Merging Your Courses in eLearning

What is a merged course?

A merged course refers to a single main course in eLearning where instructors can manage multiple individual courses. The following terms are important to keep in mind:

  • Parent course – the main master course, where the instructor keeps the content and grades
  • Child course – the individual courses that combine to form the Parent course

Why would I need a merged course?

If you teach multiple sections of the same course, managing a merged course can make things much easier than having to deal with a number of different shells. For example, if you teach BIOL 2312.001, .002, and .003, you can have them merged into one course. This way, you only need to focus on one course (the merged Parent course) in eLearning instead of having to navigate between various sections.

How can I merge my courses?

The eLearning system will automatically merge courses that are cross-listed in Orion (i.e. CS/SE 1301.001 or ACCT/BA 1301.001). You can see if the system did this when those courses show up in your My eLearning page.

If you would like to manually merge your courses together, eLearning has a Merge Course Tool available for instructors to merge their courses together. When available, you can find this tool at the bottom of your My eLearning page. Click here to view the Merge Course Tool tutorial.

Please note: Only instructors can merge courses together. If you are not the instructor of the course, you will not be able to complete a merge.

When can I manually merge my courses?

The Merge Course Tool becomes available about one month prior to the semester start, and the tool remains available to faculty until the end of the first week of the semester.

What if I want to merge my course after the semester starts?

While the Merge Course Tool is available up to one week after the semester, it is important to remember that any student activity completed in the course (i.e. discussion posts, test submissions, grades) is no longer accessible after the course merge.  For this reason, it is important to do the merge as early as possible in that first week as possible – ideally, before the semester start.

What if I have questions?

Feel free to contact us at elearning@utdallas.edu with any of your questions.

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Copying Over Your Old Course for the New Semester

The Course Copy tool in eLearning allows instructors to quickly copy materials and layouts from one course to another. This tool can help you save time with your course development if your courses have minimal or no changes each semester.

Note: Older courses have been archived. You will need to contact eLearning to request access to those old courses if you would like to copy them over.

Follow the instructions below in the course with the materials you would like copied over. For example, if you want to copy your Spring 18 course to your upcoming Fall 18 course, follow the steps below in your Spring course.

  1. In your OLD course, select Course Copy under the Packages and Utilities section found on the left sidebar.
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  2. Click the dropdown box beside Select Copy Type and select Copy Course Materials into an Existing Course.
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  3. Beside Destination Course ID, click Browse and select the NEW course you want your materials copied to.
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  4. Select the items you would like copied over.
    • If you want the entire course copied over, simply click Select All.
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  5. Click Submit at the bottom.

If you would like to watch a video highlighting these steps, click here.

Email us at eLearning@utdallas.edu with your questions or comments.

Importing Groups in eLearning

If you have a large class and you need to divide your students into multiple groups, you can easily do so offline with a spreadsheet. The steps below will show you how you can export a list of groups and assign students to them.

Please note that you cannot remove users or groups. The import list must also only contain existing groups as well as students already enrolled in the course.

To import groups into your course, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the Groups page in your course.
  2. Reveal the Group Codes. You can do this by selecting Show Group Code under the View Options A column showing the codes will be revealed.
    • Note: If the Group Codes do not appear after following the step above, select the Export This command will prompt eLearning to reveal the Group Codes.
      ShowGroupCode
  3. Using the format in the image below, create a spreadsheet and assign users to their groups. Group Codes are entered in the first column. Student Net IDs are entered in the second column.
    SampleGroupMembers
  4. When you complete the previous step, save the spreadsheet as a CSV (comma-separated-value) file.
  5. Return to the Groups page in eLearning and select Import. Find the saved spreadsheet and upload it to your course.
  6. Select the group tools you want each group to be able to access. Previous tool availability settings are overwritten.
  7. Select Submit.

If you would like to learn more about Groups, please contact our Training Team. For any eLearning questions, email us at eLearning@utdallas.edu.

(This post comes from our eLearning Training Team.)

Emergency Datacenter Maintenance – Possible Service Interruption – July 26, 1-5am

Blackboard will perform emergency datacenter maintenance early tomorrow morning, July 26th (Thursday) from 1-5am CST. While we anticipate no interruption in eLearning service, we cannot entirely rule out brief periods of intermittent connectivity. We strongly recommend that students NOT take tests during this maintenance window. If you have any questions, please contact elearning@utdallas.edu.

Course Overview – AMS 3316.0W1 with Dr. Lynn Winstead

Our post this week comes from Dr. Lynn Winstead, a lecturer at UTD’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies. Her online course AMS 3316.0W1 explores interpersonal communication, which she explains below.

