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End-of-Semester Maintenance Checklist
In the interval between the end of one semester and the beginning of the next semester, there are a few housekeeping chores necessary to prepare online materials for the next class. Depending on exactly what online tools you utilizesection pages, presentations, rosters, Message Lists, password protection, gradebooks, etcand depending on how you've structured your online materials, you might need to do a little light dusting, or you might need to do some serious renovating. Here's a comprehensive checklist of things to consider, although of course your needs could very easily be somewhat different.
Don't be dismayed by the length of the checklist. Although we've tried to be as comprehensive as possible, the process should be fairly quick and painless unless you've made some non-standard choices in organizing your online class. Of course, if you're changing your name or changing your email address or completely overhauling the way you teach the class, then there can be many more factors to consider and much more work to do.
For the quickest and most efficient approach for getting a typical class ready for the next semester, follow the sequence shown here. Indeed, in some cases the system will warn you about upsetting the apple cart if you try to perform certain major changes or purges out of order!
Remember, if you are taking steps to clean up a class website from a previous semester and use it again for another semesterwhich is almost always the best approachyou will be archiving, purging, and reusing your existing components, including section homepage, schedule page, gradebook, Message Board, etc. It is almost NEVER a good idea to create a new section homepage, schedule, gradebook, etc for an existing class. In fact, if you do create any of those new components for an existing class website, you will almost certainly generate unexpected problems, confuse your students, and cause extra work for yourself.
Note that these maintenance routines should NOT be performed until the class is completely over, you're no longer accepting assignments from students, students no longer need access to the gradebook or other class pages, and you're ready for this class to recede into history.
We'll be cleaning out the gradebook (by deleting the students and their scores) so we can re-use it for the new semester. Under almost no circumstances will you want to delete the entire gradebook.
Go to the Gradebook module. From the Gradebook menu, go to the gradebook for this section.
Ensure that your gradebook is finalized, you've adjust scores and grades as necessary, and all your students have had a chance to see everything they need to know.
If you haven't already done so, be sure to use the Faculty Portal to import your grades from this gradebook and deliver them electronically to A&R.
Use the "Archive" button to save a permanent view of your gradebook on the Web. (This archive can't be edited, but it's saved in your directorythe same one to which you upload images and other materialsin case you ever need to refer back to it. For more information on this part of the process, see the Help document for archiving gradebooks.) We recommend you download the archive file to local computer for long-term storage.
Make sure you finish all these steps before purging students from your class roster! (See below.)
We'll return to the Gradebook module at the very end after we've taken care of some other chores that need to come first.
We'll be cleaning out the Message List (by deleting archived messages) so we can re-use it for the new semester. Under almost no circumstances will you want to delete the entire Message List.
Go to the Communications module. From the Communications menu, go to the Message List(s) for this section.
Under the heading "Editing Messages" click on the "Edit/Delete Messages" button, then on the "Delete all Messages" button. This allows you to purge all the messages from the List which have been archived during the semester.
(Note that you can also use the "Purge Messages from Lists" option to do exactly the same thing. That routine is especially useful if you need to delete messages from more than one List, because it will allow you to do so all at once.)
We'll be purging all the old data from your chat room(s) for re-use during the next class. Don't delete the chat room unless you really plan never to use it again.
Go to the Chat Room module. From the Chat menu, go to the chat room(s) for this section.
Use the "Re-Set Chat Room" button to delete all the old chat messages and remove all the associated data. This leaves your configurations intact and means the chat room is ready to go for the new semester.
We'll be cleaning out the roster (by deleting the students) so we can re-use it for the new semester. Under almost no circumstances will you want to delete the roster itself.
Go to the Student Rosters module. From the Student Rosters menu, go to the roster for this section.
Near the top of the roster page, just under the colored horizontal "Help" bar, click the "Utilities" button.
On the Utilities page, in the column of buttons on the left, use the "Delete Students" button to purge everyone from the roster for the section. Doing so also deletes all students and their grades from the gradebook for that section, so make sure you've taken care of all the maintenance steps in the Gradebook module before purging! If your class has a CATE gradebook, you won't be able to purge the students until the gradebook has been finalized and archived. (See above.) This step also removes all these students from your Message List and revokes their access to the section's password zones.
