Use this guide to help you create your new course and get set up for the next semester!

Setting up your new alta Course

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, 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?
To begin, check to see whether you have a ‘Spring 2019 Copy’ of your course in your environment that’s already been made for you! Use this course if so.

If not, you’ll begin 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 in a 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 web page to create a copy of the course for your next semester. Don’t worry if you see a ‘Please wait while we copy your course’ page- especially if you have a large course this may take a little while.

6. Your copied Course will now be in your My Courses page and will begin with ‘Copy of’. Click into the course.

7. Go to Course Settings to edit the title (you may choose to include the name of the semester), but refrain from using a section indicator such as 01, 02 etc.

8. Edit your Course’s Start and End dates. Click Save Changes.

9. Finally, if you will not be integrating with an LMS, choose “None” or if you will be integrating with an LMS, choose which one from the dropdown next to “Learning management system.” Click Save Changes.

10. 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’.

11. To create your section that will be linked to your LMS, choose your LMS from the dropdown and follow the instructions below at ‘Using an LMS’.

Creating Sections

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

  1. Navigate to the Sections tab 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 the Sections tab and click Add Section.

2You 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!

  • 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, go to Coursework, click Manage, and 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. Please note: this feature is available as an optional ‘Feature Flag’ but it is not enabled by default: just reach out to your Knewton representative if you’d like to enable it for your environment!
  • 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 Tests:
  • You may decide to change settings on tests 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 test is set up through ‘Settings’ from within your test. Find more information at Step 8 on 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 your Sections of the course will not copy over.
  • Can I copy a single item from my old course to my new course?
  • You cannot currently copy an item like a test or an assignment. You will need to rebuild any items from a section that you want to include in your new course, like a test or an assignment.
  • Can I create a new Section of my previous Course to use this semester?
  • We do not recommend this for a two reasons:
  • You will not be able to change existing material (such as removing or adding Learning Objectives to an assignment, changing test settings etc) without affecting the last semesters’ student data.
  • 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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