancaster, we upgrade Moodle once a year during the summer. As you would expect we take the May release.
It might seem that there would be plenty of time between May and September to upgrade Moodle, but in practice this is not the case. There are a lot of modifications/plugins that we need to refactor and test, and that takes time and we aim to make the new version available for staff to try as soon as we possibly can. This is because we know that the majority of academic staff are by and large unavailable in the months of July and August. Staff are tied up with marking, conferences and often spend the summer months away from Campus. As a result, teaching staff will often only see the new version of Moodle in September when they come back to teach. So just before teaching begins, when academics and support staff are already overloaded with work and under stress, the upgrade, far from being perceived as an improvement can be viewed as yet another issue to deal with.
I feel sure that the picture I am describing (not very well I grant you) is not unique to us. The biggest change that I can see that could really help us is if Moodle HQ can extend the period of support for November releases so that we could take the November release, but actually deploy it during the following summer (July/August). This would mean that November releases would in effect be long term releases. This would give the development team more time to deploy the upgrade, and give staff a real opportunity to look at the next release and understand what new and exciting features it provides, building a sense of anticipation rather than anxiety.
I would be interested in knowing whether other users would recognise the picture I describe, and would consider this idea of value. If other members do think this idea has merit