Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Wyoming

For help with course websites, call 766-HELP (option 1, then "WyoCourses"), or e-mail wyocourses@uwyo.edu.

Instructions for Standard Teaching Tasks using Course Studio in WyoWeb

WyoWeb, Course Studio, and Other Course Sites

When you use your UWYO domain account to enter the portal, WyoWeb, you should see all your courses listed when you click on the "Course Sites" link in the My Courses channel of the Faculty tab.  Each title is a link, and its URL defaults to our "No Course Website" page, a display of information only. You may choose to switch the course-title link to a different website by clicking on the gray pen-and-pad icon; one of the options is Course Studio. Please note that if you subsequently request an eCompanon course site, the selection will switch to eCompanion. You can override this with the instructions found on our Set Course-Title Link page, or you can call us for help.

Note:  Course Studio provides simple file sharing and Internet communications, but no student grades or records, or exams or surveys, or private assignment submission.  Please understand the limitations, such as those described below, before you elect to rely on this website for your class.

Course Site Accounts, Location, and LayoutSecuring access and finding your course sites and components
Providing MaterialsHow to compose, create, and upload materials
Course Site Membership and ParticipationHow to add TA, co-instructors, unregistered students, and other extra participants
Student Work, Submissions, and GradesExcept for submission of shared files, Course Studio has no tools for managing student assignments or maintaining grades.
ExamsCourse Studio has no facility for administering exams to students.
Discussions and Collaborative WorkHow to conduct online asynchronous discussion with students
Correction and DeletionHow to remove tools and items and correct bad configurations
Limitations and TroubleshootingStudents and faculty help with Course Studio sites

Course Site Accounts, Location, and Layout

Both instructors and students reach a Course Studio site through WyoWeb. (Authentication is through the WyoWeb account username and password; no other login is necessary.) In WyoWeb, the channel is entitled "My Courses," usually found for instructors under the Faculty tab, and for students, in a tab of its own.

Instructors and students use the Course Tools for most materials, and instructors use the Content Tools and Configuration Tools to set up and manage the course site.

To view and modify the tools provided:

Under Configuration tools, click on Applications.  From the list provided, add or remove tools with the checkboxes.

To set up the course homepage:

The page is divided into three columns, with the tools listed on the left, the middle column for announcements and message board exchanges, and the right for the Course Information box (not editable), and, below, photos and links that can be added (from items already in the course) through "Manage Homepage" in the Content Tools.  No other modifications are possible.

To Add a Short Announcement to the Homepage:

On the course homepage, click "Add new announcement."  Announcements disappear in a week, by default, and no archive is maintained.  You can alter the duration of display when the announcement is created (but not later) by changing the field "Days Active" to some value other than 7.
Removal of the Announcements and Message Board tools will leave the middle column, on the Course Homepage, empty.

For combining course sites, see the Consolidated Courses mechanism explained below.

Delegating Authority to Your Students

For most of the course tools (applications), you can designate students for administrative privileges.  Such students will be able to write or edit material, in the Announcements and Homepage tools, for example, and will be able to review and accept submissions, in the News, Photos, Links, and Files tools.

To grant such privileges, under Configuration Tools, click on Permissions, then select students by name and use "Add" to place them in the administrators list.

Providing Materials

To Upload Written Matter

You can provide written material in the form of plain text, MS Word, HTML, PowerPoint, PDF, and other document types.  Use either the "Files" tool in Course Tools or "Manage Files" in the Content Tools.  Click on the "Add new file" link (above the "File and Folder Search" box), then browse your computer for the file you want to upload.

Files are limited to 20Mb in size individually, with a total of 500Mb per course.  Files cannot be shared group-wise (among only a designated subgroup of members), so this mechanism is not suitable for student collaborative groups or for student assignment submission to the instructor.  Avoid special characters in file names; an apostrophe, in particular, will cause upload failure with odd error messages.

