Setting up an unconventional school environment

This post originated in an email to, I have copied it here to continue the discussion:

Hi, we have installed Gibbon for a small technical college that does not use traditional school years. We quickly discovered that setting multiple school years to ‘current’ would cause an error. I saw that this error was to be addressed in v9.2, which should be incorporated in the release of v10 later in June. Would you be able to advise us as to how the best way to structure classes and courses within the Gibbon environment?

The school operates with a two year program. The programs are identical in the courses offered. There is an enrolment of a new class approximately every months. Here lies the initial problem I encountered. Each program runs for 18 months, with a new cohort/class beginning every 2 months. So at any given time there are about 16 classes occurring at the same time each at different stages of the program and at two different campuses. I initially thought to make each class as a distinct school year, but had the problem with multiple current school years. Would you have any suggestions how to structure the School Year, Year groups, Terms, and Roll groups?

Could you also explain the difference between ‘courses’ and ‘classes’? In moodle we have each course exclusively tied to a class. How does the courses and classes work in Gibbon.


Thanks for your email, and your positive feedback on Gibbon. It is, as an educator, a labour of love.

Your situation sounds interesting! Can I ask what country you are in?

When Gibbon v10 comes out, it will still not allow you to have multiple current years, it will just fail more gracefully when you try and set a second year to current. So, this does not present a solution to your situation.

In terms of school years, this has not been done yet, but it sounds like you could just have one school year, so it to current, and use it forever, without needing to ever rollover into another year. I think that should work: I can’t immediately come up with any adverse consequences, although there might be something unexpected.

You could set up something similar with year groups, just having one that contains all students. Each roll group could then be one of your cohorts, so Jan 2015, Mar 2015, May 2015, etc.

In Gibbon courses contain one or more classes. So, at my school ( we have Year 10 Science (SC10) which has three classes SC10.1, SC10.2, SC10.3. Using the Unit Planner (Learn > Planner), you can create content at the course level, and push it out to the classes as lesson plans.

I hope this information helps, but do let me know if you have any further questions.

In general, unless your query has some confidential information, please can you put questions on, as this helps make our answers available to others.

If you don’t mind posting this email on the forum, that would be great: I could answer it there as well so we have a record.

Hi Ross,
I am in Canada. Thanks so much for your response, it definitely helps. I wasn’t sure the implications of using a ten year block for the school year. I will try this and am sure I will have questions down the road.

Cambo, thanks for posting here, it is really useful to have this record. Good luck with getting the setup right: do let me know how you get on, and if I can help at all.