So far, in this Knowledge Base, we have provided you with a complete overview of how Genius works[link: introduction to Genius administration], and we have covered the way in which you can create Affiliations[link: introduction to affiliations] and Learners[link: creating learners] in the system. In this Article, we will cover the way in which Administrators and other authorized users in Genius can create Courses and Sections.
By the time you are finished with this Article, you will be able to create both Courses and their associated Sections, and hopefully understand the difference between the two better than ever before. Because Genius distinguishes between ‘abstract’ Courses and ‘concrete’ Sections, we highly recommend that you read over Terms, Courses and Sections[link: terms, courses and sections] for a refresher on this topic before reading through this article.
Creating Courses and Sections
As we described in Terms, Courses and Sections[link: terms, courses and sections], Courses are ‘abstract’, parent structures, while Sections are ‘concrete’ structures that learners enroll in and complete. Course and Sections have a “parent-child” relationship, and because of this, you can define certain properties of a Course and the Sections you create of that course will inherit those properties.
For example, you can define the following properties at the Course level, and the Sections you create of that course will be ‘bound’ by these properties set up at the Course level:
- Whether learners are eligible for self-registration in a course;
- Whether the course will require managerial approval;
- Whether the course has any pre-requisites, i.e. courses that you must have completed before being allowed to register in this particular Course.
Remember - a section is an instance or version of a course that is being offered at a particular time, or being taught by a particular teacher. Learners enroll and complete Sections, not Courses. For example, you could have a course called “Bloodborne Pathogens”, and that course could have three sections: one offered in January, one in March and one in May:
When it comes to Reporting, you can obtain data across all sections of a course by obtaining progress, performance and engagement information at the course level. On the other hand, if you want to know how a specific cohort of learners is doing in their coursework, you can obtain reports at the section level that will provide you with this information.
In the sections that follow, we will go through how you can use the tools provided by Genius to create Courses and Sections.
We will now provide you with a step-by-step guide to creating Courses in Genius. All the tools provided by Genius around Courses are available by clicking on the Courses tab on the menu above.
Before you begin…
Before you add a course, we highly recommend that you create a Master Course Template that contains the learning content you want to deliver in the LMS you use for content delivery. In this way, when you create a Section of that course, Genius will copy the material in the Course Template and your learners will work off a copy of the original course material.
Creating a Master Course Template will make it a lot easier for you to ‘centralize’ the management of course versions, as you can make changes to the Master Course Template and then have those changes propagate to the new instances of the Course (the Sections) you create from that point onwards.
In the end, you will have a ‘vertical’ structure comprised of Master Course Templates, Courses and Sections that live both at the LMS level and in Genius
The Add Course tool
Once you have your Master Course Template (or whenever you are ready to create your course), head out to the Courses tab. You can create a Course in Genius by clicking on the Add Course menu item on the Sidebar on the left-hand side of your screen:
Complete the required fields shown in yellow and add a name for the course, and define its key Properties by selecting the appropriate option from the drop-down menus shown in the Course Profile page. Remember – the properties you set at the Course level will be inherited by the Sections created from that Course:
You can then link the Course in Genius to the Master Course Template you created at the LMS level, by entering the Blackboard Course ID of the Master Course Template in the field “Blackboard ID” in the Genius Course.
When you do this, every time you create a Section of this Course, Genius will search for the course material under that course ID in the LMS’s course database, and create a new copy of that course that your learners will actually engage with and complete. This saves you a lot of work as an Administrator!
Associating a Preview Image to the Course
If you have read through the articles about the Course Catalog included with Genius, you know that the Catalog presents all Sections in your learning initiative available for self-registration through an attractive tile-based interface. Each course in the Catalog is represented with a small image, which you can define or edit by using the steps below:
- Go to Administration> System Setup > File Upload, and upload the image file you want to use. The URL where the file will be stored will be: https://yourOrganization.geniussis.com/upload/yourImage.png. In the URL above, “yourOrganization” stands for your organization’s name, and “yourImage.png” is the filename of the image you are uploading. You can recall this image by simply typing in “/upload/yourImage.png” where Genius requests the path to the image file.
- Go to the courses tab, and use the URL above as the link to the file. As an example, if you load a file called “yourImage.png”, the link would be “/upload/yourImage.png”. If your image is located in another server, you will need to add the complete URL for the image you want to use.
Once you have created a Course in Genius, you can create Sections of that Course every time you want to teach a new version of that Course. Whenever you create a new Section in Genius, Genius will create a copy of the Master Course Template you created for that Course in your LMS.
To create a new section, click on the Sections tab and then click on the “Add Section” menu item on the sidebar to the left-hand side of your screen.
When creating a section, you can determine the following properties at the Section level:
- enrollment cap – the maximum number of learners that can enroll in this Section. If more learners than those defined in the Cap enroll in the course attempt to register, they will be placed in a Waitlist.
