November 2017: Upgrade to Moodle 3.3

On Friday, November 17, 2017, we upgraded to Moodle 3.3. We experienced downtime between 6 am and 8 am while performing the upgrade.

Note: Typically, we would like to perform one upgrade in May and one in December/January — however, this year, due to the Winter Session, we are performing our upgrade in November. This day is typically a low volume day, and we have ensured that no breaking changes will occur during the upgrade. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at



  • Increasing Usability
    • Several uncommonly used options in Quiz and Assignment were moved so that they can only be accessed by clicking a “Show more…” link.
    • The settings that were hidden are useful only in very specific situations, and thus not needed by most of our users.
    • Some defaults were also changed, including:
      • Assignment – Feedback comments and Feedback files were enabled by default
      • Forums – Timed Posts were enabled
      • Group Choice – default sort was switched to name
      • Turnitin Assignment
        • Changed to allow resubmission until due date (instead of a single submission)
        • ETS Handbook was changed to default to “Advanced” (instead of “High school”)
      • Workshop – default grades for Assessment and Submission were set to 100 each (instead of 80/20)
      • Quiz
        • Attempts allowed was changed to default to 1 (instead of “Unlimited”)
        • Maximum grade was changed to default to 100 (instead of 10)
        • Automatically start a new page (when adding quiz questions) was changed to default to every 5 questions (instead of 1)
        • Review options was changed to be limited by default (instead of everything being enabled).
  • Quiz Auto-Saving
    • Quizzes were changed to auto-save answers every 1 minute, including all question types.
    • Students were changed to not lose more than a minute worth of work if they are connected to the internet, even if they close the browser window or navigate to another website.
    • This feature increased the reliability of our system and bring a better student experience.
  • Stealth Mode
    • A new visibility setting, called “Available but not shown on course page” was added.
    • This change allowed users to have activities that are not available on the main course page but are accessible when linked.
      • This replaced the “Orphaned Activities” workaround we have been using for several years in most course formats.
    • For Weekly, Topics, TabTopics, and Collapsed Topics course formats:
      • Visible activities in “Orphaned Activities” should have automatically transitioned to “Available but not shown on course page”.
    • For Weekly and Topics course formats, “Orphaned activities” are no longer available and should have been converted to normal sections.
    • For TabTopics and Collapsed Topics course formats, “Orphaned activities” currently continue to be available, but will eventually be removed in a future upgrade.
    • Social and Single Activity course formats were not affected.
    • You can make an activity “Available but hidden” by either:
      • Editing the settings and choosing the “Make available but not shown on course page” option from the visibility menu
      • On the main course page with editing on:
        • First, the activity should be hidden. If it is currently visible, click “Edit” next to an activity and click “Hide”.
        • Once hidden, click “Edit” again and then “Make available”.
      • (In TabTopics, this currently only works in Hidden sections, but should be fixed by a weekly upgrade in the near future.)
  • Emoji Support
    • Prior to this upgrade, any content containing emojis was rejected, causing a database error. This led to loss of data and frustration among users, as their content was rejected with no error message and no way to retrieve the content.
    • Now, emoji are accepted throughout the site!