Re-use Content in New Semester
From e-Learning Documentation
Last updated: 8-20-2012
Content you've created in one semester can be imported into your course for the new semester. This tutorial will provide instructions for the most efficient methods of re-using content from one semester to the next.
NOTE: If you have used the Content Editor in tools to link to files in Resources, those links will break and need to be recreated when the content is imported into the new semester. If you make the original files "publicly viewable" the links will be fine. Or you may want to consider setting up a Project Site for the storage of files (files must be "publicly viewable") so that the links do not break from one semester to the next. If you created HTML files in the Resources tool and used relative linking to other files in Resources, the links will not be broken. It is only the Content Editor within tools such as Assignments, Discussions, Announcements, etc., where the links are broken.
You do not have to import all content from a previous semester. You choose to import content from specific tools. For example, you may choose to import your Reources, Lessons and Assignments, but not your Calendar or Discussions.
Some tools have no content to import - such as the "Feedback" tool which is student specific. Since the same students are not in the new course, there is no content in Feedback that can be imported into the new course.
|Tools That Can be Imported||Tools That Cannot Be Imported|
|Calendar||Gradebook 2 (see note below)|
|RSS Feeds||Section Info|
|Tests & Quizzes|
NOTE You will see the option to import Gradebook 2, but the Gradebook 2 import does not work at this time. In fact, it can cause problems if you try. You may import Gradebook to retain any columns and categories, and then manually set up the Gradebook 2 functions that are not available in Gradebook.
Before you import your content from a previous semester, you want to make sure your new course has all the tools you will be importing. For example, if you used "Lessons" in your previous semester, make sure "Lessons" has been added to the toolbar in the current course. If the tool is not in both courses, you will not have the option to import content from that tool.
NOTE: If you used groups in your previous semester, you cannot import the groups into the current semester. But, if you take the time to recreate the groups in your new course BEFORE you import the content from the old course, you can still maintain group settings. For example: If you had Discussions assigned to specific groups in the old course, recreate those groups in the new course, THEN import the Discussions from the old course. The permissions for the Discussions will still be set up for the groups.
In the new course:
- Click Site Info in the left menu bar.
- Click Import from Site in the top menu bar.
- "I would like to replace my data" Any existing data will be overwritten, replaced by your import data. This method allows you to import Gradebook settings such as categories and associated weights. This is the choice most Instructors will want to use for copying content into an empty course. If you already have content in a course you will want to use option 2 because this approach replaces data whereas option 2 merges data.
- "I would like to merge my data" Your import data will merge with existing data. Does not allow import of Gradebook settings. You would use this option if you have created new Assignments or other content and you want the imported data to merge with this content instead of replacing it.
- If you want to use this option, but still import your gradebook, you can merge your data first, then come back and replace your data and only select "Gradebook."
- "I would like to merge my users" Your imported users will merge with existing users. This would only be useful in non-registrar courses where all participants will be enrolled in the new course as well as the old.
- Click option 1 or 2
- Select the course that contains the content you want to import and click Continue.
- Check the box beside the tool(s) from which you want to import content.
- Click Finish
NOTE: Depending on how much content you are importing, the process can take several minutes. Sometimes your browser might time out before the import is complete and it will look like the operation failed. It probably didn't!! Look in the tools and see if the content is there before you import again. If you import again, you will have duplicates of all your content and will have to delete the duplicates.
Prepare Imported Content for the Current Semester
Your imported content will need to be prepared for the current semester. This tutorial will list each tool and outline the preparation needed to re-use the content.
Announcements from the previous semester come into the new semester as "hidden." Adjust the dates and change the availability to "Show." Any attachments you added to the Announcement will still be there and can be viewed by students.
NOTE: If you used the Content Editor inside the Announcements tool to create links to files within Resources (such as inserting an image), those links will have to be recreated. The links will appear fine to the Instructor, but students see nothing there.
Assignments from the previous semester come into the new semester as "draft."
- Click Edit under the name of the Assignment.
- Adjust the Open, Due and Accept Until dates for the new semester.
- Check "Use Turnitin" and "Allow students to view reports if desired."
- Grading - if this is a graded Assignment, you may leave it at the default of "Add Assignment to Gradebook" which will create a column in the gradebook once the Assignment is published. Or if you have a column in the Gradebook that you want to associate with this Assignment, select "Associate with Existing Gradebook Item" and choose the column from the drop-down menu. "Associate with Existing Gradebook Item" has the benefit of allowing you to grade Assignments in the Gradebook and the Assignment. Gradebook items themselves keep their categories so you don't have to re-associate categories each term.
- Make any other desired adjustments to the settings and click Post.