“Interpersonal communication is about the lost art of communicating between individuals, in this day of virtual everything. AMS 3316 focuses on relationships, and some of the intricate communication dynamics in different types of relationships. This course is designed to examine different communication situations and different ways of communicating on different levels and in varying types of relationships. Students learn about these interpersonal communication issues through video lectures, assigned readings, film/video screenings and writing assignments.  The primary objectives of this course is to improve and/or begin to develop an effective interpersonal communication style that is simple, natural, and direct.”

AMS 3316.0W1 will be offered for the Fall 2018 semester.

 

Dr. Winstead’s Biography

lynnwinstead

Dr. E. Lynn Winstead is a part-time adjunct lecturer at UT Dallas for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies where she teaches Interpersonal Communication, Crisis Communication, The Culture of Bullying in America and Professional Communication as online classes. She is the Assistant Director of the Employee Assistance Program at EY (Ernst & Young, LLP). She was a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice working with law enforcement officers and their families in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for over 20 years. Dr. Winstead worked for the Dallas Police Department and has worked as a crisis management consultant across the country for many years. Dr. Winstead resides in Dallas, Texas and enjoys spending time with her children, friends and family, reading and exercising in her free time.

How to Organize Your Online Course

A course’s structure can play a big role in determining a course’s success. Instructors and students alike need to be able to navigate through a course with as little effort as possible so that the focus can be on the course’s content, not hunting for it. This post will go over ways instructors can organize key areas of their online course.

Create Your Content Areas

The first step in course organization is to break your content up into logical segments. The sidebar on the left-hand side of your course is a great way to do this. Instead of uploading all your items to a single content area, you can add them to different content areas for easier navigation. The following image is an example of how this in action.

Sidebar

In this example, the instructor has created different logical content areas for the students to easily access. All homework assignments can be found or submitted in the Homework content area. Exams can be found in the Exams content area. With different content areas, students have a better idea about where certain items are located.

Note: If you want to add new areas to your course, you can do so by clicking the plus button on the top left-hand part of the sidebar, then selecting Content Area.

plus

Arrange Your Content

Once you have created your areas, you can start adding content to them. Just like with the sidebar, the content you add to the areas will also need to be organized. The following image is an example for a Learning Modules area.

Learning Modules

For each Learning Module, the instructor has created a folder. Anything relevant to a module (videos, readings, etc.) goes in that module’s respective folder. When a student opens the folder for Module 1, for example, they only see the content relevant for that module. Showing them only what’s necessary for each module prevents confusion as to what needs to be done for which week.

Clean Up Your Content Collection

Each course comes with a Content Collection, a space where instructors can upload files such as documents, images, and lecture videos. This space is limited only to instructors, so you don’t need to worry about students having access to any of the uploaded files unless you choose to deploy them.

By default, the Content Collection doesn’t sort anything you upload into folders, so uploading many files can make this space cluttered and difficult to navigate. That’s why it’s important to organize your Content Collection with appropriate folders, as demonstrated by the following image.

Content Collection

All of your course documents can be stored in a Documents folder. Your lectures videos can be stored in a Videos folder. You can name the folders however you like, and you can create as many as you need.

If this course has been taught several times over the years, you can also use this time to clean up your Content Collection and remove and old files (such as past syllabi) that you no longer use. While your students won’t ever see this Content Collection, organizing this storage space can help you easily find the files you need.

Email us at eLearning@utdallas.edu with your questions or comments.

Creating Group Smart Views

Smart Views allow instructors to focus on specific information in a course’s Grade Center. When you open a Smart View, eLearning will only display the information as defined by the Smart View. You can tailor Smart Views for various purposes, but this post will go over setting up Group Smart Views, which filter the Grade Center to only show the grades of students in a specific group.

There are two methods available for creating a Group Smart View.

Method 1:

  1. From the Groups page, click the check-boxes besides the group you would like to have a Smart View.New Group 1
  2. At the bottom of the page, select Bulk Actions, then click Create Smart View for Group.New Groups 2
  3. Click the gray arrow beside the name of one of the selected group and select Open Smart View. This will open the Grade Center and focus only on the group you selected.New Group 3

Method 2:

  1. From the Grade Center, hover over Manage and select Smart Views.Manage
  2. Select Create Smart View.
  3. Give the Smart View a name.
  4. Select Custom in the Type of View
  5. Edit the criteria in the Select Criteria section to fit your needs.
    • Example: You can create a Group criteria and Grade on Assignment criteria, as seen below.Selection
  6. When done editing, click Submit at the bottom.

Note: You can also select Smart Views to show up as Favorites in the Grade Center section on the left sidebar. To do this, return to the Smart View section as detailed in Method 2, then select the star under the Add as Favorite column. After you click OK at the bottom, you should now see the new favorite beneath Full Grade Center in the sidebar.

You can learn more about Smart Views on Blackboard’s website. If you would like training on groups and Smart Views, please contact our eLearning training team. You can also contact eLearning@utdallas.edu with your questions and comments.