Safeguarding and scaling large university Moodle environments

May 27, 2021 By Júlia Verdaguer

Case studies from Moodle Certified Premium Partner Catalyst IT

Offering fully managed e-learning solutions for higher education institutions and businesses, Moodle Certified Premium Partner Catalyst IT provide exceptional technical expertise and implementation of Moodle learning environments to organisations worldwide.

When Covid-19 hit in March 2020, many large Universities had to quickly move all staff and students to online teaching and learning, which increased the demand on their Moodle instances exponentially. With the support of Catalyst IT, these organisations were able not only to successfully support their fully-online e-learning ecosystems with tens of thousands of users, but also to get their staff trained on how to use their Moodle Virtual Learning Environments efficiently. 

University of Bath

The University of Bath experienced a four-fold increase in the use of their VLE in 2020. Needing to safeguard their Moodle environment and reduce risks associated with system failure, they worked with Catalyst IT and successfully provided their students and staff with a trustworthy system and proactive 24/7 support.

Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT)

By moving from a 3rd party hosting provider to a Catalyst-managed system, LIT ensured that their Moodle Virtual Learning Environment was well-supported and stable. Within 8 weeks in 2020, Catalyst moved LIT’s VLE to a cloud-hosted system running on the latest version of Moodle LMS. By also customising the look and feel of the VLE to be more in line with LIT branding and implementing a true single-sign-on (SSO), Catalyst ensured that LIT provides a smooth, streamlined, trustable consistent teaching and learning experience for 7,000 students and 1200 staff at a time of huge uncertainty.

Dublin City University (DCU)

Working with Catalyst since 2019, DCU’s Moodle platform -which supports over 18,000 students and staff and includes many customised pieces of Moodle functionality- is hosted in a DCU-owned cloud infrastructure using Catalyst’s fully containerized and scalable architecture design. When Covid-19 lockdown began in Ireland, Catalyst developed an e-assessment solution for 11,820 exams to be delivered via the Moodle VLE for over 7,000 unique students/exams with a period of only 5 weeks to prepare.

Coventry University

At Coventry University, Moodle is the core digital interface between educators and students, providing a space where students continuously learn, collaborate, and connect with the university. It provides 24/7 access to timetabling, discussion forums, learning materials and multiple pathways to knowledge and experiences, as well as a route for coursework submissions. With their previous hosting, the University encountered multiple service outages a year, especially around peak periods relating to coursework submission activity. In 2017, Coventry University moved their Moodle instances to Amazon Web Services (AWS) with Catalyst IT, turning Moodle into a platform that can scale to meet their growth targets. Coventry University’s Moodle platform is always available for students, giving them access to critical-learning services at any time, and from anywhere.

La Trobe University (LTU)

LTU has an extremely active Moodle LMS. Working with Catalyst IT since 2015, LTU has made Moodle one of the core business applications in their suite of learning delivery tools. Thanks to Catalyst’s migration of LTU’s LMS to Amazon Web Services, the university’s Moodle uptime has been maintained at above 99% since 2015, with a 23% improvement in response times.


Navitas is a global education provider with over 70,000 learners and 6,000 employees across a global network of 120 colleges and campuses. As they grew organically, they created over 40 individual Moodle LMS sites, with a mixture of on-premise hosting and external, across a range of providers. This made it difficult to maintain their sites in a standardised way, to scale their learning environments as they grew as an organisation, and to meet the User Experience standards that they had set. Catalyst worked closely with Navitas to migrate all 40+ sites seamlessly to cloud hosting on AWS and to standardise the codebase across all sites – while customising each of them with its unique requirements. Catalyst’s fully managed service for Navitas enables the organisation to focus on providing great experiences for their learners, while Catalyst take care of maintaining their Moodle-based eLearning infrastructure.

Monash University

Ranking among the world’s top 100 Universities, Monash University supports over 86,000 students. When Monash wanted to improve their eLearning experience for both their staff and learners, Catalyst successfully migrated over 10,000 active courses to AWS, where they now support an average of 14,000 page requests per minute and up to 9 million page views per week. With Catalyst’s on-going support, Monash keeps innovating with Moodle to create and support a positive, engaging and sustainable educational framework.