Manage automated course backups

A course can be saved with some or all of its parts by using the course backup. Typically, site administrators set a schedule of automated course backups for the whole site.

It is best practice to create the backups through Site administration. Although instructors with editing privileges can create backups of course content, backups created through Site administration include user data.

Set up the automated backup

Steps: Administration > Site administration > Courses > Backups

After setting up the backup, backup files of all the courses are created on the server at the time you specified. Once the backup is complete, Moodle sends you an email describing the status of the backup.

More on backup status

You can also find the most recent execution log of scheduled course backups in Site administration, Reports, and Backups. It displays a list of all course backups made, the time taken to create them, their status, and the next scheduled automated backup execution time.

  1. From Site administration select Courses and Backups.
  2. Select Automated backup setup.
  3. Select whether or not to Skip Non-Accessed Courses.

    Check the box to skip courses that have not been accessed or received enrollments since the last backup.

  4. Choose the days of the week to perform the automated backups.
  5. Select the time to run the backups in the Execute at drop-downs.

    Schedule backups when your server is not usually busy. Running backups over every course can be processor-intensive. You shouldn't run it when there are a lot of students attempting to access the server. You should always alert users with an announcement on the front page that if they log in during the backup hours, they may notice a decrease in performance.

  6. Select Specified directory for automated backups in the Automated backup storage menu.
  7. Select the number of backups you want to keep in the Maximum number of backups kept menu.
  8. Select the minimum number of backups you want to keep for each course in the Minimum number of backups kept menu.
  9. Select Use course name in backup filename to turn it on. This makes it easier to identify course backups.
  10. Decide if you want to skip any courses.
    1. Select Skip hidden courses.
    2. Select the number of days since a course has changed in the Skip courses not modified since menu.
    3. Select Skip courses not modified since the last backup.
  11. Select the Automated backup settings you want to include in the backup. Read the information provided with each option carefully to help you decide.
  12. Select Save changes.

To access the course backups after they are backed up, please use your Blackboard Open LMS SFTP credentials. If you don't know these, please create a support ticket on Behind the Blackboard.

Backup status

  • OK: The course backup was successfully completed.
  • Skipped: The course was skipped (not backed up) because the course was unavailable to students and had not been changed in the last 31 days. This is not an error, but a feature designed to save process time.
  • Unfinished: The backup was not finished. This might have happened because the job to execute backups ran out of time or resources. For example, the cron running the backups ran out of time before finishing all the courses waiting. Unfinished jobs should be completed when the next scheduled backups are performed.
  • Error: There were errors in the backup process for the course, so a backup was not completed. For additional details about the error:
    • Check the backup log for the affected course (select the course name in the backups log).


    • Back up the course manually with debugging turned on to see what error message is displayed.

Watch a video

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Moodle 2 Administration Courses provides a review of the Courses Administration settings immediately after Moodle 2 installation.