1.0 Purpose

Elon University provides and maintains access to a learning management (LMS) system in support of the university’s mission. Moodle is the official LMS supported by the university. The data retention policy clarifies the lifespan of courses and users in order to ensure optimal performance of the LMS.

2.0 Scope

The Elon University LMS Course Retention Policy applies to all users with authorized access to manage courses (academic, departmental, and organizational) within the university’s LMS.

This policy does not cover any additional tools, managed or not managed by Elon University, an instructor might choose to use for their course (for example, external blogs, etc.). In these cases, the instructor is responsible for keeping any applicable course content for the purposes of responding to university regulations regarding grievance procedures for grading and/or course refunds.

2.1 Definitions

  • Retention – keeping content in a live and accessible state.
  • Backup – copies of live content made for disaster recovery purposes.
  • Recovery – restoring deleted data.
  • Course – an area where files, activities, and resources are added for participants to access. Courses can be academic, departmental, or organizational.
  • Course owner – anyone assigned the role of “teacher” in a course.
  • Course content – all data uploaded by course owner(s) and participants in a course.
  • Site – The entire learning management system, including courses, users, settings, and configurations.
  • Admin – A limited number of IT staff who are responsible for the upkeep, configuration, and reliable operation of the learning management system.

3.0 Policy

3.1 Content Recovery

Course content can be recovered at two levels: 1) at the course level by the course owner, and 2) at the site level by the admins and vendor.

Course level
All course owners have access to a recycle bin in their course management section. Any activity or resource deleted in the last 30 days can be recovered from the recycle bin by the course owner, along with the grades associated with the activity or resource. Content older than 30 days cannot be recovered.

Site level
Admins have access to the recycle bin at the course level and site level to recover course content or courses deleted in the last 30 days.

3.2 Course Backup

Manual Backups
Course owners can create a backup of their courses at any time in the Course Backup area.

  • These backups are for personal records.
  • These backup file(s) should be downloaded by the course owner as soon as possible. These backup file(s) should not reside permanently in the LMS due to their effect on space and performance.
  • All manual backups residing in the LMS will be deleted by admins in the same time period when academic courses are deleted, and the users will be notified prior to deletion.

Site-wide Backups
Automatic site-wide backups are maintained by the admins and vendor. These backups are used for large-scale disaster recovery purposes only.

3.3 Course Retention


  • Academic courses will be deleted two years after course start date (Example: All 2019 courses would be deleted from Moodle during Summer 2022).
  • Non-academic courses (i.e., organizational and departmental courses) will be deleted one year after the last activity. The last activity is defined as the last time any user, including an admin user , accesses the course.
  • Prior to deletion, the course owner will receive notification via email.
  • Academic courses will not be retained beyond two years.
  • Organizational and departmental courses will be given an option to opt out. If the course owner doesn’t respond to the request in 30 days, the course will be deleted.

Any user who does not access the system for one year will be considered inactive, and their account will be changed to a suspended state. Users whose accounts are in a suspended state will have their course enrollments preserved, but they will be unable to log into the system. Users can request their account to be re-activated, if they are a current student or employee.