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Improving Moodle import. Part 3: The application

We have developed a new import tool for importing materials from one course to another. The advantages over the Moodle import are:

  • it is easy to use
  • it is reliable
  • it is fast
  • it only imports questions used in the quiz while maintaining question category structures that are used
  • it shares many similarities with our custom rollover tool
  • clicks to import materials is a minimum of 3 compared to the standard moodle which has a minimum of 6
  • it imports embedded files without bringing all files (unlike Moodle 1.9 import)


Technical stuff

Anyone with experience of Moodle’s import, backup and restore features will know that reliability is an ongoing problem. If you are in any doubt try following the backup and restore discussions.

Further to this it is still a bit clunky to use. For example, it takes too many clicks, it brings all questions in quizzes whether they are used or not in the quiz you are importing (see bug tracker issue) and, in our version, it does not bring embedded files or images.

Our import does not rely on the backup and restore functionality. This means it does not create a temporary zip of an xml representation of the course and associated files which is useful when transferring courses between Moodle installs and keeping course-based backup, but inefficient when importing materials between courses within a Moodle install. Instead it copies records within tables and data files. As  a result our import is fast and reliable where, in our experience, the standard Moodle import hasn’t been.

Please feel free to ask any questions!


  1. Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Hi Paolo,

    Just a word of thanks for posting the demo of your in house import tool. From the perspective of the end user who will be performing the import, it is by far and away much more intuitive than the current Moodle import feature. I particularly like that there are only a minimum of options presented to the ‘importer’, and that it all happens in-place, without the need to generate .zip files etc. Have you any plans to release this to the wider community?

    We are particularly interested in following some of your Moodle inovations in Waterford Institute of Technology; in-place import, sites by academic year of delivery etc. Would it be possible to discuss some of these offline?

    best regards,

  2. Paolo Oprandi
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Hi Cathal,

    thanks for registering your interest. We would like to plug this back in to Moodle at some point but we are very busy, so don’t expect it any time soon I am afraid.

    You can email me and we can organise a telephone call, video conference or you can come down and see us at any point. We will also be at Moodle Dublin if you would like to catch us there.

    Best wishes

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