The Syllabus tool allows site administrators to add a syllabus in a text document, an uploaded file, or a link to a website. The Syllabus for a site may include one or more Syllabus items.
Creating/adding a syllabus item
To create/add a Syllabus item, follow the steps below:
- Open the Syllabus tool in the left hand side of the course site.
- Select the “Add Item” button. The Add syllabus screen should open.
- Specify a Title for the Syllabus (required field).
- Specify the Content – You may compose a message to be displayed with the Syllabus using the embedded editor.
- Click “Add and Publish” and your post will be public. Click “Add” and your post will be saved as a draft.
- You may edit the privacy by clicking on the “eye” icon.
- Select the Add attachments button from the dashboard to add one or more attachments to the syllabus. This opens the Select item screen. The Syllabus tool offers several options for adding attachments:
- Upload local file
- Specify a URL (link to a website)
- Select an existing site Resource from either the current site or other sites by clicking “Attach a copy.”
- Select the Continue button to post the Syllabus to the site immediately.
Redirecting a Syllabus Item
As an alternative, site administrators may wish to redirect site participants to a website only. To do this, select the “Redirect” button in the Syllabus screen and paste the URL into the assigned text box. Then, select “Save.” Site participants will only see the contents of the designated web page when they open the Syllabus tool.
Note: Once the Syllabus is redirected to a URL, previously posted files will not be accessible. Eliminating the URL redirection reestablishes any attachments that may have been present prior to the redirection.
Deleting a Syllabus Item
To delete a Syllabus item, check the Remove box located on the far right of the Syllabus screen. Then select Update and the item will be deleted.
Reordering Syllabus Items
Syllabus items may be reordered by drag and dropping the items on Syllabus screen. Once they are reordered, the new arrangement will save automatically.
Resources is where folders, files and other materials can be posted to the site. Resource items can include:
- New folders
- Word processing documents
- Slide presentations
- Links to web sites
- HTML documents
- Plain text documents
Once Resource items have been posted by site administrators, site participants may either open them for viewing or download them to their computers.
Resource items can be organized into folders to facilitate identification and retrieval. Site participants may find it beneficial to receive a brief overview of the Resources setup from site administrators.
You may create folders and add documents to them by clicking “Actions” in the Resources tool. In addition, site administrators can hide, unhide, and set release dates for the content available to users.
There is a quota of 600MB for each tab or site on QuestromTools and an individual file size limit of 50MB.
Viewing and/or downloading Resources
When you select the Resources tool in the menubar, the Resources page will open and you will see all the folders that you have uploaded to your site. By default, all sites have a top-most folder reflecting the site name (e.g. SM131 A2.) The added content will appear as a sub-item to the host. Sub-items may be folders, links to files, URLs, or a combination.
Note: To view a particular item within a folder, click the name of the item or the icon next to it. When you click on an item, a dialog box may open to give you the option of either opening it or downloading it and saving a copy to your computer.
Site administrators can add, delete, copy or move Resource items. They can also edit Resource items. These functions are described below:
If you are adding detailed information for an item, you can do any of the following:
- Choose a Copyright Status. Decide (or not) to require viewers to acknowledge the copyright status when they view the item.
- Enter the appropriate Availability information.
Note: Resources may be posted to the site, but remain hidden from site participant view until an appropriate date and time. That date and time can be determined automatically (by setting the “Show this item”– Beginning date and time) or by revising the item and manually unchecking the “Hide” option at a future date.
Resources may be copied, either individually or as part of a folder copy. The procedures for copying individual resource items and folders are the same and are described below:
- Check the box to the left of the resource items and/or folder that is to be copied. You may select multiple at the same time.
- Select the “Copy Checked” button at the top of the Resources screen.
- Select the “Pasted Copied Items” icon to the right of the destination folder and the selected items will be copied.
Note: Resources can be copied between your sites by exposing the content under the “Copy Content from My Other Sites” section at the bottom of the Resources Page.
Revising (Editing) the Content of Resources
Important Note: The actual content (text, graphics, etc.) of resources may not be edited within QuestromTools. It must be edited off-line and then reposted. Even though posted content can be opened using its native application software (e.g. Microsoft Word or PowerPoint), editing the content and selecting File-Save will not actually save the edited content to the site.
Deleting (Removing) Resources
Resources may be deleted, either individually or as part of a folder deletion. The procedures for deleting individual resources and complete folders are the same and are described below:
- Check the box to the left of the resource item and/or folder that is to be deleted. You may select multiple at the same time.
- Select the “Move to Trash” button at the top of the Resources screen.
- A red confirmation warning will be displayed. Select Remove to delete the checked items or “Cancel” to go back.
Resources may be reordered individually within a folder or collectively as part of a reordering of all folders. The steps are described below:
- Click the “Actions” button to the right of the folder containing items that need to be reordered.
- Click the “Reorder” button and the selected folder will open.
- Resources within the folder may be reordered by selecting the dragging up and down the items.
- When reordering of the folder is complete, select the “Save” button to make the new order take effect.
