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Moodle Tech Tip: Strange Moodle behaviour after upgrade? Check plugins!

Have you updated Moodle recently and noticed problems?  One of the first places to look is plugins…

OK, so if you are a Moodle administrator reading this we are going to assume that:

  • You had a full site backup / image before upgrading
  • You have a safe copy of the Moodle database
  • You updated existing plugins before upgrading

Even so, you can still run into problems.

We had exactly this situation recently with a client site we are hosting at HRDNZ (Moodle Partner).

Everything above was done correctly (well, we are talking about Moodle Partner hosting here so you would expect that!).  But after the upgrade a strange situation existed that whenever the ‘Turn editing on’ button was activated by a Teacher, it was no longer possible to drag and drop items on the course page to reorder them.

In fact, the whole screen would simply then lock up, and couldn’t be unfrozen until editing was turned off and on again.  Most frustrating for the Teachers who are creating content.

After a few hours trouble-shooting, we eventually worked out it was a plugin that was causing this.  Simple enough to verify, as when it was disabled the site worked perfectly, and hewn enabled the site broke.

But the most interesting thin here is that the plugin was from a commercial providers, and it was verified as being suitable for the version of Moodle.  And, simply put, it just wasn’t.

We worked with the provider on behalf of the client, because the conversation naturally got very technical indeed !  And it was resolved.

But it does remind us that even when a plugin appears to be correct, if you have problems after a Moodle upgrade, and things are misbehaving, it’s very easy to disable all plugins, and then re-enable them one at a time to see what the impact is.

Stuart Mealor
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Stuart Mealor

Stuart is interested in all things e-learning, with specific interests in Moodle, e-learning strategy, and business development. His experience in education over 30 years, MBA in International Business, and knowledge of e-learning systems implementation, together with graphic design background, give him a unique skill set for e-learning projects.

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