|Course Site Accounts, Location, and Layout||Securing access and finding your course sites and components|
|Providing Materials||How to compose, create, and upload materials|
|Course Site Membership and Participation||How to add TA, co-instructors, unregistered students, and other extra participants|
|Student Work, Submissions, and Grades||How to monitor and manage student work and assessment|
|Exams||How compose, give, and record exams, quizzes, surveys, etc|
|Discussions and Collaborative Work||How to conduct online asynchronous discussion with students|
|Correction and Deletion||How to remove tools and items and correct bad configurations|
|Troubleshooting||Students and faculty help with eCollege/eCompanion sites|
Instructor and Student Accounts on the ECollege/ECompanion system: When you submit a course request for an eCompanion shell, we set up an account for you, if necessary, and send you the authentication credentials, for use with current and future course sites. ECompanion accounts are set up automatically for students when they are in a class with an eCompanion component obtained by the instructor, and they persist, so many of your students will have eCollege/eCompanion accounts already, from past courses.
Your user ID for eCollege/eCompanion is your UWYO domain user name, the part of your e-mail address up to the '@'. For example, if your UW e-mail address is "firstname.lastname@example.org," your login ID for eCompanion will be "jdoe".
When you use your Login ID at the eCollege server, http://ecampus.uwyo.edu, to enter eCompanion, and click the Academics tab, you should see all your courses listed on your eCompanion homepage. Click on any of the course names to go to that course's homepage.
Across the top are course tool tabs. The Course Admin tab holds several administrative functions, such as editing of general information and preferences, the Course Enrollment list, and more.
Your ECollege/eCompanion course sites display a help button (question mark) that opens the Help files; you may find those useful.
Instructor as Author
In eCompanion terms, the instructor is a course author. You can switch between “Author” view, or mode, and “Course” view, or mode, (what the students see) with the tabs at the top left of the page. The left navigation panel shows the course units you create, which are subdivisions corresponding to weeks, topics, lessons, types of work, or other groupings of your choice.
Your own teaching materials can be loaded into the course site through various interfaces, either uploaded as whole documents, intact, or pasted into an edit window. In content items, text, images, links, and formatted office documents can be entered through a rich-text edit window similar to that in a word processor. You can type directly, or cut and paste from a document of your own.
To Copy Content from a Past Course Site
In the Course Admin tab, you will find a "Copy Course Content" link. Click that and choose "Select Content to Copy." (The other option applies only to blank course shells, not the type that we create for you.) You will then choose the source and destination course sites (in which you must be enrolled as an instructor). Select the term and course to identify each. In the next step, the "Copy Items" screen shows two lists, the items available from the source course on the left, and the items in the destination course on the right. Select from the source list, either entire units (with the "Add new unit and copy all" checkbox), or individual items (for those, choose the destination unit in adjacent drop-down list). In the next step, verify the list and click "Copy Course Content."
To Create a Syllabus
For a course Syllabus, use the “Syllabus” item on the Course Home page. Either upload an MS Word document intact, or choose sections, and enter text into the edit windows.
To Upload Written Matter into Content Items
You can provide written material in the
form of plain text, MS Word, HTML, PowerPoint, PDF, and other document
This task has three parts: (1)
creating a content item; (2) Adding the content item to a unit;
(3) adding content to the content item. A content
item can appear in more than one unit.
A content item can appear in more than one unit.
Note: Every content item is embedded in a unit. The only unit that comes with the course site is the Course Home unit. You can use that one, or you can add units before starting to define and place content items.
To Add a New Unit
Course Home (in Author mode) --->
Course Items tab--->
Add Unit --->
Enter Title, and (optionally) Introduction type, and check “Use title in navigation menu” (unless you want the unit bar to be labeled "Unit n") --->
Add Unit, to complete.
Now open the unit, by clicking on its bar, to enter your introductory text and add content items.
To Delete a Unit: See Section V below.
To Add a Content Item
In the unit where you want the item, (in Author mode):
Unit Content Items tab --->
Add Items (top part of screen)--->
Unless the new Content Item is a Microsoft Office
Document or Web Content upload, the result is a new but empty content
item; now you need to put something in it.
