We covered the importance of terms in Terms, Courses and Sections. As we described in that article, defining a sense of “time” in your learning initiative is key to creating courses and their “children”, sections – which must be associated with a specific ‘time period’ in your learning initiative for them to work.
The way you create academic terms in your learning initiative will depend on the way your learning initiative is run. For example, suppose your organization makes use of Genius to manage a learning initiative that is a bit like a University experience – with well-defined semesters and years, and with courses that repeat themselves every year or every semester, depending on your learners’ needs. In that case, the Semesters and Terms included with Genius can be used to organize and distinguish each offering of each course.
If, on the other hand, your organization runs a more unstructured learning initiative – for example, offering a lot of open-ended courses over a one-year period, the Semesters and Terms functionality included with Genius can also help you with this.
In this article, we will go over how to create Years and Terms in Genius. We will also discuss the Copy Terms functionality, which allows you to copy all sections from one term to the next – a particularly valuable tool if you’re the Administrator of a highly structured learning initiative.
Creating a Year
To create a Year in Genius, click on the Administration tab, and then scroll down to find the Operations heading in the sidebar. Under Operations, look for the sub-heading Year. Click on Year, and the following screen will appear:
To view an existing year, click on the pencil-and-paper icon on the leftmost column on the table that appears. A floating window appears, and you can change the name and the status of each Year:
To add a new year, simply click on the link above the table that reads Add new year…. The same floating window appears, and you can define both the name and the status (active or archived) for the new year you are creating.
Using Years in Genius
Note that “years” in Genius do not necessarily correspond to a calendar year. Think of a “year” as an all-encompassing criteria that you can use to classify your courses – for example, you can define a “year” that is used to group all face-to-face courses together, or a “year” that is used to classify all Online courses as well.
Typically, defining non-sequential, non-numerical years (a year in Genius can simply be the text "Online" or "Face to Face") will be used by organizations that run a more unstructured, continuous learning initiative. On the other hand, if your organization runs a highly structured learning initiative with many recurring courses, you may want to define Years that are equivalent to calendar or academic years, for example.
Creating a Term
Once you have created a year, it is now time to create a Term. In Genius, “Terms” are subsets of Years, and they can be used to sub-divide an academic year into semesters or into any sub-unit of time used by your organization.
NOTE: In order to create a section of a course, you need to create a term. In general, you will want to create years, then terms, then courses and then sections – in that order – in order to facilitate course management in Genius. Note also that terms in Genius will also be created at the LMS level, making the definition of terms critical to the way you manage your learning initiative.
To create a term, head back to the Administration tab, and then scroll down to find the Operations heading in the sidebar. The topmost item under the Operations heading is the LMS Terms item. Click on it, and the following screen will appear:
You will see a complete listing of all the terms created in your instance of Genius. As you can see, each Term is associated with a Year, and like Affiliations before, they can be either Active or Archived.
To edit a term, click on the pencil and paper icon on the leftmost column of the table. A floating window appears, and this one provides a few more options. We will go through these options in detail below:
At the top of this floating window, you will see that there are 4 required fields:
- Term Name – this is the name of the term you wish to create or edit.
- Year – this is the year that this term is associated with (note that this is a required field, which makes it necessary for you to define years, then terms).
- School – allows you to define multiple terms for multiple “schools” within your organization. Typically, only very large organizations will define ‘schools’. In Genius, a ‘school’ can be thought of a Learning Initiative that runs in parallel with others. If your organization is using Genius to manage a single e-Learning initiative, then you will not need to define a ‘School’ – but you may find that schools come in handy when you are asked to use Genius to manage multiple learning initiatives from a single location.
- Status – like with Years before, terms can be Active or Archived. Normally, you will want to Archive a term that has already passed, and keep only the terms that are either in the present or in the future as Active.
Below these required fields, you will see a series of options around Start Dates and End Dates. Set these options to match your preference, and click Save to edit the existing term. You will use the same interface when adding a new Term through the Administration > Operations > LMS terms > Add New Term.