NOTE: If you used the Content Editor inside the Assignments tool to create links to files within Resources (such as inserting an image), those links will have to be recreated. The links will appear fine to the Instructor, but students will get a "broken image" icon.
Assessments from the previous semester come into the new semester as "unpublished."
- Click the Publishicon to the far right of the Assessment Title.
- Make any adjustments to the dates, settings, etc., and click Publish.
If you use the Assessments tool, you do not need to worry about broken links when importing from a previous semester. The links will copy with no problems.
Most Instructors will probably not want to import the Calendar. Imported assessments and assignments will create a duplicate event in Calendar when published. Also, every entry will have to be edited to show the correct dates in the new semester anyway.
Discussions (Forums) are imported from the previous semester as "Draft."
- Click Forum Settings, make any adjustments to settings and/or permissions.
- Click Save
Topics under a Discussion become available when the Discussion is posted. If the Discussion and/or Topics are graded, you will need to enter each Discussion/Topic and reassign the Gradebook column, or you can choose the column from the drop-down menu when grading.
NOTE: If you used the Content Editor inside the Discussions tool to create links to files within Resources (such as inserting an image), those links will have to be recreated. The links will appear fine to the Instructor, but students will see a "broken image" icon or nothing. Likewise, any attachments you made to the discussion will also have to be reattached. Both students and instructor get a "403 error" instead of being taken to the attachment.
Columns that are created within the Gradebook will import into the new course and be in their respective Categories (if Categories are used). If you have set up Assignments, Assessments and/or Tests & Quizzes to automatically create columns in the Gradebook, those columns will not appear until the assignment or assessment has been published. Those columns will then need to be added to their respective Category. On the "Gradebook Items" tab:
- Click Edit beside the name of the column and choose the Category from the drop-down menu.
- Click Save Changes
Imported Gradebook columns are not released to students. You will need to release each column to students.
- Click Edit beside the name of the column and check the box beside "Release this item to Students."
- Click Save Changes
By default, the Course Letter Grade is not displayed to students until you release it.
- Click Course Grade Options
- Check the box beside "Display course grade to students now."
- Click Save
NOTE: In the new build applied at the beginning of Fall 2011, you are offered the option to import Gradebook 2. This does not work at this time. Proceed with these instructions as though that option does not exist.
Since you can only import Gradebook settings and not Gradebook 2 settings, any options that are available in Gradebook 2 but not Gradebook will have to be reset. Those options are:
- Dropping the lowest score(s)
- Weighting items within a category
- Extra credit
- Using Letter Grades
- Displaying Statistics to Students
See the Gradebook 2 tutorial for specific instructions on setting these items.
Home (Site Information Display)
The content on the Home Page does not import and will need to be recreated.
If you created the Home Page content in the original course using the Content Editor on the Home Page:
- Go to the original course and click Options at the top of the Home Page.
- Click Source at the upper left corner of the Content Editor. This reveals the HTML code for the content on the page.
- Click anywhere in the Content Editor, hold down the CTRL key while you hit "a" and then "c". This copies the content.
- Go to the new course and click Options at the top of the Home Page. Delete the default text.
- Click Source at the upper left corner of the Content Editor.
- Click anywhere in the Content Editor, hold down the CTRL key while you hit "v". This pastes the content into the Content Editor.
- Click Source to view the content as it will appear.
- If you had images on the original Home Page, they will need to be inserted into the text. If you copied the Resources from the old course, your images will be there for easy insertion.
- Click in the text where you want the image to appear and click the icon.
- Click Browse Server and locate the file.
- Make any adjustments to size, alternative text, etc., and click OK
- If you had links to files in Resources on the original Home Page, they will need to be re-linked.
If you created the Home Page content in the original course by linking to an HTML file in the Resources:
- In the current course, go to Resources and locate the file you will use for your Home Page.
- If you had images or links to files in the HTML file in Resources and did not use "relative linking," they will need to be re-linked so that they point to the images and files in the new Resources tool.
- Beside the file, click Actions and then choose Edit Details
- Beside the "Web address (URL) click Select URL (for copying). While holding down the CTRL key, hit "c." This copies the URL.
- Click Cancel
- At the top of the Home Page, click Options
- Click in the box labeled "Site Info URL," and while holding down the CTRL key, hit "p." This pastes the URL into the box.
There is very little you need to do to Lessons. You may want to update dates available, but otherwise, Lessons are ready for student use.
There is an important element about Lessons that you need to understand, though. If in your original course, you created a link to a file in Resources, in the current course, that file will have been copied from Resources into the Lessons inventory. These links are no longer linking to the Resources, but are now linked to the Lessons inventory.