Choose the new content item from the panel (left side) under the unit bar, and switch to Author view to edit it. For a "Text/Multimedia" item:
A Note from ECollege on Vista and the Visual Editor
"For users updating content (professors and course developers)- The visual editor on IE7/Vista is a plain text editor. When a user goes into the visual editor to edit content, they will see the current content wrapped in html code. However, html knowledge is not required to edit or add content. The plain text editor does not allow for bold, italics, color changes, or other formatting without the use of .html. The reason for this is that the current visual editor has an activex control that is not cross browser or cross platform- so it does not work with .net. The new visual editor coming out in .NExT is a .net visual editor, so there will no longer be issues when .NExT comes out. In the meantime, we can provide a suggestion for a visual editor outside of our platform- http://www.nvu.com/index.php - This is a visual editor you could use and copy the HTML to our courses."
[Nvu has been replace by the HTML editor Kompozer, described on the ICSL pages or by way of a consultation with us.]
To delete a content item: See Section V below.
To add a PDF
There are several ways to distribute PDFs through eCompanion.
To add a YouTube link to your course materials in a Content Item, follow the directions below, from eCollege:
Want to add a YouTube video to your classroom? It's easy—but there is definitely a best practice associated with this process. We recommend you place the video inside a 1X1 table (1 cell = 1 column & 1 row).
- Create a content item of type Text/Multimedia, or open the content item in which you would like to include the video.
- Insert into the content item a 1X1 table by clicking on Insert Table --> Table Wizard. (Make the table 1 column by 1 row).
- Make sure your table has a border color. Click on the Table Properties tab, then Style Builder and Edges.
- Feel free to put text all around this box or nothing at all. SAVE your changes!
- Go to the YouTube video and find the "embed" code. (Hint: It's in a gray box to the right of the video.)
- Copy that embed code.
- Come back to your course page, click into the Plain Text Editor view and find the table data tag. It should look like this: <td></td>
- Paste the embed code in between the greater than and less than symbols like this: <td>embed code goes here</td>
- SAVE CHANGES!
More on the File Manager
The eCompanion File Manager, found under the Course Home unit, on the right tab, gives you access to the directory structure for your files on the eCompanion server (not your own local computer). You can upload, download, rename and delete, create folders, and so forth. The operations of the File Manager are independent of your content items (which are created directly in an edit window), except that you can link to files in the File Manager by incorporating the edit icon "Add a Link" in content items.
Troubleshooting File Uploads
1. From the eCollege Help Desk: These Microsoft documents will not convert for eCompanion use:
2. Because the full path is used in the file name field, and folder (as well as file) names may be rejected if they contain special characters, if an upload operation yields an error such as "Invalid character," move and rename the file, and try again.
3. To make opening your uploaded files easy on your students, use the simplest document format possible.
To Add a Short Announcement to the Homepage
On the course homepage, with "Author" selected, click "Add Announcement" at the top. Type in the subject, in its edit field, and the text of the announcement in its edit field. Set the display dates as desired and click "Add Announcement" to complete.
Backing up Materials
Please maintain your own course materials on your own computer, and export your gradebook regularly. The eCompanion course shell is not an archive, but rather a vehicle for delivery of course materials (although the eCollege host maintains instructor access to past course sites). For contents that accumulate over the semester of teaching, such as discussions, see "Saving Website Pages" for help.
To See the Roster of Your Students:
Course Admin (with Author tab) --->
Shows all members of the course site with name, e-mail address, status, and other details.
The enrollment is updated automatically with add and drop transactions from UW Registration data.
Teaching Assistants and Other Participants
In eCompanion, a Teaching Assistant has the same privileges as the instructor (but the TA name does not appear on the title bar). A "Guest Instructor" role is also offered; it does not carry authoring privileges. Review the Online Course Minima for directions on how to arrange for these options.
As described above, the student roster is shown under the Course Admin tab. The gradebook in eCompanion is under a separate tool tab at the top.
See the Gradebook:
Click the Gradebook tab tool at the top. No gradebook grid will appear until you have defined gradable items using "Setup."
In the Gradebook, note the two main tabs, "View" and "Setup." Under "View Gradebook," you will see the student data-- current percentages for each student (the "Grades to Date" view) and a drop-down list of other views for more details. The tab "Setup Gradebook" allows you to define gradeable items and set gradebook options.Gradebook: View Gradebook Tab
Gradebook: Setup Gradebook Tab
Across the top of the window appear five tabs representing a general workflow, but which can also be used independently. On entry, you're in "Current Setup." The middle three form the main sequence of setup tasks:
Add a New Graded Item:
Choose Custom Item in the "Add New Items" step and enter a name for it, or check one of the Content Items in your course, which are all listed. In the next step, "Select Gradable Items," choose the unit or units in which the item will appear. In the next step, "Assign Points/Weights," type in a number for the point value of the item. Optionally, turn on weighting under the last tab, "Preferences," and enter a weight for the item as well as the point value. Note that content items of type "Exam" and content items with Dropbox Baskets are automatically entered in the Gradebook as gradeable items-- but you can still define the possible points and weight.
