Whilst a course for an Oppia implementation is being developed, and before the app in launched, course content can be updated and published to the server as often as is necessary.
However, once a course has been launched, and is being used by learners, publishing updates should be well planned and coordinated. Firstly to reduce the burden and potential confusion to users for having a lot of small, regular updates and secondly, to ensure a good review can be made of the content before it is made live for learners.
For testing updates to a live course, there are several options:
Option 1: Publish as draft/test course
When you are exporting from Moodle, you can specify if the course is a draft/testing version or a live version.
If draft/test is selected the course shortname will automatically have “-draft” appended to it and be pushed as a draft course to the Oppia server.
In this way, you’re able to push an updated draft/test version of a course that is already live to users, without overwriting the currently live version of the course.
Once you are happy with all the updates, you can publish as a live course and then it will update the live version on the Oppia server, and get pushed out to users.
Option 2: Publish to a staging server
If you have a separate staging server for Oppia, you can use this to publish your updated course to and test against this server.
For testing in the app, first log out (if you’re already logged in and connected to a live server), then change the server you’re connecting to to be your staging server.
Once you are happy with all the updates, you can publish as a live course on your live server, and get pushed out to users. Or, if you prefer, publish as a draft course to you live server (as option 1 above), for a final test, before making live.
Option 3: Combination of the above 2
You can publish a course as draft/testing or live to a staging server, although as it’s a staging server, it’s not live to all your users (only your testers connected to the staging server).
You might want to go through the process of publishing as draft and then live on your staging server, to get familiar with the process (and how users are notified about updates), but without impacting your actual users.
How are users notified about course updates?
[we are working on ways to improve the course notification process]
When a course is updated and published live, users will be notified on their phone for courses that they already have installed (when they have an internet connection available on their device).
Users will not be notified about:
updates to courses that they don’t already have installed
courses that are no longer live
Note that users are not forced to update courses, it is their decision when to update a course (e.g. when they have access to wifi, or good mobile internet connection)
How to deal with courses that are no longer live
If a course is not being updated, but instead being removed, currently, users are not notified that a course is no longer in use.
The current/best approach will be to:
Replace/update the course content to a single page to notify users they should remove the course from their phones, and place the course in an ‘archive’ category.
Then when users update the course, they will know that it is no longer valid.
If the course is just archived from the server side, users will not get any notification, and they may continue to use it, not knowing that it is no longer in use. Although of course, new users will not be able to download this course.
Courses cannot be ‘remotely deleted’ from a users device. Similarly with course updates, if will be up to the users to decide when to update a course on their device.
What happens to learner progress when a course is updated?
When a course is updated, any activities that have been changed (in any way, from a minor typo, to a rewrite), the old version of the activity is essentially ‘detached’ from the new version of the course.
Any deleted activities are also just detached, and any new activities are just added. The tracker and quiz scores etc are retained.
From a user perspective on their device, when they download the new version:
if they haven’t yet completed the old version of the activity, there’s no real difference to them
if they completed the old version of the activity, but not completed the course, the updated version of the activity will now show as no longer completed
if they have already completed the course and got the badge, then they will keep the badge, but the updated version of the activity will now show as no longer completed
What happens if a user continues to use an old version of a course?
If a user does not update (or remove) a course, they will be able to continue to use it on their devices as the version they have installed. They will still get points for completing activities, but they will not be awarded a badge for completing an old version of a course. Their usage information is still tracked on the server.