Using Course Start and End Dates Wisely
The option you choose will depend on the nature of your learning initiative. For example, if you are running a fully online learning initiative where learners can enroll and complete their courses at any time, then it is typically OK to have the Start Date be either “Open Entry”, “Open Entry with Default Suggested Date” or “Suggest Current Date, not allowing override”. The reason being is that it really does not matter when the learner begins the course, and it is possible for them to begin the course today if needed.
When a learner enrolls in a course associated to this particular section, his or her Start Date will be changed depending on the options you choose here. If you choose “Suggest Current Date, not allowing override”, for example, then Genius will enforce this rule and set the learner’s Start Date as the date in which she completes her enrollment into the course.
If, on the other hand, you are running a learning initiative that has a specific start date for its courses, you may want to use the Pick from List option or the Open Entry with Suggested Start Date. This way, you can have your learners start their courses at the same time in that specific term. As you can imagine, this is very well suited for a learning initiative that is highly structured and that offers recurring learning opportunities to its community. On the other hand, learning initiatives with a “rolling enrollment” do not really “care” when their learners start their courses – as long as they finish them successfully.
Note that you can create years and terms that run in parallel to each other, and each term can have different properties. For example, you can create a term where you group all onsite, instructor-led training opportunities (which are usually delivered on a calendar basis) and you can also create a paralle term where you can group all online, “rolling enrollment” opportunities.
Using Terms in Genius
If your organization runs a highly structured learning initiative, the relationship between Years and Terms will make sense – you can simply divide the year into quarters, semesters or terms, and then associate sections to each one of those sub-divisions as required. You can then set up section start and end dates for those Terms to be strictly enforced by Genius.
On the other hand, if your organization runs a more unstructured learning initiative, you may need to create a Term that is associated with online courses, and ensure that the course start and end dates are as open as possible. Note that when configuring Terms to be highly open ended, it is still possible to set up specific sections to have “well defined” start and end dates – even if most sections in that Term are designed to be open-ended.
The last operation that you need to be aware of when creating sections and terms in Genius is the Copy Term operation. If your organization runs a highly structured learning initiative, this tool will make your job as an Administrator much easier.
In the example above, we created a Year called “2019”, and a Term called “2019 Q1”, representing the first quarter of 2019. Now, suppose we want to copy all the sections that were associated with the last quarter of 2018, and then associate those new sections we just created with the new term – “2019 Q1”. To do this, we can use the Copy Term operation, which can be found under the Operations heading in the Sidebar under the Administration tab in Genius (you may have to scroll down a bit to find this heading):
Clicking on Copy Term will open a new screen that is straightforward to use. You can select the term you want to copy sections from (in this case, 2018 Q4), the term that we want to copy sections to (in this case, 2019 Q1, the new term we created earlier) . In response to the question “Should the LMS ID field by updated”, we should select yes, and replace instances of any recurring text in the LMSID field under the Step 4 heading with the new text we want to associate with that field:
In this case, we see that there are three sections whose LMS ID field ends in “_184”. Typically, this would suggest that these courses are specific to the 4th quarter of 2018 (“18-4”) but your numbering system my vary. We write _184 in the field that states ‘Replace the occurrence of: ____’ and we write “_191” in the field that states ‘With’, as follows:
Finally, you can select the sections you want to copy. We select the sections whose LMSID ends in “_184”, as shown below:
Click Copy. Genius produces a confirmation message showing the sections you just created, and the term in which they were created:
We can now go to the Sections tab and filter our section search by Term to select only those sections that take place in the term “2019 Q1”. We expect to see only two sections, which we just created using the Copy Term tool through the step-by-step process described above – and we confirm the success of operation:
To learn more…
Remember – in order to create sections of courses, you need to have at least a year and/or term defined. We highly recommend that you think carefully about the way in which your courses should be organized, as a bit of planning when it comes to years and terms for your particular learning initiative will save you a lot of time when it comes to managing courses and telling one offering of a specific course apart from the others.
Once years and terms have been created, it is possible to create courses and sections in Genius. We provide a complete overview of the operations available to you to create Courses in the Managing Courses[link: managing courses] and the Managing Sections[link: managing sections] articles. We will add more “How-To” articles regarding these topics by the end of the last quarter of 2018.