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Miscellaneous Course Administration

The instructor can do many things, and should do several things when running an online course. This document covers those administration tasks. For more details and illustration, join the free online course “How to Create a Course Using VirversitY”.

 Submitting your course for approval

Courses must be approved before they can go live. This is a quick and painless process (for the instructor, at least) that just requires checking a box and submitting the form once the course setup is complete and the lessons are in place. You will find this submission option in the "Instructor Menu" > "Set Up Course" at the very top of the page:

We don't make money unless you do. Or, if running a free course, we need your course to succeed so we can benefit from exposure. In either case, we are partners and want to do what we can to ensure your success (given realistic limitations such as doing everything for you).

The approval process usually takes no more than a few hours, but we ask for 48 hours. You will be notified via e-mail of the approval or you will be notified about any changes you need to make.

Making changes to your course once it is live

You can make changes to your course once it is live. You can add or remove lessons, edit lessons, add content to lessons, change images, etc. The course ID cannot change, however. Here are a few things you will want to keep in mind:

  • For students who have completed your course, any changes you make will not affect their "complete" status.
    • However, if you add lessons, their course progress will not show the new lessons as complete.
  • For students who have not yet completed your course, but completed the lesson you modified:
    • The lesson will no longer show as completed if you add another instructor-evaluated assignment (and the student has that option), if you add "todo" items, if you add terms and definitions to match, or if you add quiz questions. Theses students will be able to go back and complete the lesson.

Viewing/searching students

This is done in the "Instructor Menu" > "Student Management." By default, 10 students are shown per page and sorted by most recent members first.

The student directory comprises:

  • student photo (if uploaded)
  • student name
  • icon to access the course as the student
  • icon to send the student a message (if it is greyed out, that means the student has opted out of instructor e-mails and you will not be able to send the student a message).
  • icon showing if student is receiving comment notifications or not (not, if greyed out)
  • what course option they have
  • when they became a student
  • how many lessons completed (course progress)
  • if they have completed the course or not (course status)

You can search for students by name, or click one of the icons for sorting options. Hover your cursor over the icon (in your course) to see the sorting options available.

Contacting students

Although instructor's don't have access to students' e-mail addresses, they can e-mail then through the web-based form. To do this, search for the student you want to contact in the student management section, the click on the envolope icon under the student's name.

This will take you to the e-mail form where you can compose a simple text-based e-mail and send to the student.

E-mailing course announcements

You can e-mail all of your students in any course, or a selection of them based on some simple criteria. To do this, go to "Instructor Menu" > "E-mail Students."

You start by selecting which students you want to send a message to, and note the total count.

In this above, I am e-mailing all of the self-evaluated option students in the course who have not yet completed the course. AS you can see, that leaves me with a total of 61 students. Also note that out of all my students, one has opted out of instructor mailings, thus not included in the total.

Next, you enter a subject and message. If you use the placeholder {name}, the student's nickname will be put in that place. This is an HTML e-mail so you have some basic formatting options. Before you send to the students, it is strongly suggested that you click the "Send Me a Preview" e-mail first. Check your inbox, and if the message looks good, go back and click the "Send To Students" button.

We currently have no hard rules as to how many times you can send messages, but keep in mind that students who get annoyed with spammy e-mails WILL unsubscribe, and also are more likely to give your course an unfavorable rating, which can hurt.

Using the questions and answers tool

The Q&A tool is linked to your main menu and serves two main purposes: 1) it is a place where you can put all of your frequently asked questions and answers regarding your course and your course's content and 2) it is a the communication system where the instructor(s) can communicate with both the students and prospective students.

Using the Q&A Tool as an FAQ

It is suggested that you add a few frequently asked questions to your FAQ before the course goes live. To do this:

  1. Click the "Ask a New Question" button

  1. Enter your question in the "What is Your Question?" field
  2. Enter in your answer in the "Details" field.
  3. Under "Moderator Options," select either "Dudley Dowell" or "Anonymous"
  4. Create some appropriate tags for the post
  5. Click "Submit New Question"
  6. Repeat for all of your FAQs

Using the Q&A Tool as a Communication System

When prospective students use the tool to ask you a question, you will be notified by e-mail. If they use the e-mail form, the message will look like an e-mail, and you simply reply to the e-mail like you would any other e-mail. If they posted a question, you will be sent the link to the message where you can respond by using the Q&A tool to answer the question. Once you answer the question, the student or prospective student will be notified by e-mail.

Managing testimonials

Students are asked to leave testimonials. When they do, the instructor is notified by e-mail. The instructor clicks the link in the e-mail to be taken to the student management section, where he or she can review the testimonial and either mark it as "do not use," "secondary," or "primary."

  • Primary: The testimonial is a good one and will be featured on the course homepage.
  • Secondary: The testimonial is okay, and will be on the homepage but will require the viewer to click a "more" button to see it.
  • Do Not Use: The testimonial is bad or incomplete, and will not me made public (default).


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