Moodle 2.7.1 Assignment Feedback Errors (Error 500)

>Over the past few weeks, we’ve been having quite a few problems with our assignment mod on our 2.7.1 Moodle install. The problem specifically relates to feedback given to students whereby upon attempting to get to the page where feedback is uploaded, that page will just wait, and wait and wait and….you get the idea.

I attempted to run through the standard debug process, stop the code at intervals to try and troubleshoot, but nothing. I even tried to upgrade the assign mod to the latest point release but that made no difference. My next step was to move onto the libraries that make up parts of Moodle, but again this was unsuccessful.

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How to Update Your Moodle to 2.7

>This morning, I managed to successfully update my Moodle 2.5.3 to the latest version of Moodle, version 2.7+. Just for the record, the update history that I’ve followed to get me to this point is 1.9 > 2.2 > 2.3 > 2.5 > 2.7. I had to upgrade both my PHP and MySQL installations to ensure that I can use this version. This new Moodle seems to be a good release as I found no problems doing the upgrade in both a test and a live environment.

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Moodle 2.6 vs 2.7 (Part 2)

> Last week, I was torturing myself with the dilemma of moving our Moodle infrastructure to either version 2.6 or version 2.7.

After having all weekend to think about things from a future-proofing perspective, I’ve decided that realistically the only way in which we can carry forward is with version 2.7. Much of the groundwork for this install has happened this morning with a server upgrade to the latest versions of PHP 5.5 and MySQL 5.6. I’ve not updated either of these for a little while as they’ve both been running harmoniously but in order to do the necessary install then both of these had to happen.

My reasons for moving to the latest version (2.7.1+ at the time of writing) are as follows:

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Moodle 2.6 or Moodle 2.7?

>Ok, it’s been a long time since my last post here but I would like to share my thoughts throughout this year on our current version of Moodle, version 2.5.

Version 2.5 has for us, been very stable. Don’t get me wrong in any way, shape or form, read through my previous posts and you’ll soon see what I mean about little niggling problems, most of which have been resolved over the last 10/11 months or so.

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Moodle – Word, PowerPoint, Excel (Office 2010, 2013) Login Page Shown on File Download Windows 8

>Yesterday, I spent most of my afternoon looking through the Moodle code to try to work out why whenever a file was downloaded in Moodle, the Moodle login page was shown within the document when changing from protected view. The behaviour is consistent across Windows 8 and Office 2010 and 2013 suites from what I can tell.

As you can imagine, this is rather frustrating for all users who need to download any files from Moodle courses. The only workaround that I could find was to get users to save the document, rather than open it. It turns out that this behaviour relates to the use of Internet Explorer and an Office suite of applications. It seems that the Office application¬†tries to download the file, hence why the login screen is displayed. There were various solutions touted on the Moodle forums but there wasn’t anything concrete. Some suggested adding prohibited verbs in IIS for the values of ‘OPTIONS’ and ‘PROPFIND’, but in my experience yesterday this made no difference whatsoever. This behaviour does not happen whenever you attempt to download a file from a folder oddly enough and only seems to happen from a course home page.

The only way that I could force users to download the file was to change pluginfile.php in the root of the Moodle install on line 35 to read the following:

$forcedownload = optional_param(‘forcedownload’, 1, PARAM_BOOL);

This seems to work and fixes the problem completely. Time will tell whether or not this breaks something else but for now I’m running with it. I’ll keep an eye on this to see if there’s a permanent fix that can be achieved from the IIS side of things, however it seems that there are other people out there with the same problem. York St John University¬†are also apparently having the same issue and they’re running Apache.

Moodle 2.5, IE11 JSON, TinyMCE, Upload Errors – Solved

>Now that I’ve made the plunge and updated to Windows 8.1, I’ve had no choice but to use IE11.

Initially, everything appeared to be fine, until I started to upload documents and mess about with the files. Compatibility mode didn’t manage to fix anything and I’ve always hated using that as a solution to a problem anyway so I thought that I’d find the solution to my problem. The problem seems to affect versions 2.5.3 and below and is definitely fixed from 2.5.4 onwards. This fix sorts out the old ‘Invalid JSON string’ error, TinyMCE loading errors and uploading file errors (through the previous two errors).

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DPM 2012: Job Failed, SQL Server Instance Refused Connection To The Protection Agent

> Working with Microsoft DPM can be incredibly frustrating at times. Some of the error messages can be a little too vague and sometimes the replicas can just be inconsistent for no apparent reason. However what it does very well, is potentially get you out of a massive hole should something go catastrophically wrong.

Recently, I’ve been on a project to migrate our Microsoft SQL databases (<2012) to a new SQL Server 2012 Enterprise server on our brand new Hyper-V cluster. During this, all users and databases have been put in one place and DPM has been used to look after the task of backups.

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Reasons Not To Upgrade To Moodle 2.6

>Over the past couple of years, Moodle has been on a path to a rapid release cycle for their software releases which in many ways is on the scale of being both good and bad.

The general pros of this approach, besides the the newer features and a host of minor impovements, is that everything has been built quickly on the previous release. This is great for users that may have previously found a particular aspect of Moodle a source of frustration that has now been fixed for whatever reason. Visually not much will change so consistency is never a big deal as there are never any massive changes.

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Moodle 2.5 – 3 Months On

>Three months into our upgrade from Moodle 2.3.1 to 2.5 and everything in all honesty has been excellent.

As I’ve previously mentioned in my blog that I always thought that 2.3 codebase was very immature and there were lots of bugs that had yet to be resolved. Thankfully, I can say now that *most* of these have been worked out. The Moodle devs claim that things should also be a bit faster, and they are, but in reality your users will be hard pressed to notice any real world difference even when I’m running Moodle on relatively high end hardware.

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Moodle 2.5 onwards: Too many users to show (x) – Updated Fix

>Those familiar with Moodle and managing users within Moodle will be aware that for some time now that the users are quite difficult to manage, especially if you’ve got several thousand of them. The task is already somewhat difficult, however to add to the frustration when you’re looking directly for users or adding users to groups, Moodle has a 100 user limit on each search.

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