Combining HuskyCT Course Sections

HuskyCT course sites are created for each course section activated in the Student Administration System (PeopleSoft).  When instructors teach more than one section of the same course, or it’s cross-listed, it may be desirable to combine them into one HuskyCT course site.

There are several advantages to combining sections:

  • Course content is published and maintained in one HuskyCT course site
  • Students in all combined sections access the same HuskyCT course materials
  • All students enrolled in the combined section appear in one Grade Center

There are also some potential disadvantages to consider:

  • Students have visibility to all students enrolled in the combined section
  • Courses with a high number of enrolled students (>100) can be difficult to manage in Grade Center

Groups and Smart Views can be used to mitigate the potential disadvantages.  We’ll review these in more detail at the end of this post.

Requesting combined courses

Course combine requests are processed by the HuskyCT team (UITS).  When a request is received, the team will create a new HuskyCT site to serve as the “parent” course.  Existing sections (included in the request) become “child” sections of the new “parent” site.

Once a section has been merged into a “parent”, the “child” section and all of its contents become unavailable.

Caution:  Course content, grades, student-submitted assignments, discussion board posts, group work, tests, and surveys do not transfer to the parent.  As such, it’s important that requests to combine courses be completed before adding content or allowing students to submit data.

Requests be facilitated in two ways:

Scenario #1:  Course content is not being copied/restored from a previously offered HuskyCT section.  In this case, instructors should email their request directly to huskyct@uconn.edu.  The email must include the section numbers to be combined.

Scenario #2: Course content will be copied/restore from a previously offered HuskyCT section.  In this case, instructors should use the online form.  Doing so, addresses both activities in a single, comprehensive request.

Accessing combined courses

Instructors

When course sections are merged, the instructor sees both the parent and child sections (example below).  All activity should be administered from the parent section.  To reduce the possibility of publishing content to the wrong section, child sections are listed as unavailable.

combined-section-display

Instructors have the option to hide the child sections from their view using these step-by-step instructions: http://abouthuskyct.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1715/2016/05/HideChildSections.pdf

Students

Students only see the section for which they are officially enrolled (i.e. one “child” section, matching the section they registered for in Student Admin).  To avoid confusion, they do not see the combined section listed under “My HuskyCT Courses”.

In the example pictured above, students registered in SEC001 see the following.

combine-section-student-display

When students click on their course link, they’re automatically taken to the “parent” section.

Using Groups and Smart Views

The Group tool allows instructors to organize students into various groups (or teams).  These groups can then be associated with specific assignments, assessments, blogs, journals, wikis, etc.  Groups can also be created to facilitate communication (email) with a specific section of the course.  Detailed information is available via Blackboard Help.

Grade Center includes three default views: Full Grade Center, Assignments and Tests.  Smart Views allow instructors to create additional views using custom filters.  For example, an instructor could easily create a custom view of students for each child section.

child-sections-smart-view

Detailed information for creating Smart Views is available from Blackboard Help.  Additional assistance is available by contacting either CETL Educational Technologies or Blackboard Direct.