Learn@UW (UW-Madison Only) - Retention and removal of old Learn@UW/D2L courses

The University of Wisconsin System has been using Learn@UW (Desire2Learn) as the system-wide course management system since 2003. In the interest of performance, sustainability, and the best experience for instructors and students, obsolete Learn@UW courses will be permanently removed from the servers which run Learn@UW/D2L.

Overview: Course Retention and Removal Policy
How to Retain Courses
Faculty/Staff Frequently-Asked Questions


 Overview: Course Retention and Removal Policy

The policy adopted by the University of Wisconsin system-wide Learn@UW Steering Committee states, "The [Learn@UW] Utility [group] may purge courses, files and database entries based on the following criteria: The Utility will retain courses and student contributions until at least two years after the course ends. This two year window is a minimum and not a strict deadline for purging entire courses. Any and all courses & student contributions may be purged by The Utility after this two year window." 

The policy and guidelines are consistent with records retention and removal requirements as established by University of Wisconsin policy for electronic records.

At UW-Madison, questions about this process or policy can be directed to the Learn@UW-Madison support team by email: learnuwsupport@doit.wisc.edu

 How to Retain Courses

Instructors of courses scheduled to be removed will be contacted by email with reasonable advance notice. General announcements will also be displayed in various locations within Learn@UW, on relevant email lists, and on the campus KnowledgeBase. 

If you receive notice that your course is scheduled for removal, there are steps you can take to easily retain the materials and student data (such as grades, attendance data, etc.) from within the course. For instructions on how to retain your course data, please refer to this KnowledgeBase document.

Alternatively, you may request that your course site be retained and not included in the removal process by completing the retention request form (a link to the form is provided in the notification email you receive). 

 Faculty/Staff Frequently-Asked Questions

 What does it mean to "purge" D2L courses?

To purge a D2L course refers to the complete removal and deletion of that course with no way of restoring it. To purge a D2L course is to permanently delete it. This includes all files and student records.

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 How do I know if I have any courses slated to be purged/deleted?

Instructors can view their D2L courses in the My Courses widget of the D2L home page. Courses are identified by semester and year. Semesters with courses to be deleted will be labeled as such.

Note that instructors might need to click on the Plus icon to the left of a semester to expand and display the list of their courses in that semester. All courses listed on a semester slated for deletion will be deleted if no action is taken. Instructors should contact their site administrator if they have any questions on what is going to be deleted.

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 Why are we limiting the course cleanup process to only older D2L courses?

We do not delete relatively recent courses primarily because:

  1. Students need sufficient time to finish incompletes and challenge grades, and
  2. Instructors need sufficient time to reoffer their course.

Retaining recent courses is consistent with the guidelines and policies of the UW Records Officers Council.

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 But I reoffer my course on a regular basis...

In most cases, when a course is reoffered by the same instructor, the instructor copies some or all of the contents, files, gradebook and discussion structure from a previous offering into the new offering. Once that copy process is complete, the earlier version of the course offering can be deleted without affecting the new course offering.

For instructions on how to copy components from one course to another, please refer to this KnowledgeBase document.

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 I need to retain my gradebook so I can review student performance several years after the course ends.

The D2L gradebook can be exported to a CSV file that can be opened with Excel and other applications.

When downloading or saving gradebooks or student submissions, it is critical to maintain the privacy of those student records. They should be saved on campus-housed, password protected network storage rather than on local hard drives.

Questions about how long gradebooks and student records may be retained should be forwarded to the UW-Madison Registrar's Office.

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 What about my content files, quizzes, etc. in my old courses?

Content, course files and quizzes can be copied into a newer offering of the same course. This is very common, especially when the same instructor teaches both offerings. For instructions on how to copy components from one course to another, please refer to this KnowledgeBase document.

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 Why not just leave obsolete courses on the D2L server?

The need to establish a course cleanup policy at Learn@UW and to set up a process accordingly is imperative to our on-going smooth operation. The amount of data we have retained and its associated costs is increasing steadily since the deployment of D2L in 2003. The quantity of data has already impacted costs for storage, backups, upgrades, and support resources. Our main reason for deleting obsolete courses is to at least contain the growth of our costs in the previously mentioned areas, in addition to lessening any impact on performance and user experience as growth continues.

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 Can I archive my old courses?

Instructors can export their content files, grade book and student files from a drop box folder and retain them locally. For instructions on how to retain your course data, please refer to this KnowledgeBase document.

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 What if I do nothing?

Your courses will be permanently deleted on schedule. In most cases, you will not need these courses and do not need to take any action.

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 Who can I talk to if I need help?

The Learn@UW Madison Team is prepared to answer your questions and provide assistance, as needed. If you have unusual needs or concerns about the process, please contact them at learnuwsupport@doit.wisc.edu.

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Keywords:learn@uw learnuw d2l desire2learn purge removal delete archive retain remove obsolete old policy   Doc ID:9437
Owner:Jeff B.Group:Learn@UW Madison
Created:2009-03-29 19:00 CDTUpdated:2015-09-15 09:54 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Tech Store, Learn@UW Madison
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