CourseBank in Action - A Client Story

By Ghada El-Zoghbi

Recently, one of Catalyst IT's Moodle clients - a large Sydney TAFE - came to us with a request to assist them to restore 17 of their backed-up Moodle courses. They needed to retrieve grades for users who had been accidentally deleted.

Some of the course backups that we needed to retrieve were older than the backups they had available on hand.

No backups? But they were doing all the right things

The client was doing all the right things from a system management point of view. There are regular full backups of both the underlying Moodle database, the application data as well as the Moodle source code.

These backups are also transferred off-site for secure storage

They are also using the Moodle automated course backup but delete older course backups due to limited local disk space and a large course count. Unfortunately, in our case the course backups they needed had been rotated out (i.e. deleted) via the existing retention policy. This is a common problem in backup management i.e. retention policy too large and you use too much disk, too small and you don't always have a copy of the backups that you need.

Full Moodle restore

One possible solution in these scenarios is to restore the entire application from the database into a staging environment. The issue here is the database is quite large and there were a number of dates. Catalyst would have to restore several database backups - one at a time - for a range of dates and see if the students exist in that copy of the data.

This was going to be time consuming as each backup could take several hours to restore. It would also require a systems administrator. It would occupy their non-production environments and potentially disrupt their testing of staged changes and upgrades.

Using CourseBank

Thankfully, we had installed the CourseBank plugin in their production Moodle site. CourseBank allows Moodle admins to push course backups to remote cloud-backed storage.

From the Moodle CourseBank download page inside Moodle, we were easily able to filter for the specific course by narrowing it down to a date range. We downloaded several backups for each course and manually restored them for investigation.

Client stakeholders were then able to review the restored courses and identify the grades for the deleted users.

This was all done from the Moodle GUI interface without having to refer to off-site backups or engage infrastructure team members. The course backups were right there for us to reference and download. Any Moodle admin who understands how to restore courses can complete this task.

More about CourseBank

CourseBank was developed by Catalyst IT.

After a simple install of the plugin and a setup configuration screen, Moodle and Totara automated course backups are automatically pushed to the cloud for safe keeping.

For more details on how to set up CourseBank, please refer to: