Practicalities of building your site

Adding content to your learning site is a process of utilising the learning resources content areas made available by the SCU unit template where possible, hiding unused content areas from student view and adding new content areas where your delivery plan deems it necessary.

Each content area can be developed by editing existing content items or adding new items. The built-in content editor allows you to copy and paste content, apply formatting, and add links, images and other media to each item.

The content that you add should align with principles of academic integrity and should be prepared with accessibility of all students in mind.

Learning resources can be added progressively as the teaching session progresses, or can be added in advance of delivery and made available to students as required.

You can test your developed content from the perspective of your students by utilising MySCU's Student View function.

Add content to your learning site

You can add your unit content to the content area of a menu item by selecting the menu item from the site menu (Edit Mode must be set to ON). The top of the content area will show an 'action bar' allowing you to select the type of content you wish to add. In order to add content such as lecture notes, multimedia, links to useful resources, etc. the Build Content option must be selected. You are also able to add assessment and collaborative tools in a similar way.

Commonly used content types available under the Build Content menu on the action bar include the following.

Item: A general piece of content in which you may include files, images, texts, links, etc. This is the most commonly used option.

File: A place to add a file that you can use in your learning site. These files can be viewed as a page within your learning site or as a separate piece of content in a separate browser window.

Audio: A way to add an audio file to a content area.

Image: A way to add an image file to a content area.

Web Link: A link to an outside website or resource (URL must be known).

Learning Module: A set of content that includes a structured path for progressing through the items.

Site Link: A shortcut to an item, tool, or area in a learning site.

Content Folder: A content area that contains content items. Folders allow content to be structured with a hierarchy or categories.

Blank Page: This tool allows you to include files, images and text as a link in a content area. Blank pages present content in a different way than items do. There is no description that appears below the title of the page. Users see your content only after clicking the link.

Mashups: Mashups allow you to embed content in a learning site that is from an external website. Mashups are available in this menu for Flickr, SlideShare, YouTube and Blackboard Voice Authoring.

When any of the above items are added to a content area, an initial editing screen for the item appears requesting a name for the item along with other options. Options marked with an asterisk (*) are mandatory.

You will also find that there are multiple ways of adding some types of content (e.g. adding an image, video file or mashup to an item or a blank page).

Other resources include:

Add Mediasite lecture recordings

Mediasite is the University's video distribution system. It is used for the recording of workshops and tutorials in equipped locations across the University's campuses.

In addition to providing lecture recordings, Mediasite can be used for a range of other video applications, including desktop recording and video editing.

More information regarding Mediasite is available at Technology Services’ Mediasite: TS Knowledge Base.

Test content using Student View

You can easily test how your learning site will appear to your students by using the Student View function. This is available at the top of the content frame, next to the Edit Mode switch. Use Student View to review your content as you build your learning site as well as to test functions such as Adaptive Release. Using Student View builds confidence that students will experience the course as you have planned.

Student View creates a preview student user account named Demo User. This account behaves in an identical manner to a real student’s account and will appear visible to students when used on a live course.

You can add Demo User to groups and you can use Demo User to test the appearance of added content as well as student use of tools, such as Assignments, Discussion Boards, Blogs and Journals. Adaptive Release rules that apply to students also apply to Demo User.

When finished testing, you can leave Student View by clicking on the Go To Lecturer View button at the top of the content frame.

The difference between Student View and Edit Mode

Student View differs from Edit Mode in the following ways:

  • When Edit Mode is ON, all learning site content is viewable, along with the editing controls for the content.
  • When Edit Mode is OFF, editing controls are hidden.
  • When Student View is ON, both editing controls and any content hidden by restrictive rules to a student with the same group membership as Demo User are hidden from view. Student-only content (such as My Grades) is viewable.

Use Adaptive Release to control student access to content

Adaptive Release allows student access to different content (and tools) which is controlled by the setting of one or more criteria that must be met first. This allows for the provision of flexibility and control when implementing learning paths for students. The basic criteria available to be used to control access are:

Date: The content/tool is available only after a particular date/time and/or is only not available until a particular date/time (control of availability based upon date and time is also available on every item under the Standard Options heading).

Membership: The content/tool is only available to specific users or members of specific groups.

Grade: The content/tool is only available after the student has successfully met a specific grade criterion (e.g. passed a specific formative test).

Review Status: The content/tool is only available after the student has indicated that they have reviewed an item of content (Review Status can be monitored using the Performance Dashboard).

To control the availability of content using Adaptive Release, select the downward arrow icon next to the content item and select the Adaptive Release option.

Multiple criteria can be selected. If you do this then all criteria must be met before availability is enabled. Adding additional criteria in this way restricts access to the content item more tightly. If you wish to make access to content less restrictive, then multiple rules must be used. These can be created and enabled using the Adaptive Release: Advanced option.

(Please note - it's better to refer to the Online version rather than export, as it's always up to date)