Your students will simply download these files as they would from any web file server.  Tell them, after they log on to WyoWeb, click on "Course Sites" and then enter your course, to follow the "Files" link under Course Tools and click on the one they want.  The behavior that follows-- perhaps prompting for "open" or "download"-- depends on the file type and student's browser settings.

Your students can also submit files to be shared with the whole class.  You will have to accept those submissions with the "Manage Files" tool before they will appear in "Files."  You can also grant that authority to students; see section V.

Clever faculty have pointed out that because the instructor is, by default, the only member to see the submitted files before they are accepted and activated, students can submit work, this way, to the instructor only (who opens and stores them, rather than activating them). This is not the intended use.

Submission, Activation, Deletion, and Archival of Materials

For most types of materials, including News, Photos, Links, and Messages, as well as Files (see above), the process of putting them up in the course takes place through a three phases. Items are submitted by course members, including students, reviewed and accepted by designated administrators (by default, just the instructor), and then activated to make them available to the class. And items can be deleted by the designated administrators.  To delegate such authority, see the section below.

To save the contents of web pages that you see on the screen, especially those that are not your own materials, but created dynamically by the system, copy and paste them into a file.  See "Saving Website Pages."

Membership

Both students and instructors (along with guest instructors and TAs) appear on the list of "members."  Ordering is done by the first letter of the name string, which currently means alphabetization by first name (or title).  However, this can be changed in the Configuration Tool "General Settings."  There is no distinct student view available to instructors.  What your students see on the course home page is the same layout that you see, with the Course Tools and Personal Tools, and perhaps some Content Tools IF you have delegated those permissions.  (They see no Configuration Tools.)

Teaching Assistants and Other Instructors:  You can add others through their UWYO domain accounts as either TAs or Guests:
  Configuration Tools --> Members
    > Add Members
      1.  Either Search for Users (subject to prolonged wait), OR
           Add by Login (Enter WYO domain name)
              --Designee must be a UWYO domain account holder--
            OR Add by Email (but external addresses will be rejected).
      2.  Choose Teaching Assistant (status that grants Configuration privileges) or Guest (status equivalent to student).
      3.  Type required message to designee.

Your new teaching assistant or guest will not be able to reach the course site except through the My Courses channel, so, if not an instructor or student already, he or she will need to add that channel to a tab in his or her portal design.

Communication, Discussion, and Collaborative Work

For communication, the E-mail tool will send a message to your students, or to the subset of members that you select with the checkboxes.  Please note clearly, in the body of the message, which course and instructor is sending it, since students receive WyoWeb messages from many sources.   See the last section herein for explanation of some e-mail quirks, including send failure when the class is very large.

For discussion, add the Message Board tool if it is not already present, and add topics, to which students can respond, to start discussions.  Note that when you click on a topic, to open it, the messages appear above, not below.

And students can provide files, as described above, to be shared with the whole class.

Consolidated Courses

You can create a consolidated course, combining two or more classes, that will include all members of each of those classes.  Such a course shell, which exists as an additional and separate site under the "My Consolidated Courses" link, would be useful, for example, for distributing materials to all students in courses that are cross-listed over departments or numbers, or for "transferring" materials from one semester's couse site to the next semester's course site.

To create such a consolidation, you must be the instructor of record in each section (each section must appear in your teaching list of Course Sites in "My Courses").  In that page, click on the "My Consolidated Courses" link on the bottom left in Personal Tools, and follow the instructions (select via the "Courses Available for Consolidation" list).  You will have to supply a name (which appears as a link in the list of Consolidated Courses) and a title, which appears as a text description. The result will be an additional course site. Students (and instructors) will be members of both the component courses in which they are registered, and the consolidated courses formed from them. Courses from past terms no longer listed are not available.

To reach the consolidated course, click the "My Consolidated Courses" link, found on the upper right of the My Courses page, and on the lower left (the Personal Tools section) of any Course Studio course homepage. This applies to instuctor and student alike; consolidated courses are not listed on the main blocks of the "My Courses" page with the others.  Materials uploaded to the component course remain only at that level.  (Note that the gray pen-and-pad edit button that changes the URL of a course is not available for a consolidated course or its component courses, as they overlap in a structure that must remain on the Course Studio server.)

