Understanding data retention and content archival

Contact Andy Freed

As the number of courses being offered online grows, and course content increases in size and complexity, management of those courses and content becomes an ongoing challenge for both you, the content creator, and for the Distance Education department. Distance Education has developed a data retention and archival standard that meets both the needs of the registrar for grade challenges, and for instructors, who often teach courses every other year. Grade information must be kept for a minimum of one year to accommodate the grade challenge process, outlined in the The Academic Standards and Practices Handbook Grading Policy. Distance Education keeps past courses online in Desire2Learn for a total of nine quarters to both keep grade information available and to make past course content available. We highly recommend that you back up your course after any critical changes occur,including after completing a term or a new development.

Course backups

Creating your own backup of your course content is a best practice and is very easy to do. You should create a backup at the end of every term. Creating a backup gives you access to all your files, including a copy of your course in the Common Cartridge standard format, which can be imported into Desire2Learn and many other learning management systems

Course backups do not contain any student information and are safe to store on your computer.

Grade export

You can export grades from the Desire2Learn grade book in a comma separated value, or CSV, format. This file can be opened by all spreadsheet programs, including Microsoft Excel and Google Spreadsheet.

Since these spreadsheets contain student information, you should take extra care to protect the information and the computer on which it is viewed and stored.

Course archival

After ten quarters, Distance Education staff will archive and remove old courses from the Desire2Learn server.  Once the course has been archived and removed, it can only be restored by Desire2Learn. These archives are not intended to be used as a form of course backup.