2. Courses

Create the course

Setting up a course is automated. You can follow the link called Create Course Form that will appear on the first page if you log in as an administrator. You need to edit the form before submitting it to the software that will create the course.

  • Locate the paragraph
    This paragraph specifies the document name for the course. This document name will also be the name of the course main page. This name has to be unique for every course. Please do not choose the name of the course that already exists. It is highly suggested that your course name follow the pattern like the one above. s2021m4000 is used as a shortcut for "Spring 2021" course "Math 4000". You may use other notation if you wish. For example, you may want to create the document name that also includes the section of the course.
  • The other parameters are not as consequential for proper functioning of the website. Also, they are easy to understand from the context. For example the paragraph
    specifies the course catalog number. It is set to MTH4000. You should change this accordingly. It is OK (and recommended) not to change the parameters gradingExtension, adminExtension, instructorExtension, forumExtension, and variablesExtension.

Placing the link to the course at the top menu

Go to the database Texts and open the document called mainTextHeader. The header will be placed in the body of the website. You can now click on the button edit, and locate the HTML code that corresponds to one of the links. For example, the link to Planets looks like this:

<a class="nav-link" href="index.cgi?page=planets">Planets</a>
You need to replace the words page=planets with page=s2021m4000 and title Planets with some short title of the course. I would just put the course number 4000 there but you may want to add MATH or something similar in front. Be warned that once you click on Submit the change will not be immediate. The first submission to the database occurs only after website header is generated so you will see the old header for the one last time before the changes take effect. The header will refresh the next time you click on any of the links.

Enrolling students

After the course is created, you need to identify its main document. If you kept the parameters unchanged, then the main document is s2021m4000. You should visit the page with that name by either pointing the browser to index.cgi?page=s2021m4000 or by following the link from the top menu, if you created one. At the bottom of the page you will see the link Instructor page. Follow the link and then click on the button Enrollment or Mass Enrollment. They will open a form that you need to edit. The forms are pretty similar. Both of them can be used to enroll multiple students to the course. They are pre-filled with a sample enrollment data. The first one requires you to manually insert student data. The second one (Mass Enrollment) will let you scrape the data from an Oracle People Soft database that most of the colleges are using. For each student you have to put some unique id. It is best to use the student's university ids. Those Ids will make sure that students have the same website account even if they take multiple courses with you.

If you are using Mass Enrollment link, make sure that you put the emails of the students. There should be exactly as many emails as there are students; otherwise the website will notice the illogical input and nobody will get enrolled.

After successful enrollment of students, you will receive a report page. Do not edit this page. It contains the initial passwords that are randomly generated. A proper python script can send emails to students informing them of their password. Also, in the future this page will be needed for automated enrollment of students in exams and assignments.

Changing Passwords of Students

Everyone can click on their name and change their password. Those who loose or forget the passwords won't be able to do so. If your student looses a password, then you can go to Users database, click on the link that contains the username of the student. The form will open. You should put some temporary password instead of !*! at the appropriate place in the form. You give them this temporary password and ask them to sign in with it. Then they should change it to something only they know.

For this exercise, it would be a good idea to change passwords to a few of your students. You can make something really simple so you can later log in to the website as a student and observe how their accounts interact with your modifications of the website.