My current thoughts are they should backup their old class and then delete the stuff the don't want to reuse. I am thinking this would be better than leaving the old classes around from the 2005-2006 school year.
What are others doing to archive a previous years course?
At the end of each course (and only with confirmation from the tutor involved as the students may need the info after the official finish date) I backup the course with all user data (and logs). This backup zip file is stored on a CD and a copy of the course, with NO user data, is restored on a separate Moodle 'development' instance. The tutor then has the opportunity to tweak the course in time for the next semester/year.
At our University we copy our regular automated backups to DVD at the end of each semester for archive purposes. This include all course information, student data and logs.
We also keep courses in the system with but hidden from students. When a teacher needs a new course an empty shell is provided and the teacher is responsible for copying the relevant resources/activities into the new shell (they do this via the Course Import process). This is their opportunity to review the course and enhance it each semester/year.
We have a large server so space is not an issue for us, we have three years courses in our site at present (a Site Cleanup plans to remove older courses is yet to be established). Moodle 2.0 will help reduce server space requirements as files are not duplicated if used in several courses but only stored once.
If server space is an issue for you an alternative could be to use the Course Reset feature. I suggest you backup your courses and store them to disk for archive then reset the course.
We have chosen the course reset option, after backing up with all data etc at the end of each course run time, eg semester or year
PS which Uni are you working at?
I used Moodle all through the courses I taught last year, adding plans, assignments, forums, workshops, etc. Rather than dumping it all and starting over,
1) Students will be unenrolled and enrolled by the administrator.
2) I will go through and hide all the weeks except for the first one.
3) Keeping the activities from last year, I will go through and tweak what I need to, including changing the dates and minor changes to the text.
Basically, it'd be nice if step 2) could be done for me (and I think the Reset option now available may do some of it) and the dates could all be bumped. But since I will want to look into each activity anyway, it's not that much work.
Thus each course is never really archived. It is just tweaked and reused.
Josh's approach is very similar to my own. As I see it the courses are under constant development unless the curriculum changes. If a course is using weekly format I will change the start date to the new year.
Talking only about the admin side of managing students: I now try to only use meta courses, this means that I can unenrol each year of students from each course and enrol the next year in one visit.
At the same time I remove teachers who have left and replace them with new staff. (There is a bug which means that if you delete a teacher (user) they are still present on the courses they teach - hum must report this ;) .)
Next year, when I hope that we are using assessment within Moodle a lot more, I will download all the assessment data first, because I believe this disappears when participants are removed.
I think we are near to Chris,
In our site we create archive categories for courses not been taught in the current semester. This category is hidden, which means the instructor can still go through the course to update material even if there are no students enrolled in it. When the professor asks to activate the course in the next semester we move the course to an active category and upload the student list to it.
So in this case we have one course moved from semester to another with different students and co-instructors. And at the end of each semester we create a backup for each course to be saved on a tape for any reference.