For more procedures and details, see the document "Grading in eCompanion."
Students for Practice:
You cannot add students to your course, and even real students have no access to your eCompanion course until the first day of the term (which we have administratively defined as one week prior to the first day of class). If you would like to have some phony students, for such purposes as taking quizzes and generating grades, please call Instructional Computing Services (766-5499); we can enroll them.
Dividing Students into Sections:
Like other course platforms, eCompanion makes no allowance for different sections (distinct student rosters) of the same course, where "same" means that they share materials and exams. You must choose between a single course shell, with all students in the same pool, and different course shells by sections, where identical materials must be placed in each. Lab sections with no credit hours may be requested as separate course sites.
To Make an Assignment and Collect Student Submissions
An assignment takes the form of a Content Item with an associated Dropbox Basket. You may create a Dropbox basket as an option when the content item is created, or add a basket later in the Toolbox tab of the content item; each automatically creates the appropriate basket in the Dropbox. The Dropbox tool can be found on its own tab, among those across the type of the course screen.
To handle a particular assignment (either instructor or student), first go to the Dropbox tool, click the Baskets tab, and choose it from the list. (Students will see a link "Submit Assignment" that holds a drop-down list of baskets.) Within that Basket: An Instructor will see completed assignments in his or her Outbox, while students will see them in their Inboxes. After a student submits an assignment, that student will see it in his or her Outbox (and will not be able to make changes), while the instructor will see it in the Inbox. Upon grading and return, the submission (which may be a package of files), moves into the instructor Outbox and student Inbox.
To avoid myriad subtle issues related to the use of different word processor and office software versions, we recommend that you instruct your students to save and submit their documents in the simplest format possible, such as RTF or plain text.
Caution: Warn your students to submit work as Attachments, not as text pasted into the edit window, unless you prefer them to submit (very short) assignments through that method. The edit window, the large text field in the middle of the screen, is meant for brief comments about the work, not the work itself.
To Set Up an Exam
Add an Exam content item to a unit, then click on it and make sure you
are in “Author” mode.
Edit the Exam info, then switch to the "Exam Builder" (tab) to write questions. See below.
After you add questions (see below), check the settings under the "Toolbox" tab. You may want to select "Automatically display objective score..." so that your students can see the results in their own individual Gradebook, and you may want to DEselect "Display Auto-Grading Quick Summary..." which shows the number of correct and incorrect answers grouped by type of question (true/false, multiple choice, and so forth)---not particularly revealing.
The points achieved on an exam are determined from the points assigned to questions, but you must still enter the grades manually. (See below.)
To Write Questions for Exams
The eCompanion platform provides no facility for uploading or downloading exam questions from text or other types of files. You can write the questions with some external word processor or editor and copy-and-paste them into the eCompanion exam question windows. In the Instructional Computing Services Lab, however, we have a third-party product called Respondus, which will read your text or word processor document containing exam questions in a standard format, and then upload them to your eCompanion course. Please come to us for help with Respondus. No matter how you set up your questions, keep them on your own computer storage for your own records.
Questions must be associated with an existing exam tool, so add an exam content item to hold new questions. Questions may be transferred from there to other exams as needed-- click on the exam content item, then choose the Test Banks tab.
To write questions from scratch, in the Content tab, select the question type from drop-down list, then “Add," then type the question parts into the fields provided and enter the number of points for that question. Types available include true/false, multiple choice, matching, and so forth. Click on "Help" in an exam content item to find the full list under "Adding Questions." Note that "Multiple Answer" is actually a set of true/false responses, each of which will be assessed, not a set of answers any one of which will be considered correct by itself.
For simple objective question types such as Multiple Choice and True/False, enter the text of the question, enter possible responses, mark the correct answer as appropriate, and type optional feedback in the fields provided. Such questions will be scored automatically; paragraph and essay questions will be held for you to score.
To Generate a Random Questions from a Base Set
Choose "Question Pool" as the type, then specify the number of questions that will be drawn from the pool for this exam. You will then be adding the next questions to the pool. See the Help file for more details, under "Question Pool."
To Edit or Delete Questions
Click the arrow to expand the question and reveal the "Edit" and "Delete" links.
To Administer an Exam
You can set the Gradebook entry for the exam to reflect the total of the points assigned to questions that you wrote by going to Setup Gradebook, Assign Points/Weights, and clicking "Insert Points" in the appropriate unit and item cell.
