Use template on course creation

General plugins (Local) ::: local_course_template
Maintained by Charles Fulton, Andrew Zito
This local plugin allows site administrators to create "template" courses which will be restored into new courses on course creation.

Use template on course creation v3.6.3

Moodle 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10
Released: Thursday, August 13, 2020, 12:59 AM

Use template on course creation

Build Status

This local plugin allows site administrators to create "template" courses in Moodle which will be restored into new courses on course creation. The intended use case is defining common blocks and activities for a given academic term.

Requirements

  • Moodle 3.6 (build 2018120300 or later)

Installation

Copy the course_template folder into your /local directory and visit your Admin Notification page to complete the installation.

Usage

The administrator will need to create a "template" course which contains the desired blocks and resources. This course will need a specially-named short name. By default the plugin will search for a course with the short name Template-[TERMCODE], where [TERMCODE] is the matching value for YYYYYY. For example, if a course had the termcode 201610, the module would search for a course with the short name Template-201610.

The administrator will need to define a regular expression for extracting the term code from the course idnumber. This will be used to identify which course template (if any) should be used on creation. For example, if your courses have idnumbers in the format XXXXXX.YYYYYY, where YYYYYY is the termcode, then the regular expression /[0-9]+\.([0-9]+)/ will return YYYYYY.

The plugin listens on the \core\event\course_created event and fires immediately on course creation. Once you've given a course the necessary short name you don't need to do anything further. The plugin will create a backup of the template course and import it into the new course.

You should consider overriding Moodle's default block settings in config.php: $CFG->defaultblocks_override = '';. Otherwise you will get two sets of blocks on course creation. Manually configure the blocks in the template course instead.

Default template

You may specify a default template course in the "Default template course shortname" setting. If there is a course with that shortname, it will be used as the template for any course which matches the termcode regex but does not match with a specific template.

Let's say you have termcode regex /[A-Za-z0-9\.\-]+-([A-Z])-\d+/, where the extracted substring is a department code. Then let's say you have the following template courses (shortnames):

  • Template-BIO
  • Template-HIS
  • Template-MTH

These template courses will be used for Biology (BIO), History (HIS), and Math (MTH) courses respectively. Let's say you don't have specific templates for the other departments (POL, SCI, ENG, EPI, etc.), but you do want them to be based on a generalized template. You can create a fourth template course, and give it a shortname that matches the "Default template course shortname" setting value (eg default-template). Then, any course which matches the regex -- that is, any course from which a termcode is successfully extracted -- will be based on the default template course if it does not match a specific template.

So, the course with idnumber intro-BIO-201910 will still use Template-BIO, but the course with idnumber shakespeare-sem-ENG-201920 will use default-template. A course with idnumber study-abroad-201950 will not use any template.

Sample regular expressions

The basic use case above, /[0-9]+\.([0-9]+)/, would return YYYYYY from the following idnumbers:

  • 9999.201610
  • 3781.201730

A more complicated example, /[A-Za-z0-9\.]+([0-9]{6})/, would capture the following:

  • 4422.201610
  • 7866a.201730
  • XLSB7201610

Event / Observers

There is a custom event local_course_template\event\template_copied, which is triggered after template copying is complete. This also adds a system-level log entry which specifies the template course ID and the target course ID.

Caching

When a new course is created the plugin looks for the template course, then creates a backup of that template course. Both results are cached. The template course id is cached indefinitely; the course backup cache is cleared by the same job that removes the backup itself. By default this occurs every day at 3 AM. You may disable the caching behavior by unchecking "Enable caching" in the plugin settings.

Acknowledgements

This plugin was inspired by the course enrollment/templating plugin in use at Wesleyan University. The restoration controller settings are derived from LSU's Simplified Restore block.

Author

Charles Fulton (fultonc@lafayette.edu)

Version information

Version build number
2020081200
Version release name
v3.6.3
Can be updated from
v3.4.1 (2018051301), v3.6.0 (2020012100), v3.6.1 (2020061500), v3.6.2 (2020073100)
Maturity
Stable version
MD5 Sum
a7d13f71e6f91520ea28c8d5840e1a78
Supported software
Moodle 3.6, Moodle 3.7, Moodle 3.8, Moodle 3.9, Moodle 3.10

Version control information

Version control system (VCS)
GIT
VCS repository URL
VCS branch
main
VCS tag
v3.6.3

Default installation instructions for plugins of the type General plugins (Local)

  1. Make sure you have all the required versions.
  2. Download and unpack the module.
  3. Place the folder in the "local" subdirectory.
  4. Visit http://yoursite.com/admin to finish the installation.