Moodle Lifecycle Process


Moodle is no longer available for active teaching. Learn about the University's enterprise Learning Management System, Canvas.

This page describes the lifecycle of Moodle systems at the University of Minnesota.

All UMN Moodle course sites are contained inside what is known as an "instance" of Moodle. An instance is a single system and version of Moodle which is usually created for one academic year (AY). For example, for academic years 2017 and 2018, there is "Moodle for Academic Years 2017 and 2018 (Moodle 3.2)", also known as "Moodle AY17/AY18 (3.2)". Each Moodle instance has a defined lifecycle based on when it was created.

Lifecycle Phases

A Moodle course site is preserved within its Moodle instance following the original academic year in which it was used. See below for an example of the process in action:


Example Timeline of Moodle Course Site Availability. A description of each phase is noted below.

The phases are listed below in order:

  1. First, Active Use for One Academic Year: Each April, a new Moodle instance for the next academic year is opened. Instructors and designers are free to start preparing courses in it. Course sites created in the current academic year's Moodle instance have unrestricted access. 
  2. Then, Reference Use for the Following Calendar Year: After the end of the active use state, course sites can be used for reference purposes. Instructors, designers, and students have unrestricted access to course sites in the given Moodle instance. 
    • Towards the end of the spring term, roughly five months prior to the change to phase #3 (archived), a reminder is sent to instructors and designers that their course sites are scheduled to be archived.
  3. Later, Archived - On Campus or VPN Only for Four Calendar Years: After the end of the reference state, Moodle course sites are securely archived for roughly four calendar years. Access is restricted to the campus wired or wireless network, or off-campus but using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
    Note: Access is also affected by the user's Account End of Life Policies
  4. Last, Instance Sunset: The Moodle instance is closed to users regardless of their location. A few months later, the Moodle instance and any unmigrated course sites contained therein are deleted.