Schedule your exam in the course before you announce it to your class, as you must select from a list of half-hour slots. If manual grading will be required, set the Gradebook Review Date, when students can see the results and any feedback you provide, to a time when you will have all the questions graded and the results ready. Your students will log in to your course, click on the Exam item, and then answer the questions on their computers, clicking "Save Answers" when they are satisfied with what they have written, and then "Submit for Grade" when done.
Note: Warn your students to click the button "Save Answers" at least every 15-20 minutes. Many ISPs, as well as eCollege itself, impose inactivity limits on sessions, after which the systems disconnect. Typing in an edit window does not count as activity; only a "save" operation or other exchange between the client computer and the eCollege server will refresh the timing.
You can grant an individual extra time after he starts the exam by clicking on his entry for that exam item in the Gradebook, and filling out the "Grant ___ additional minutes" option. Furthermore, the software now includes an Exam Multiplier option, which sets, for a given student, a time multiplication factor for all of that student's exams. For example, student Smith might be given an Exam Multiplier factor of 1.5, meaning that Smith will get 50% more time on every exam. This alteration cannot be made for specific classes, or specific exams, but only in the Student Profile, and it must be done by us (Instructional Computing Services staff), on request.
To Grade an Exam:
After you have added the exam as a gradeable item (see above), when you look in the Gradebook, you will see an asterisk, meaning that the exam has been opened, or dash, meaning that the exam has not yet been opened, under the exam entry for a student. To finish the task after a student completes an exam, grade any remaining questions and enter the final score in the Numeric Grade field.
Details: Multiple choice and true/false questions will have been scored automatically, but you will still have to score the other questions one-by-one. Enter the Gradebook, go to "View Gradebook," select the unit and the exam name, then click on an individual student's name. In the Grading Summary Section, you will see the answers and have an opportunity to grade unscored questions, entering scores and comments as you wish. For greater efficiency, click on "Save and Next" to open the next student's exam. Finally, that student's overall score, shown in "Points Received," will have to be transferred to the Numeric Grade field at the top of the student's exam screen.
Even after your students have taken an exam, you can alter its contribution to their grades in the Setup Gradebook tab, by changing the points and weight to your specification.
And please see the document "Grading in eCompanion." There are other quirks of which you need to be aware.
To See or Save All Student Answers
In View Gradebook, on the exam entry, click the Exam Statistics link, then the "Question-Level Statistics" tab. For all the answers to a single question, follow the "View Student Responses" link. The "Download" link will export an HTML file to your system, which you can open with MS Excel for a reasonable result. Because the responses are an HTML table, it would work even better to save that student responses page as a web page, and then open it with a web-authoring tool like Netscape Composer or Nvu, to format the table nicely before conversion a text list, spreadsheet, or whatever form you want.
Self-Assessment Tests and Surveys
For a self-test or survey that will not affect the student grade, create an exam as usual (with points for each question. or not, as desired) and assign the exam zero actual points OR "Exclude from the course grade." Note that if you want the exam to appear in the student records, or you want students to have access to the correct answers and Instructor Feedback fields, you cannot remove it from the Gradebook.
Create (and add to a unit) a content item of the type "Threaded Discussion." Then switch to that content item, in "Author" view, to add topics, which your students will see listed on the discussion page. Their selection of a topic will display, below, your initial question or posting, with a "Respond" link. Contributions are indented under the active previous post. As soon as students have posted, "Author" view will allow you to select and save or print the contributions.
In the content item Toolbar, you can exercise options to (1) lock a topic (precluding further posting) and (2) allow students to edit their own posts (off by default, meaning that as soon as they hit the "Post" button, their words are permanent), and (3) set expired topics to read-only, blocking further posting but leave the discussion open for reading-- in "Edit Schedule," set the ending date, but do not check "Restrict" (which blocks all access).
To define subsets of students for collaborative work, use "Group Management" (under Course Admin; Course Home in .NExT). You will then be able to subdivide students, by referral to these groups, for the purposes of: E-mail, Content Items-- including Exams and Discussions-- Chat rooms, Doc Sharing, and Gradebook items.
Wikis, for collaborative editing
The eCollege/eCompanion software does not provide a wiki tool. Here are some suggestions from eCollege:Web 2.0 tools (wikis, blogs and social networking sites) are becoming increasingly more popular with students and are a great way to encourage online collaboration. Wikis, in particular, enable students to contribute to and modify content, which is then searchable by other users looking for shared knowledge. Why not insert one in your course? Simply follow the instructions below, and your students will be collaborating in no time.
