Strategy: Manage multiple sections in one course shell
Should I have one shell for all sections?
You can safely run multiple sections in one shell if all sections will have the same due dates and content release dates.
For example, all assignments for all sections are due on Friday at 5pm, everyone has access to online materials on the same day/time, and quizzes are always due by Monday at 8pm.
Think twice before combining multiple sections into one shell if each section will need unique assessment submission due dates, content release dates, etc.
This requires separate assessments (quizzes, assignments) and separate grade items managed by a grade category.
Don't combine multiple sections into one shell if you are new to D2L Brightspace.
If you aren't completely comfortable with quizzes, grades, assignments and advanced features like release conditions and grade categories, this could be overwhelming.
|All sections in one course shell||Only one course shell to manage.||
Increased effort at beginning of term to set up restrictions for varying deadlines, separate grade items, etc.
Some potential for confusion.
There is no way to limit Instructors or TAs to only see their own section. If you have multiple instructors, or a different TA for each section, they need to be instructed appropriately so that they only grade, etc students in their section(s). You will need to coordinate your efforts more with this option.
|Separate course shell for each section||
Students only see the shell for their section.
Less chance for confusion.
Slightly increased effort throughout the term to manage multiple course shells (upload content multiple times, etc).
Risk of inconsistencies between shells.
If you decide to proceed with combining multiple sections into one course shell:
In this scenario, all students in the course will get access to content, assessments, grades at the same time, and their due dates will all be the same - regardless of their section number.
You only need one instance of each piece of content, each assignment submission folder, quiz, etc, if visibility and due dates are exactly the same for all sections in the course shell.
Example: Regardless of which day the students have class, the assignment is due for everyone at 11:59pm on Friday.
This may create conflict if some students have class on Monday, and others have it on Thursday, so you need to be prepared for this, and make sure the students have access to all the materials they need for any deadlines well in advance.
In this scenario, the different sections may have access to their content, assessment and grades at different times, and their assessment due dates may be different.
Unfortunately, there is no way to release different items at different times based on section membership. The only option is to create multiple versions of each item and use a "Release Condition" to release it based on section membership.
This can be complex, as each grade item can only be connected to ONE assessment (assignment, quiz, etc.). That means creating a unique grade item for each section for each assessment.
This can take a good amount of time to prepare at the start of term, so be ready!
Attention to detail is key to make this work properly.
If using the groups tool, you will need to decide whether each group must be made up of students from the same section.
There is a new feature in the Brightspace Groups tool that allows you restrict the enrollments in groups to a specific section. Please note that this means you would have to create a separate Group Category for each section of students.
If assessing Discussions, you may wish to create separate forums/topics per section and adding section restrictions to each. If you only intend to use Discussions to foster conversations among the entire class (no grading involved and no concerns about students from different sections in the same conversation), there is no need for restrictions.