Thanks for the quick reply, Petr!
Hm, I see. The gradebook with grades for activities needs to be available across courses, so that the grades you get in the 8th grade are available when you complete the 10th grade. I work in secondary school and Food and health is a final grade in the 9th grade that needs to be on the exam paper after 10th grade. Is this possible with Moodle?
From the schools point of view, the work you did in the 8th grade only needs to be available until the school year is over, and some days if any complaints are filed and documentation of student work needs to be looked at again.
However, from the students and teachers point of view, many want to keep all the work they did, look at things again and so on.
The 8th grade is the 8th grade - you cover the same level material or goals and you refine, remove and add new approaches. I want to gain more time do learn from the experiences of last year and improve how the team or the next team of teachers should do it.
At my secondary school this autumn we have the Graduates of 2012, Graduates of 2013 and Graduates of 2014.
If I first create three course categories - "Gratuates of 2012" and so on - and secondly add 10 meta-courses to each of them named "10th grade autumn 2011 - spring 2012", "10th grade autumn 2012 - spring 2013", "10th grade autumn 2013 - spring 2014" and so on. The way I see it, I can at year's leave everything as it is and make a final backup of say "10th grade autumn 2011 - spring 2012" without most user content (glossaries or databases should maybe be kept) - keeping all resources and activities and restoring this backup into "10th grade autumn 2012 - spring 2013" before schools begins in the autumn. Students then don't have to removed from anything until they are done. Assuming it's available, it may even allow any student in need of advanced material to get it.
If a student is allowed to enter several courses, is it possible to set a standard course or home course upon login, like the year they are supposed to be in? Like the "standard printer"-setting? Then I don't have to hide previous or later courses, as the students for the most part will be in the course they're supposed to be. Hm. If previous grades are locked, that shouldn't be a problem, should it?
I see now that I have in a long-winded way mostly described what you said in your last sentence. Do you see any problems with this approach besides the growing size of the database?
However, before using cohorts I need to be sure that removed/reinstated students who move away and come back can find what they've done. Cohorts at present warns that this may be deleted.