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Advantages

Multiple Separated Sections

Multiple Combined Sections

Content can be created in a single course master that will apply to all sections.  This is a great time-saver!

Content that applies to a single class can be conveniently created in the desired section.  Changes to one section will not affect other sections.

All content, due dates and students can be managed within a single location:  the section.  The master can be hidden and does not need to be used.  This reduces confusion about where your content is located.  

Different due dates can be established for each class.

Due dates can be set in the section and will apply to all classes.  If different due dates are desired for each class, they can be set individually by selecting the group(s) for whom the due date applies.

The Groups tool works better with this configuration compared to a combined section.  Each section contains a separate class list, rather than one large list of all students.  When Groups are created, group members in a single group will be pulled only from students within that section.

You can view data for all students in a single combined list, or it can be viewed by class through selecting the appropriate group.

 

For a future semester, you can create a new master by copying the section, since it will contain all content created in either the master or the section.

 

Cautions

Multiple Separated Sections

Multiple Combined Sections

Due dates cannot be set in the master, so due dates must be individually set for each section.  If due dates will generally be the same for all classes, it may be more convenient for you to use a combined section.

If your content is not the same for all classes, it may be simpler to have separated sections.  When content is not the same for all classes, you will need to set the visibility so that it is only viewable by the students whom you intend to see it.

 You will not be able to view student data for all classes in a single list.

To manage student classes separately, such as setting due dates or entering grades, the appropriate group must first be selected.

Any content created in a section will apply to that section only and will not exist in the master.

Content created in the section will not exist in the master.  This is not a problem if you always work from the section.

When content is created in the master, then modified in a section, the changes will apply only to that section.  If the master for that content item is changed later, after the modification to the content in the section, the changes will not occur in the section for which it had previously been modified.  Changes would occur, however, for other sections. When content is created in a master, then modified in a section, the transmission of data from the master to that section no longer occurs for the specific content item.  

If content is created in the master, then modified in the section, any further changes must be made in the section.  When content is created in a master, then modified in a section, the transmission of data from the master to the section no longer occurs for that specific content item.  If you always work from your section, this will never be a problem.

Content modifications that apply to all classes should always be done in the master. 

You will not be able to use the Groups tool to automatically assign groups for a specific section.  When groups are created, group members in a single group will be pulled from the entire student list.  This list includes the students from all classes in the combined section.  Unless you hand-pick the groups, you will not be able to create student groups in which all group members are in the same class.

In future semesters, to create a new master, consider carefully if you prefer to copy from the master or one of the sections.  They may not be identical, depending on how you managed your content creation.

In future semesters, to create a new master, copy from the section, not the master.

Proceed to Guide for Creating Your Course