The Podcasts tool does not appear in the list of tools to import, but if you have created Podcasts in your original course and you have the tool added to your current course, the Podcasts will be imported.
If you have made certain changes to your Resources in the original course, those changes will also have to be made in the new course:
- If you made files or folders in the original course "publicly viewable," those items will default back to "only members of this site."
- Beside the file or folder, click Actions and then click Edit Details
- Select "This file is publicly viewable."
- Click Update
- If you made files or folders in the original course "displayed to selected groups only," those items will default back to "Only members of this site."
- Beside the file or folder, click Actions and then click Edit Details
- Select "Display this file to selected groups only" and check the box beside the group(s) who will get this content.
- Click Update
NOTE: You can reorder all files and folder within the root folder, but when your content is moved to the next semester, it will all be back in the original alphabetical order. Content within folders that you've added to the root folder will retain the order you establish. If you use reordering extensively and want to avoid having to re-do it every semester, create a folder called "root" and place all folders and files within that folder.
If you used the "Create/Edit" option to add the Syllabus in the original course, either creating the Syllabus in the Content Editor, or adding it as an attachment, the Syllabus will be imported into the new course.
NOTE: If you used the Content Editor to create links to files within Resources, such as an image, those links will have to be recreated. The links will appear fine to the Instructor, but students will get a "403 error" or a "broken image" icon.
If you used the "Redirect" option to point to a file in Resources, that link will need to be recreated.
Any reports that you saved in the original course will be available in the current course. You may need to make adjustments to dates.
Tests & Quizzes
All assessments are imported as "pending." You will need to adjust available dates and publish the assessments for the current semester. Any files or images that you added as attachments to your questions or answers will import with no problems. If you inserted an image using the Content Editor, your links will be broken and must be re-inserted.
You should not need to make any changes to Web Links unless the Web Link points to an HTML file in Resources. That link will have to be recreated. If that HTML file has links to other files in Resources, those links will need to be recreated. This problem can be avoided by using Relative Links. See the Create Relative Links tutorial for more information.
Create Relative Links
When content is imported from one course to another, most items copy over well. But when the Content Editor is used to create links to files in Resources, those links will continue to point to the files in the original course. The links will appear to work fine for the Instructor, because she/he is enrolled in both of those courses and therefore has access to the Resources in the original course. But students, who are not enrolled in the original course, cannot see the files in the original Resources and will get a "403 Error" or a "broken image" icon, or just see nothing at all.
NOTE: This problem does not occur for the "Lessons" tool nor the "Assessments" tool. Those links will copy fine from one semester to the next.
It is possible to create HTML files within the Resources using "Relative Links" to other files and images within Resources. You can then point your Home Page and your Syllabus tool to those files and the links will copy from one semester to the next without breaking. Once you've created an HTML file with Relative Links to other files and images, you cannot move any of those files without breaking the links. It is much simpler to have all images and files that will be linked in the same folder in Resources. So, for example, if you wanted to create an HTML page in Resources that you would use for your Home Page, create a folder called "Home Page" and create the HTML file there. Add all files that will be linked to that HTML page in that folder also.
Resources is the only place in Sakai where you can use Relative Links. When using the Content Editor in other tools, it is not possible to create relative links. For example, if you use the Content Editor in Assignments to link to a file in the Resources tool, the link will be broken in future semesters. It is better practice to add the file as an attachment since you cannot create relative links in this Content Editor.
If HTML files were created in Dreamweaver and uploaded to Sakai, those links should be fine since Dreamweaver creates Relative links by default.
We will use the example of inserting an image in an HTML file that will be used as the Home Page in the course, to learn how to create a relative link.
- Create a folder for the HTML file and all other files that will be linked in the HTML file.
- Beside the name of the folder, click Add
- Click Create HTML page
- Insert text into the Content Editor. At the location where you want to insert an image, click the insert imageicon.
- Click Browse Server
- Click the name of the file. In the URL box, you will see a very long address. You want to remove everything except the name of the file.
- This is what appears in the box: https://elearning2.courses.ufl.edu/access/content/group/dc22ae0e-9222-4eac-832f-98724fa71649/archeology.jpg
- You want to remove everything except: archeology.jpg
- Click OK
You now have a relative link that will not break from one semester to the next. Link this file to your Home Page.
If you want to create a link to another file, rather than an image, there is a slightly different process. Instead of the "insert image" link, you will use the insert link icon. The box that comes up allows you to browse the files in your Resources. When you click the file to which you want to link, the URL is inserted into the "URL" box. As above, remove everything except the actual name of the file. You also want to change the protocol from "https" to "other" before you click OK.