- credit hours – the credit-hours that will be granted to Learners when they complete the course. This information will be displayed on the Certificates and Transcripts issued by Genius to your Learners when they complete their coursework.
- Facilitator – the name of the instructor that will be responsible for this Course. You can pick an Instructor from a drop-down menu, making it possible for you to quickly associate a Section to an existing instructor in your learning initiative. Assigning a Section to an Instructor will grant them access to the progress, performance and engagement information of the learners who enroll in that Section.
- Term – the Term that this section will be associated with. You can learn more about how to define Years and Terms in this article[link: years and terms].
- Affiliation – You can use this field to control access to the learning opportunity. If you specify an Affiliation, only learners from that Affiliation will be able to see this Section in their Course Catalog, and then enroll in that Section. If you do not want to restrict access to this specific learning opportunity, set this field to have a value of “Any”.
- start date – the date in which the course will start.
- duration – the number of calendar days that the course will last. Genius will automatically calculate the End Date for the course based on the value of Duration that you set here. Note that Courses can have a Duration and no Start Date, which allows Learners to start the course and then have a deadline set up before they can finish the learning opportunity.
- price – If you want to define a price for this Course, you can do so here. The Course Catalog entry for this Section will show the Price you type in this Section.
- location – you can define where the course will meet by completing this field. The Location will be displayed in the Course Catalog.
- meeting times - which define when the Section will meet. If you define Meeting Times for a Section, you will be able to take attendance for that section, as described in Taking Attendance in Genius[link: taking attendance in Genius].
You can also determine the delivery approach at the Section Level: online, face-to-face, or hybrid (blended learning). If you define the Section to be an Online or Hybrid learning opportunity, Genius will make it possible for you to specify the LMS where you want the Section to be created. You can also specify the Course ID that you would like used when the Section is created in the LMS. This will make it easier to ‘track down’ the Section in the LMS you are using to deliver content in your learning initiative.
Click ‘Save’ when you are done, and Genius will do all the back-end work required to make it possible for Learners to enroll in this Section. You can check that your Section has been created by clicking back on the Sections tab, which will show a listing of all Active Sections you have created in your instance of Genius.
A special case: Ongoing Courses or Rolling Admission Courses
When creating Sections, you can use the Start Date and Duration fields to define whether the Section will be ongoing, or whether it will have a well-defined start and end date. We describe what happens if you
- Ongoing, Rolling Admission Sections: If you leave the Start Date and the Duration field blank, the course will be set up as an Ongoing course and it will be presented first in the Course Catalog available to your learners.
- Rolling Admission, Limited-Time Sections: If you leave the Start Date field blank, but add a figure under Duration, learners will be able to enroll in this Section, but they will be forced to complete the course within a number of days defined in the Duration entry.
- Fixed Start-Date, Ongoing Sections: If you add a date under the Start Date field, and leave the Duration field blank (or add the maximum Duration allowed by Genius, 999 days), learners will only be able to access the Section if today’s date is greater than the Start Date, but they will not have a deadline to finish the course.
- Fixed Start-Date, Limited-Time Sections: If you add both a Start Date and a Duration, learners will be able to access the Course if today’s date is greater than the Start Date AND lesser than the End Date. This means that Learners will have a well-defined start and end date for the Section.
Your choice of Start Date and Duration will also impact the order in which these Sections are displayed in the Course Catalog. Sections with a start and end date are sorted in the Course Catalog by the Section’s Start Date in ascending order, then the Section’s End Date, then alphabetical by the section’s Name.
Status: Active or Archived
In Genius, a Course or a Section has two status options: ACTIVE and ARCHIVED. We explain the effect of setting a Course or Section as either Active and Archived below:
- Active - when a Course or Section is set up as Active, users are able to enroll in it, and they will see it in the Learner’s Course Catalog.
- Archived – when a Course or Section is Archived, this means that the class is no longer available for enrollment, and they do not see it in their Course Catalog. When a course or section is Archived, this means the class is unavailable in a typical LMS.
We note that the archiving a course or section in Genius does not mean the same thing as when you archive a course in an LMS. In an LMS, an archived course is a full backup of that course at that snapshot in time, which can be used to restore the full contents of that course. Genius only stores the final grade and completion status, and cannot restore the full contents of a LMS course if it has been archived.
Because of this, if you define Master Course Templates in conjunction with Genius courses, make sure to never archive this Template at the LMS level.
To learn more…
Once you have created courses and sections, you will be ready to complete new tasks in Genius. You can enroll learners[link: enrollment] into your Sections, and have them begin their assigned coursework. You can also set up learning pathways[link: learning pathways], allowing you to create complex learning programs that can lead to the issuance of certificates and transcripts. And finally, you can also set up your Course Catalog[link: course catalog], allowing your learners to register in and pay for their courses without the intervention of another user.