Moodle 2.0 Test Migration

I successfully migrated a copy of our Moodle 1.9.9 site to version 2.0. We will go live this summer. The upgrade process took a couple of hours, including dealing with the following issues. The basic site functionality is working great, suggesting that the migration should be smooth.

Delete archive courses
Not required, but it was a good opportunity to delete three years’ worth of past courses. This sped up upgrade course conversion.

Truncate sessions2 table
To my surprise, Moodle had not been deleting old session entries, because PHP’s garbage collection was not running properly on our Debian server. As a result, it was taking a long time to migrate our 2GB database! I truncated session2 manually to reduce the database to a few hundred MB. We will have to restore automatic session trimming on the new web server.

Database Collation
Our database tables were set to utf8_unicode. I followed some helpful instructions at to convert to utf8_general. Moodle 2.0 requires a compatible utf8 format in order to upgrade.

My favorite new feature. I have activated Dropbox and Google Docs so far. Dropbox is broken, but Google Docs works now and should work even better if we point Moodle at our new SAML single sign-on system.

Theme Selection
As usual, this is going to be a challenge. Moodle has suffered for not providing enough choice in professional-quality themes. I found one I like (Créatif by Rolley Design) but am having difficulty restoring the three-column course view. The theme wants to cram all of the blocks into a single, right-hand column. I still have to run this by some users to see whether they like it. I also might want to use a theme that says “school” rather than “candlelit dinner.” I am considering providing a choice of themes and allowing user switching, but then I’ll have to troubleshoot issues across a number of themes instead of just one.


  1. todd says:

    hi there. Does your moodle 2.0 work with your SAML system? I can’t seem to get the AuthSAML moodle module to work, so I’m wondering what you used to hook up to the SSO.


  2. Richard says:

    I have not yet tried with Moodle 1.9 or 2.0 but read in the Moodle forums about some changes to the Moodle SAML module required to work with Moodle 2.0.

    It looks like Moodle-Google integration is closer to ready for Moodle 2.0 than Moodle SAML. I may drop SAML and use Moodle as the authentication provider for Google Apps instead. I’m going to try this in July.