Coursework Advanced Techniques: Beyond the Basics

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Customizing

  • Forums Settings - Setting up Forums usually requires changing some settings, and one example is shown on this page.
  • Gradebook Setup - An example of how to use the Gradebook tool, including suggestions for tracking attendance.
  • Assignments Embedding Video - How to embed web video from sources like YouTube.

For security reasons, many of the embedding capabilities have been disabled in Coursework. However, if you have a compelling use case, please contact your ATS to see if there is a work-around available.


Site Social: Student collaboration and content creation

Many instructors and students feel that there is a gap between the collaborative, creative environment that educators try to foster for students and the rigid structure of current learning management systems like CourseWork. The next generation of these systems will almost certainly incorporate many "social" aspects of learning, but there may be some instructors who would like increase opportunities for students to work together now. Following are some ideas from exemplary courses and presentations at Sakai conferences and discussion boards.\\


  • Wiki - The Wiki tool is one place in CourseWork where students can post things for other students to see and interact with. However, given the way that students currently use CourseWork, it is not a given that they will just automatically start contributing. Usually it helps to have a basic set of goals and structure for the work on the wiki, but not something that is too specific, and thus restrictive. I have used the wiki for things like collaborative word lists with great success.


  • Profile pages - You can give students a chance to introduce themselves to their peers in the class by creating a page for each of them in the Wiki tool. One option is to just leave it up to them to do it all, but it might be a good idea to specify a bit of structure, and even add some basics before the start (a name, a photo).


  • Recent Changes - If you are running part of the class in the Wiki tool, and especially if that includes students making their own profiles, making a page which displays recent changes is a good way for everyone to see what is going on. This often serves a wide range of purposes, including a source of examples for less confident contributors, a reminder of what is due soon, and a way to share information informally. The Wiki tool has a macro that does this. Just add the following to a page:
{recent-changes}

You can even make that the sole content for one page, which can then be displayed elsewhere in the site, including the Homepage.


  • Threaded discussions - The Forums tool does this very nicely and is quite robust. However, there is no way to get a list of recent changes as there is in the Wiki tool. One other option would be to set up a Wordpress blog with both viewing and contributing access restricted to the class, using one of the the ITS Collaboration tools.


  • Breaking out of your site - While sites for courses are restricted to students enrolled in those courses, there is a way to break the work out of those barriers. If you would like to use the same tools available in CourseWork, but for example, combine several sections or courses, you can request a CourseWork Project site. Enrollment can be drawn from several courses and the site need not be limited to the duration of the quarter. Beyond that, you can always use a blog, wiki or even a Drupal site from the ITS Collaboration tools.


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