Warning! You definitely need to purge your roster, but don't do it until you've followed all the previous steps on this checklist (above), including creation of an archive. Once you delete your students, all their records are permanently removed from the system and can't be recovered.
We'll be updating the section homepage (by changing some information) so we can re-use it for the new semester. Under almost no circumstances will you want to delete the section homepage.
Go to the Sections module. From the Sections menu, go to this section.
Click on the "Basic Information" button to edit the configurations for your section homepage. You'll want to change the section number, the semester, the year, dates, etc to accurately reflect information for your class in the new term.
Click on the "Roster Options" button to adjust the check-in parameters which determine when and how students will be able to get into the section for the new semester. You might also want to edit the messages there which are delivered to students who go through the check-in process.
Once you've edited this information, then the updated section number and related information will automatically flow into the existing roster, gradebook, password zones, Message List, etc that you used for the section in the old semester, so everything can easily be re-used in the new semester. (If, on the other hand, you've created a whole new section page, or switched to a different one, rather than re-using the original one, you'll need to go into all those modules and do more work.) This will also automatically update information on the course homepage and on your personal homepage.
Important note: At the beginning of every semester, the system will automatically, unceremoniously, and without warning deactivate (not delete!) all section homepages which continue to display old section numbers, semesters, or years. To avoid having your section homepages automatically deactivated in this manner, be sure to do all your updating in a timely manner!
While you're at it, you might as well go to the Personal Homepage module to see if anything on your personal homepagesuch as your daily schedule, your office hours, classes taught, etcneeds to be updated for the new semester.
If you have a schedule page showing dates and deadlines, you'll need to go to the Schedule module, go to the schedule for this section, and adjust all the dates shown there for the class.
If you have presentation pages with class material showing dates and deadlines, you'll need to adjust everything for the new semester using the Presentation module. Depending on your preferences, you might also need to adjust the accessibility of pages in this presentation.
If you've created a presentation for student blogging, you'll almost certainly want to purge that presentation so you can use it over again. First decide if you want to archive and save the existing blogs. If so, clone the presentation, give it a suitable name so you can recognize it at a later date, then return to the original blog presentation. At the presentation menu, in the heading "Configurations for this presentation," click the "Student Blogs" button. Then click the "Purge Blog Pages" button. Finally, click "Confirm Purging Student Blogs." This will delete all posts from the blogging pages and all pages (except the table of contents) from the presentation. Assuming you've updated the section number and semester for your section homepage, the blog purging process will also change the name of the presentation to reflect those updates.
In most situations you will have no reason to do any maintenance in this module. However, if you use the In-Box feature to allow students to upload electronic homework files (Word documents, spreadsheets, images, etc) to your directory space on the CATE server, then you'll need to go to the File Management module and use the "Delete Files" (plural!) button to clean out the old files and make room for a fresh batch of new ones from your next class.
We'll be updating the tests and exercises (by adjusting dates) so we can re-use them for the new semester. Under almost no circumstances will you want to delete the tests and exercises, although in some cases you might stop using them and thus remove them from your gradebook.
Now go through all the online tests, quizzes, exams, and other exercises for your class and adjust the accessibility as needed. In some cases these will be permanently accessible to your students (particularly if you're controlling deadlines within presentation pages or with your gradebook). In other cases, you'll need to make sure that the dates controlling the window of accessibility for each test match your needs for the new semester. You can use the "Accessibility" button on the main Tests & Exercises menu for bulk editing, or you can do each test individually.
Ending up right where we began, you need to go back to the Gradebook module. Again, under almost no circumstances will you want to delete the gradebook.
If you've followed all the steps above, then your gradebook is now empty of students and their scores from the old semester, but it still has all the assignments in place. Now you need to go through the configurations for each assignment and adjust the submission deadline and/or the "when to display scores" setting to match your needs for the new semester. You can use the "Deadlines" button within the gray "Assignments" heading on the main page of the gradebook for bulk editing, or you can do each assignment individually. After adjusting the deadlines, use the "Edit Gradebook Configurations" button to set your gradebook as "open" so it will be ready to accept new assignment submissions.
Now you should put away the mop and broom and feather duster and take a break before the new semester begins....
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Last Modified: Tuesday, 21-Aug-2012 09:22:08 PDT
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