VIULearn Course Cleanup

VIULearn Course Cleanup

VIU has been using VIULearn (D2L's Brightspace learning environment) since 2012. We have accumulated 1000's of courses with content and student data over that time. It is time to institute a retention process for course access and storage that aligns with best practices in post-secondary education.

VIULearn is a place for current courses (past 2 years) and associated learning content and student data. Starting July 2018 and every July 1, VIULearn courses will be permanently deleted according to the communicated schedule.

Exporting and saving courses offline is the best method for keeping copies of old courses. In this way if you wish to access an older course, use content from it or copy contents into a new course, you simply import the past course content from the exported file.


July 5, 2021, we will be permanently deleting old semesters and all courses within the following semesters. 

  • Fall 2017, 2018.

  • Year 2017, 2018.

  • Continuous Intake 2017, 2018.

  • Spring 2018, 2019.

  • Intersession 2018, 2019.

  • Summer (May and June) 2018, 2019

Information and Hands-On Sessions

We do not have any more info sessions scheduled for 2021. If you need help backing up your course, please email to schedule a one on one consultation with a Learning Technology Support Specialist. 


Beginning in 2018, we will be deleting old content from VIULearn. All courses in designated semesters will be permanently deleted. When a course is deleted, all course content, activities, and related student data is deleted. This data cannot be recovered after the course is deleted. 

You can export your course content and save it offline. This course export package can include all of the components of your course except student data. This means Announcements, Content, Assignments, Grades, Discussions, Quizzes, and other VIULearn course materials will be saved in zipped package which can be stored on your computer, an external drive, or in your U drive (or all of the above).

If you want to use this content again in the future, the exported course can be imported into a new VIULearn course.

No. All courses within the semester will be deleted. We cannot keep some courses and delete others within the same semester. When a course is deleted all course content, activities, and students’ data are deleted. This will affect any manually created courses, hubs, or development shells that were put in these semesters by faculty request.

If you require a development space within VIULearn to preserve and develop material for courses that do not run annually, you can request a manual course and copy your course materials into that course.

VIU's Student Data Retention Policy requires that student data be kept for one year. We are keeping two years of courses and student data in VIULearn at all times.

If there is student data that you wish to retain beyond two years for your own records, you can export the following student data from VIULearn:

  • Grades
  • Assignment submissions
  • Discussion posts
  • Quiz attempts and statistics
  • Survey Reports

We have had VIULearn since Intersession 2012. Each year, blank course shells are created automatically for every course and section that has been entered into the scheduling and workload system/registration system for that upcoming academic year. In 2019 we had more than 40,000 courses in our learning management system.

We can’t keep courses in perpetuity; that is not good practice for any institution. Instead, we should look at VIULearn as a place for current courses and content. Faculty have the ability to export and save courses offline, and to import past course content when required.

This allows faculty members to keep any past courses they want, without having to navigate around unused, old courses every day in VIULearn.  Exporting and storing courses offline will also make it easier for faculty to manage their course content when they retire, go on a leave, or want to share their course content or activities with colleagues.

Deleted content is fully removed from VIULearn cannot be restored. We strongly recommend exporting your course components each term in order to ensure that you have a backup of your course. 

If you did not export a copy of your course before it was deleted, you will need to initiate a course recovery project to determine if any of your materials can be recovered. 

The deletion of old courses will occur in the first week of July each year. Once the deletion occurs, there is no way of retrieving deleted course content, activities, or student data. The schedule will be as follows for the next four years:

July 2021

Delete: Fall and Year 2017 and 2018, as well as Spring, Continuous, Intersession, May, and June 2018 and 2019.

Keep: Fall 2019 and Year 2019 to present.