Setting up Courses with CourseSites

Some professors are considering using CourseSites as an alternative to OpenClass to manage their teaching online. CourseSites is a cloud-based learning management system, equivalent in much of its functionality to the latest Blackboard enterprise version. As each account will be associated with an individual URL for each instructor, there is no way to integrate these varied accounts with our student management system. Therefore, instructors will need to set up their own accounts, enroll students and get the course started. Instructors will need to do at least the following things below to get started.

  • Create an instructor account: When you create your own instructor account, use the same username and password you use for myACU to streamline all your university accounts.

  • Create courses: When you create your course(s), make your course titles consistent with what you have in Banner. In the course description area, add your course ID for easier retrieval in the future.

  • Enroll students: Students also need to have or create their accounts to be able to be added to the course. Once you are in your course, go to “users and groups”, then “users”. You will then see you have the options to “create” student accounts or “enroll” existing accounts. As you may not know which students have CourseSites accounts and which ones do not, we advise that you choose the “invite” option. CourseSites will then show you an invite message with links for students to sign up or sign in. You can add some brief instruction in the message to advise first time users to create an account by using their MyACU user names, which would make it easier for you to transfer their grades to Banner in the future.

  • Make courses available: Remember that you can turn on or off your course any time. Go to “customization”, then “properties” and then check beside “yes” to “make course available” when you are ready to release it. Choose “no” if your course is at its “work in progress” stage, or when you have finished teaching the course.

  • Send students an initial email: When you are ready to ask students to come in to the course,  send them an initial email (preferably through myACU to make sure you do not miss anyone) to inform them how to access the course by providing the CourseSites URL. Once you find  that everyone is in the course, you can use the email tool within CourseSites to communicate with them. Remember, too, that students will be added or dropped from class, so please re-resend your invite message to those who get added to class later in the semester. In the Spring 2014 semester, the last day for block students to drop/add is January 17.

If you need help setting any of these up, please set up an appointment with an instructional designer from the Adams Center. More resources will be available later. Please check this blog for further instructions and training information. You can also subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the “subscribe2” area of this page. If you would like to share or learn best practices in using coursesites to teach, we would like you to join the ACU Coursesites Google group.

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