Example:  You are teaching two sections of Campanology 1010, 01 and 02, in Fall 2009.  They are listed in "My Courses."  You create a consolidated course called "Campanology_Consolidation;" you note that its course website has all the tools of a standard course plus an additional Configuration Tool, "Courses," and a box listing its component courses on its Homepage.  On the Campanology 1010-01 (and 1010-2) Homepage, a Parent Group box has appeared that shows a link to Campanology_Consolidation.  You now have three course websites.

To make it clear to your students, if you choose to consolidate and use the consolidated course exclusively, post an announcement in each of the component course sites (Camapology 1010-01 and 1010-02), explaining that all materials are found in the site Campanology_Consolidation, and explaining where to find the Consolidated Courses link.

To add or remove component courses from an existing consolidated course:  In the consolidated course site, under "Configuration Tools," click on "Courses."  The list of component Active Courses shown allows addition or removal.  To remove the consolidated course, remove all components first.

Consolidation provides a way to carry materials over from one semester to the next.  As long as courses from two different semesters appear in your teaching list, you can form a consolidated course that includes both, then upload the materials to that consolidated course. For future use, add the new semester's course, then remove the obsolete one from the consolidated course. The materials will remain in the consolidated course for use by the new course's students.

Example:  You are teaching British Traditions 1020-01 in Spring 2010, and you'd like to carry over the same files from Campanology_Consolidation.  At the end of Fall 2009, you add British Traditions 1020-01 to the consolidated course Campanology_Consolidation, and remove the two Campanology 1010 sections from Fall 2009.  Now all the students in British Traditions 1020-01 have access to the files. This option is available for only a limited time; as soon as the Fall 2010 courses appear on the university's official class schedule (in mid-Spring-2010, for this example), the Fall 2009 sites disappear.

Correction and Deletion

You can remove tools with "Applications," files, photos, and links with "Manage Files," "Manage Photos," and "Manage Links," respectively, and members with "Manage Members," all in Configuration Tools.

Limitations and Troubleshooting

Like the other course platforms provided by UW, Course Studio is not intended to be a permanent course archive, but rather a temporary vehicle for their delivery.  Save your materials on your own systems; at the end of the semester, download anything of interest.  A course site is retained for about a year, until the new corresponding term is defined by the Registrar. Fall 2011 courses, for example, will appear on the faculty "Course Sites" list in mid-Spring-2011, and persist until around mid-term of Spring 2012.  No backups are kept.

Course Studio:
Problem:  Message on e-mail send, "Email Stock Folder Account not defined." Do not select the option "Save a copy to the Sent folder."  It is disabled.
ProblemFile upload problems, including non-completion, and failure messages referring to Oracle database, or SQL failure. Check the file name, and remove any apostrophes, punctuation characters, and other odd characters. For failure to complete an upload, try switching browsers.
Problem: PDF file will not open on Mac. Use the built-in PDF viewer rather than Adobe Reader. (Delete or revise this file on your Mac system-- Library/Viewers/adobePDF.)
Problem: Mass e-mail to large class does not work. The AskIT How-To document for this particular issue advises switching to Firefox or using Faculty Dashboard class list functions to copy and pasting into the recipients ("To:") field:
http://www.uwyo.edu/askit/displaydoc.asp?askitdocid=2321&parentid=1#open
Problem:  Error message such as "Access denied" or "Too many outstanding requests." Are you trying to use an unsupported browser or operating system?  Please check the WyoWeb "Browser Support" page.
Error message or failure during or after adding News item. The text that you pasted may be too long. For anything more than a couple of paragraphs, use the File tool.

You are invited to consider other online course platforms for more facilities, and to use the Suggestions icon in WyoWeb to send comments and requests concerning Course Studio and other WyoWeb tools, but bear in mind that the process of modifying installed commercial software is lengthy.

Last Update:  14 October 2013, R. Hill