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Creating a Moodle Backup

This article will cover how to create a backup of your module in Moodle for safe (offline) keeping. What is a Moodle backup – an mbz file ?

What is an .mbz file?

  • A Moodle Backup File (.mbz) is a compressed archive of a Moodle course that can be used to restore a course within Moodle. The file preserves course contents, structure and settings, but does not include student work or grades.
  • The contents of the .mbz cannot be accessed from your computer (outside of Moodle). For example, you cannot extract PDFs from the backup file, but if the course is restored on a Moodle server, files that were uploaded into the original course (and links to files stored elsewhere) will appear in the restored course.
  • Instructors can create and download an .mbz file of any course they teach to archive course Resources, Activities, and Settings for safekeeping.

What is included in an .mbz file?

Moodle Backup Files include:

  • Resources (e.g., Files, Folders, Pages, etc.)
  • Activities (e.g., Assignments, Quizzes and Quiz Questions, Questionnaires)
  • Settings (e.g., Course Format, Theme, Course Completion settings, and settings for Assignments and Quizzes)

Moodle Backup Files do NOT include:

  • Student enrollment
  • Groups
  • Guest Access settings
  • Contributions to collaborative activities (Wiki, Forum, Glossary, Database, etc.) made by any course member, including the instructor

Why download a Moodle Backup File (.mbz)?

  • An .mbz file can be used to restore a course previously taught on Moodle. If a course has been removed from Moodle, you can restore the course contents in Moodle from an .mbz file.
  • An .mbz file can also be used to restore a course on a different Moodle server (e.g., at a different University of a backup server in the same University).
  • It is a good idea to create an mbz file at the end of the semester after all grading submissions are entered and all assignements are marked and the gradebook updated. This will snapshot your course at that moment in time.
  • It is also a good idea to make a backup if something important happens within a courses teaching throughout a semester – a big MCQ took place or e-tivities were submitted etc.

Why should I also back up course content and student work, in addition to downloading an .mbz?

Manually backing up your course content can help you reuse course materials in future semesters and keep a record of your students’ work. Because .mbz files cannot be used outside of Moodle and do not include student data, you should also manually back up course content, grades and student submissions in a form you can easily access on your own computer. Access the gradebook and export your students grades and submissions within the gradebook in a format you can easily read – ie Microsoft Excel.

Create a Moodle Backup File (.mbz)

You must have the Teacher role in a course to create and download a Moodle Backup File.

  1. Log in to Moodle and open the course you would like to back up.
  2. In the menu bar at the top of your course page, select the Course Management button(gear icon ). The Course Management panel will open.
  3. On the Course Management dropdown panel, select Backup. The first of several backup pages will open.
  4. On the Initial settings page, select which content to include and click Next. The Schema settings page will open.
  5. The Schema settings page lists content to be exported. Make any desired changes and click Next. The Confirmation and review page will open.
  6. In the File name field, you can rename the backup file (optional), then scroll to the bottom of the page and click Perform backup. When the backup is complete, you will see a confirmation message: “The backup file was successfully created.”      
  7. Click Continue. The Restore course page will open. Down the page there is a Course Backup Area section. In here you will find your newly created backup.
  8. Scroll to the Course Backup Area. Your most recent backup file appears at the top of the list.
  9. To the right of the file name to download, click Download. (You may need to scroll right to view the link.)
    Note: Do not select Restore here as this will simply restore your Backup in the Moodle course you just backed up.
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