If you're a continuing user transitioning to a new semester and will be copying an old LMS course as well as your Alta course, see this guide to help you get set up!

If you'd like more specific information on your individual LMS, use these individual guides:


Starting a New Semester with Canvas Course to Course Copy Method


Starting a New Semester with Blackboard Course to Course Copy Method

Brightspace D2L

Starting a New Semester with D2L Course to Course Copy Method

Starting a New Semester with Moodle Course to Course Copy Method

Setting up your Alta Course for your New Semester

Remind me: how is my Alta environment structured?

Great question! Your environment in Alta has Courses and Sections. Your Course is a collection of assignments and assessments (quizzes and tests). Each course must have a minimum of one Section, which students join. If you have more than one group of students taking the same class, you will have more than one Section containing the same Course material. 

Your Course is a master version of your Sections and contains all information that passes down to them. Your Sections are copies of the same master course. For example:  CHEM-100-01 and CHEM-100-02. Each Section has the same course outline as other Sections under the same Course.

Got it! So what do I do when I’m starting a new semester’s course and want to use my old course as a template?

To begin, check to see whether you have a ‘Spring/Summer/ Fall Copy’ of your course in your environment that’s already been made for you! Use this course if so.

If not, you’ll begin to create a copy of your previous course following these steps…

Note: we do not recommend creating a new section of your previous course for several reasons outlined at the end of this article. Creating a new course by making a copy of your old course will be much more successful.

  1. Sign into knewton.com and navigate to your My Courses page. 
  2. Find the course that you want to copy from last semester and click into it.

3. Go to the Course Settings in the top right corner (in your parent course, not the child section).

4. Scroll down to ‘Copy this Course’ and choose ‘Copy Link’.

5. Paste the link into a new tab or window to create a copy of the course for your next semester. In the next screen, you should modify the course name (you can include a semester [e.g. Fall 2020] but refrain from using a section indicator such as 01, 02 etc), choose an institution, change the course start and end dates for the new semester, and select the appropriate LMS. Then click Copy to copy the course into the account.

6. Your new Course has now been created with all the content from your previous course, but it doesn’t have any Sections yet. To create Sections without an LMS integration, follow the instructions in this video or go to the next section on ‘Creating Sections’.

7. To create your section that will be linked to your LMS, follow the instructions below under "Using an LMS?":

Creating Sections

Once you’ve finished copying your Course, it’s time to add your sections.

  1. Navigate to your course and click Add Section. You will do this for each section you plan on teaching.
  2. If you are not using an LMS, you will then name your section, edit your start and end dates, and click Create to finish.

Using an LMS?

  1. Navigate to your course and click Add Section.

2. You will follow the instructions that present themselves on your screen. For more information and detailed instructions on adding sections using your specific LMS, follow the attached instructions:

Canvas Guide

Blackboard Guide

D2L (Brightspace) Guide

Moodle Guide

Top Tips for Organizing your New Course!

How to modify your course outline for the new semester

  • Change your item due dates in bulk:

Your due dates are copied from a previous semester’s course so will need to be changed. To complete this process easily, navigate to your course and click Manage. Choose the check boxes to the left of the items that you want to share due dates, and edit the Start and Due Dates in bulk as seen below. This article explains bulk editing in more detail. 

NOTE: you must edit the end dates of your items before editing the start dates, so that the item is within a valid range!

  • Change any assignment details before your students begin working:

If there were any assignments from previous semesters that you would like to change, for example removing or adding Learning Objectives that were unnecessary or that should have been assessed, edit the assignment before students begin working in it. This video will walk you through the steps.

  • Modify the Settings in any Assessments (quizzes or tests):

You may decide to change settings on assessments such as password protection, time limits or the ability to print your test for students with ‘Offline Mode’. It’s easy to edit the way your assessment is set up through ‘Settings’ from within your assessment. Find more information at Step 20 in this help article!

Frequently Asked Questions about Starting a New Semester

  • Which parts of my course will be copied and which will not?

Everything from your course outline will copy over to your new course.

Anything created in only a Section of the course will not copy over.

  • Can I copy a single item from my old course to my new course?

You can copy an individual assessment (quiz or test) from one course to another, but not currently copy an assignment. You will need to rebuild any assignments from a section that you want to include in your new course. Find more information on how to copy an assessment in this article.

  • Can I create a new Section of my previous Course to use this semester?

We do not recommend this for two reasons:

  1. You will not be able to change existing material (such as removing or adding Learning Objectives to an assignment, changing assessment settings etc) without affecting the last semesters’ student data.
  2. Students who may need to retake the course will not be able to enroll in two sections of the same course.
  • Can I integrate my new Alta course sections with a new LMS section that lives in last semester’s course?

You should integrate your Alta course with a new LMS course, not with a section of an LMS course. If you want to keep an organization system from a previous LMS course, you can copy that previous LMS course into a new one.

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