Choose a site you'd like to use. For example, http://www.wetpaint.com --- a free wiki Web site which is quick and easy to use...
Things to keep in mind:
- Even though eCollege is a private, password protected site, the wiki may be public. You may want to include instructional text for your students, reminding them that anything they post may be viewed by others.
- Your students may need to join or register for one of these sites. If that’s the case, make sure to direct them to the registration URL, so they are able to create an account.
- The external Web site you've directed your students to may go down, even if eCollege is up and running. If this happens, your student would see a "Page Not Found" error when they click on that content item. The student would be able to see other content items in the course without issue.
Set up a link to the Wiki site in a content item, and practice with your students.
All of these tasks must be done in Author mode.
To Delete a Content Item (text, Discussion, Exam, etc.):
To delete a Content Item from its unit, enter the content item; under the "Toolbox" tab, click the "Delete..." link.
To Delete a Unit:
Under the Toolbox tab, click the "Delete..." link.
To Rename a Content Item (text, Discussion, Exam, etc.):
Enter the content item's unit, then the tab "Unit Content Items." Locate the "Rename Items" section, select the item, and "Go" to type a new name; click Update to complete.
To Rename a Unit:
Enter the unit, then the Toolbox tab. Click the "Edit Unit Title" link.
To Re-Order Items or Units
Enter the unit, then the Toolbox tab. Click the "Change Item Order" or "Change Unit Order" links, and type in numbers defining the desired order.
Some of these tips are from eCollege support messages. See also "Troubleshooting File Uploads," in Section I above.
If you have trouble with browser access to your course website:
Combined-CRN Drop Problem
The combined-CRN drop problem occurs when several course sections identified by different CRNs are used to populate a single course website with students. Although duly registered in one of those sections, a student's automatic eCompanion enrollment may fail. If the student switched from one constituent section to another and then dropped the first, the add-add-drop sequence (and perhaps other circumstances) may lead to a final "drop" action, meaning that the student's eCollege/eCompanion account has no access to that course site. Instructors must collect the affected student data and send user IDs to us as a request for additional participants. Quite often the students affected can be found in the "Dropped" tab of Course Enrollment (in Course Admin).
"Our goal at eCollege is to support the market leaders that when combined reflect over 90% of our user base... At this time eCollege will not be adding support for Chrome." Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari are supported by eCollege.
If you are using Safari or Firefox on your Mac and seeing only a blank page or a redirect error in the Gradebook, unblock cookies when accessing the Gradebook.
- Click the Safari menu at the top of your screen and select Preferences.
- Click the Security icon
- In the Accept Cookies selection box, chose "Always."
- Close the Safari Preferences box to return to the Safari window.
- Click the Firefox menu at the top of your screen then click on Preferences.
- On the Preferences box that appears, click the Privacy button on the left and scroll to the bottom.
- Click the small arrow that points at Cookies.
- Make sure the checkmark is set next to Allow Sites to Set Cookies.
- Also, make sure that the checkbox next to "for the originating website only" is not checked.
- Click the OK button at the bottom of the Preferences box.
If the Calendar shows an authentication error:
Add calendar.ecollege.com to your browser's list of allowed sites, or enable cookies.
If uploaded MS Word documents don't look right:
Exam Question Formatting
If exam questions show odd line breaks in the questions or answers:
In the editing screen for the exam question, switch to HTML view (the upper right of the toolbar shows the two views, HTML and Design, as buttons). Also, see below for another method of detecting and removing extraneous HTML tags that result from pasting from word-processed documents.
If exam questions copied and pasted from Word show extra space between the questions and answers:
The reason for the extra spaces is because Word incorporates extra HTML into the code, so when the text is copied and pasted into the Visual Editor the extra HTML is embedded as well. To rectify:
Grades Not Visible
If your students are not able to see their grades, or exam answers, correct answers or comments:
See "Troubleshooting at the end of the document Grading in eCompanion.
If a student grade disappears from an assignment's Gradebook entries:
That student may have dropped the course; check Enrollment.
If a picture on a course page does not appear near the text:
If you encounter a Session Timeout error:
If a PowerPoint presentation does not upload correctly into a Content Item:
Try "Save as..." Web
Page ("html" format) on your ".ppt" file. If you receive an error
message, the file has failed to go through Microsoft's Office Document
Converter (ODC) and cannot be converted to a Content Item. You can upload it to Doc Sharing for download by your students, who should then run PowerPoint on their own computers to view it.
Last Update: 14 October 2013; RKH
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