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LMS Class Site Retention Period


Pepperdine University has adopted a retention period for class sites on its primary learning management system (LMS), Courses (powered by Sakai).  Our Courses LMS was first piloted in 2009 and officially adopted in 2011. The LMS is available to all five schools of the University and can facilitate traditional (face-to-face), hybrid/blended/hyflex, or fully online teaching and learning. As of April 28, 2022, we have created over 82,000 class and project sites, consuming over 5.6 TB of storage.  Effective July 31, 2022, a five-year retention period for sites in Courses will be initiated. To help our faculty and site managers adjust to this new process, we will implement the retention period in several stages. See the Retention Schedule below.


To keep our LMS system running smoothly and promote modern accessibility practices, Pepperdine University will adopt a five-year site retention period. The retention period will also promote best practices in stewardship of University resources, academic records retention, student privacy, and instructional design.

As a reminder to all faculty and staff, Pepperdine University has a web accessibility policy that must be considered when creating, reviewing, importing, or adopting class content or tools. The removal of older LMS content will reduce the likelihood of the reuse of outdated materials, especially those that may not adhere to the most recent accessibility guidelines (WCAG 2.1 guidelines, published June 5, 2018).

Retention Schedule

Class Site Removal

Permanent Deletion Date Creation Years of Sites for Removal Site Age At the Time of Planned Deletion
July 31, 2022 2009-2014 8-13 years old
July 31, 2023 2015-2017 6-8 years old
July 31, 2024 2018 5-6 years old
July 31, 2025 2019 5+ years old

Beginning in 2025, the staggered schedule will be complete and the standard site retention period will be in effect, removing 5-year-old content on an ongoing annual basis each summer.

What Faculty Need to Do

During the first phase of removal, the content is 8-13 years old (2009-2014). Not all professors used Courses during this window of time. Also, given the age of these sites, some of the content may no longer contain information that is relevant to current class offerings. Additionally, after students graduate, their student accounts are disabled and professors will no longer be able to associate academic work held in a class site with a specific student*.

*NOTE: Student accounts that have been deactivated in the University's central network directory after graduation will no longer be visible in Courses. You will not be able to download or view grades or assignments from deactivated student accounts.

Reviewing Old Class Content

Consider the following steps when you review older content on Courses:

  1. Do you still need it? Is this content still current or relevant to your latest class learning objectives or teaching materials?
  2. Is it accessible? Are students that may need to use screen readers or other accessibility tools able to use this content?
  3. Do you already have a copy (or copies!) of it? You likely uploaded the content to the LMS from your computer. Do you have original copies on your computer hard drive or cloud storage? Or maybe you have been importing past class content each semester into your newer class sites, so you have copies there?

Remember, if you already have copies of the information on your computer, devices, cloud storage, or other LMS class sites, then you don't need to spend extra time downloading duplicate copies of older materials.

Retaining Class Site Content

After your assessment of any older class sites, if there is content that is important to retain and you don't have other copies of it already, then it will be important to take steps to download the content or import materials to a new class or project site.

Download Your Older Content

Visit each of the old class sites in the relevant retention period and refer to these instructions for the appropriate tools:

Remember, you can use the "Sites" menu of Courses to visit sites from specific academic terms. If you have hidden older class sites, you can use the "Membership" tool of your "Home" site to view all sites. 

Import Older Content into a New Class or Project Site

It is easy to import content that is still relevant and meets accessibility standards to a current class site.

Don't have a new site yet? Consider creating your own project site.  After you create a personal project site, you can import your older class content into this site for later reference or use in future classes.

Again, when you are retaining older content, be sure to evaluate all documents, web links, or other resources to be sure that the content remains relevant to current learners and also adheres to Pepperdine's accessibility and security standards. Update or delete any content that does not meet quality, security, or accessibility standards. For example, old Adobe Flash or Shockwave content should be deleted with a vengeance!

Project Site Removal Period and Extensions (Coming May 2023)

Beginning in 2023, project sites will be added to the retention period.

Class Sites vs. Project Sites

Course sites or “Class” sites are officially created sites intended for academic purposes.  The creation of these sites is based on data from our student information system, WaveNet. Our data retention process will initially focus on official class sites. "Project" sites, however, are collaborative sites and are not under consideration for removal in 2022.  Any official community member (current student, faculty, or staff) can create a project site and enroll members. Project sites will not be included in the initial retention period. Technology and Learning will work with the TechLearn Faculty Steering Committee and the community to identify project sites under review at that time so that all University employees can act accordingly.


Starting in 2023 (eligible class sites 2015-2017), we will provide an online extension request form for continuing doctoral programs only.  Any extension will offer one additional year for interested students to download any needed materials before the site is permanently deleted with the next round of removals.

Frequently Asked Questions

  Why was five years selected?

Pepperdine University has adopted a five-year retention period since the majority of academic programs are 4-years or fewer. Five years added a little extra time for review and was also generous in comparison to many other institutions that retain LMS class content for shorter periods of time.

At the end of the day, faculty need only to retain content that remains current and relevant to teaching.  Instructors can and do already import content from prior terms into new class sites, reducing the need to retain multiple instances of the same content across multiple classes and terms. Importantly, reducing the storage, database, and system load on the LMS will lead to greater performance and reliability for current classes.

  What about doctorate students who may study beyond five years?

Starting next year, prior to the removal date in 2023, Technology and Learning will provide a request form to submit an extension for select sites.  This will provide one year of additional time for faculty or students participating in those older class sites to retain applicable content for long term storage outside of the LMS.

  How can instructors look back at class content in response to a former student requesting a letter of recommendation?

Professors can always review past grade information in WaveNet which is the official location for final academic grades. After students graduate from Pepperdine, however, their network accounts will be disabled and then removed. Once alumni network account deactivation happens, their information will no longer be visible within Courses. This means that roughly 90 days after graduation, professors will not be able to view or access past class information for alumni. 

  How do I handle grade disputes if student content in Courses is removed after five years?

All schools require quick action related to grade disputes. Some require action within three weeks (14 business days) of the dispute or the posting of final semester grades.  None of the schools allow disputes beyond one year (at most, two semesters for the "next non-summer term").

Caruso School of Law (CSOL)

See page 20, topic 6.32 "Modification of Grades" of CSOL's Academic Policy. Specifically, "For all examinations taken during the fall semester, any grade corrections must be made prior to the end of the following spring semester. For all examinations taken during the spring semester or summer session, any grade corrections must be made prior to the end of the following fall semester."

Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP)

See page 234, heading "Academic Dispute" within the GSEP Academic Catalog. Specifically, "... [action must be taken] within 14 business days of the dispute arising (excluding University holidays and term breaks)."

Graziadio Business School (PGBS)

See the topic "Grade Appeal" in the Academic Policies of the PGBS Academic Catalog.  Specifically, "In either case, students have up to 30 calendar days from the date the grade was assigned to initiate the appeal process."

School of Public Policy (SPP)

See page 121, heading "Student Petition" within the SPP Academic Catalog. Specifically, "... student issues must be made within one semester of completion of the coursework…"

Seaver College

See the Registrar's Grade Disputes for Seaver College.  Specifically, "This process must be initiated by the student before the midpoint of the next non-summer semester, which immediately follows the course in question."


See Also