On this page you will find important information about the QMplus upgrade. If you want to report an issue, please do this by raising a ticket on the ServiceDesk, giving as much information about the problem as you can.
Why are we upgrading?
The last QMplus upgrade was in 2021. We did not upgrade in 2022 as we changed the look and feel of QMplus through our theme update project. Our current version of Moodle, which QMplus is built on, will no longer be supported after November 2023, it is therefore imperative that we upgrade this summer. As well as the issue of support, upgrading will bring many benefits in terms of bug fixes, performance improvements and new features.
What version of Moodle are we upgrading to?
When is this happening?
We’ll be upgrading QMplus on Tuesday 29th August 2023. QMplus will be unavailable for the whole day i.e. from Tuesday 29th August, 12am (midnight) to Wednesday 30th August, 12am (midnight).
Will the QMplus archives be available on the day of the upgrade?
Yes. The QMplus archives will be available as usual on upgrade day. They are unaffected by the upgrade.However, as QMplus will be unavailable, you won’t be able to use the links to the archive that are in the QMplus footer. You will have to use the archive index page on https://archive.qmplus.qmul.ac.uk/, or the specific links to the archives themselves e.g. https://2022.qmplus.qmul.ac.uk/
Will I have to redesign my module areas?
Our main priority is to perform the upgrade with as little disruption as possible. We aim to keep any work staff have to do for the upgrade to a minimum. You should only have to do the usual amount of work expected to prepare your module(s) for the next academic year.
If your module currently makes use of the assessment information block, you may have to do some tidying up after the upgrade. This feature of QMplus has been rewritten and some adjustments may need to be made for the new functionality. We hope these will be minimal.
If you are unclear whether this affects you, please get in touch with your local QMplus support contact in the first instance. If they are unable to advise or if you do not have a local contact, please get in touch with us either through the ServiceDesk, our Book a Learning Technologist service or by attending a drop-in. Details of all the ways you can contact us are on our Get advice page.
Do I have to wait till after the upgrade day to start working on my modules?
No, you can start updating your modules now. Just make your updates as you normally would on QMplus. All your changes will be there after the upgrade.If you have questions about getting 2023/24 versions of your modules on QMplus, please speak to your local QMplus contact. Responsibility for rolling over modules is usually handled locally in Schools and Departments and not by the central support team. If you don’t have a local contact, please raise a ticket on the ServiceDesk.
Will we be losing any functionality?
While doing the upgrade this year we will also be doing a bit of a spring clean of QMplus. We have had QMplus for over a decade now and things have changed greatly over that time. It may be necessary for us to remove features, perhaps because they are no longer compatible with our version of Moodle or because they are no longer used. We will not remove any functionality without consultation. This will largely be done through our network of learning technologists and support staff throughout the university.
Are you running upgrade awareness sessions for students?
We are not running specific upgrade awareness sessions for students. There are a number of student induction sessions being run in Welcome Week. These are organised by Schools and Departments themselves. These sessions are more general QMplus sessions and won’t focus on the upgrade specifically.We will also be updating the user tours on QMplus so on logging on to QMplus after the upgrade, students (and staff) will see a pop up window taking them through the major changes.
The most important changes for students are those relating to the dashboard and “My Modules” pages.
What new features are coming?
We’ve made a short video of the 10 key upgrade features we think everyone should know about.
As we are upgrading through 4 versions, there are a host of new features. Some highlights that we think staff will be particularly interested in are:
- Various features to reduce the amount of scrolling, particularly when editing a module area:
- The “Turn editing on” button is now fixed at the top of the page
- Topics/sections can be added at the bottom of any existing topic, rather than having to go to the bottom of the page
- A new navigation bar fixed at the top of a module page provides easy access to module level functions
- An improved module index which makes it easier to jump directly to topics in the module and also allows resources and activities to be moved around the module area
- A new assessments panel feature, replacing the old assessment information block. This new feature allows you to place important information about assessments and submission points in a consistent location right at the top of your module area. Making it easy for your students to find.
- A timed assignment – the ability to set a time limit on the amount of time students have to submit an assignment once they have started it.
- Improvements to the quiz activity
- Easier creation and management of question banks particularly for those who need to work collaboratively with other staff to create quiz questions.
- Ability to set a file size limit on essay questions
- Ability to use Turnitin on essay questions
- Set a minimum and maximum word limit on essay questions
- Clearer display of activity due dates and completion conditions on your module page
- The ability to send notifications to students when module content is added or updated
- An improved timeline feature to help students keep on track with deadlines
- Improvements to the database activity – this is a powerful activity which is tricky to set up. User interface improvements make this easier.
- An updated Grid format for those who need something slightly different than our default topics format. The. Grid format is cleaner and simpler and now includes the ability to use tabs
- An updated format for “Home Pages” (previously known as “Landing Pages”). This new format gives more flexibility for those who need it.
What about rollover?
Do I have to use the new assessment panel feature?
The short answer is no, you do not have to use this feature. It can be enabled and disabled via the module settings. However, if you’re not currently using it, you might like to have a look at the new functionality. It is now much simpler and easier to configure.The slightly longer explanation is that in QMplus we currently have a feature called the “assessment information block”, which appears in a tab in module areas which use it. This has been completely rewritten for the upgrade and will no longer appear as a tab but as a link in the new module navigation bar at the top of a module area.
Will we be able to use the new custom reports feature?
In the short term we won’t be using the custom reports feature. Longer term we will have to investigate the feature further. Report generation is a feature that can put a heavy load on QMplus so we have to be sure that the performance will not be negatively impacted.We do appreciate that reporting of various kinds is very important for Schools and Departments across the university. We are increasingly trying to use PowerBI and tools such as QEngage, for generating reports including data from QMplus rather than using tools in QMplus itself.
For those interested, you can find out more about custom reports on the Moodle website. This feature became available in Moodle 4.0.