When site administrators add new Resources to a site, they may choose (or not) to send email notifications to site participants. This choice is made by selecting the appropriate option from the “Email Notification” drop-down box on the “Add Item(s)” screen of the Resource tool. The choices are:
- High – All participants
- Low – Only participants who have opted in
- None – No notification (default)
If the Low priority setting is selected, only site participants who have not declined to receive low priority Resource announcements in the Preferences Tool of their My Workspace site will receive them. If the High priority setting is selected, the system will send an email notification to all site participants notifying them of the new content. Newly posted files will appear as links in the email notification so as not to count against site participant email quota.
Site Info is an important tool for all site administrators. Within Site Info, a site administrator can publish the site for site student access, view a roster of site participants, change site participant roles, and add/remove site tools.
Manage Access to Publish Site
By default, new sites are created in an “unpublished” state and thus are not available to site participants (e.g., students). Follow these steps to publish the site for site participant access
- Go to the “Site Info” left-hand side section and click on “Manage Access” at the top of the page.
- Check the “Publish site” bubble and then click the “Update” button.
- In the Gloal Access section, you may limit the access to course members or allow any Sakai user to join the site.
To add site participants, follow these steps:
- Go to the “Site Info” left-hand side section and click on “Add Participants” at the top of the page.
- To add a member of the BU Community, type their username into the first text box. Use the second text box to add a guest to the BU Community. You may add multiple usernames at once.
- Select the appropriate Participant Role and Participant Status before clicking “Continue.”
- On the next screen, assign the appropriate role(s) and click “Continue.”
- When prompted to send an email message to the user notifying them of the site’s availability, be certain to select “Send Now” if you are inviting a non-BU member. The email notification will contain an auto-generated password that for the guest to log into QuestromTools and access your site.
- To remove site participants, go to Site Info and check the “Remove?” box at the far right of the page next to the appropriate site participant(s).
- Click “Update Participants” at the bottom of the page for the change(s) to take effect.
Changing Participant Roles
To change the role of a site participant (e.g., from student to teaching assistant), follow these steps.
- Go to Site Info and scroll down to the Site Participant List.
- Use the drop-down box in the Role column, next to the site participant(s) to select a role.
- Click “Update Participants” at the bottom of the page to save your change(s).
Add/Remove Tools (buttons)
There may be tools (buttons) that you do not plan to use in your site, and you may want to remove them. Alternatively, you may wish to add some site tools that are not part of the standard site template. In either case, go to Site Info and click on “Manage Tools” to display a list of the site tools available. Check the boxes next to the tools you wish to add to the site and uncheck boxes for any tools you wish to remove from the site. When done, click “Continue,” and then “Finish” to confirm your site tool changes.
Use the “Add” button to create a new announcement and complete the fields on the page that follows (e.g., Announcement title, Body, etc.). Your announcement will be posted to your site.
Adding Announcements with Attachments
Click the Attachments button at the bottom of the screen to browse for and attach a file to the announcement.
Display to Selected Groups/Sections
Follow the instructions for Adding Announcements above. Prior to clicking the “Add Announcement” button, click on the Display to Selected Groups” radio button and check the box next to the group or section intended to view the announcement. The announcement will appear only to those students in the selected group/section. NOTE: Groups and/or sections must already exist to use this feature.
You can preview or save drafts of your announcements. The interface time-out is 60 minutes, which means if you take more than 60 minutes to compose or edit the announcement then your work will not be saved.
When posting an announcement you can set an email notification option (high or low) so that students are alerted via email that an announcement has been posted. The message body of the announcement will be included in the email notification so that the student does not have to visit the site.
A high priority email notification will be sent by the system regardless of preferences set by each student. A low priority email notification could be blocked depending upon how the student has set his/her preferences on the system.
To create a new assignment, click the Add button then provide the necessary information for the assignment:
- Title (required)
- Add assignment instructions
- Add honor pledge
- Click “Add Attachments” button to upload any files necessary for the assignment.
- Open Date (required) – the date when students will be able to see and access the assignment.
- Due Date (required)
- Accept Until (required) – by setting this date after the Due Date you allow students to submit late assignments.
- Add due date to calendar
- Announce the open date – posts an announcement to the site when the assignment opens
- Select Access (site or selected groups)
- Student Submissions (required) – “Inline” means the student must type the answer into the website directly. “Attachments” means the student can attach the answer in a file. You can accept one or the other or both.
- Select email notification options for students (high, Low)
- Select option to use Turnitin
- Grade Scale / Points (required)
- Add to Gradebook (adds the assignment as a line item to the Gradebook tool. NOTE that grading is done for each individual assignment within the Assignments tool and not within the Gradebook tool)
- Select grade release email option
- Additional assignment options (use peer assessment, group submission)
You can choose to preview the assignment if desired and from there you can choose to save the assignment as a draft, otherwise click the Post button when done preparing the assignment.
Viewing and Downloading Submissions
To view student submissions, go to the top level of the Assignments section by clicking the reset arrow next to the Assignments header. Then click the hyperlinked numbers that are divided by a slash (/) under the In/New column (e.g., 4/4. The first number represents how many students have submitted an assignment and the second number represents how many student submission you have not yet viewed.
After you click the link you will see a list of all the students in your class. You can view individual student submissions by clicking on the students name in this list or you can download all student submissions by clicking the Download All button at the top of the Assignment section. This will generate a ZIP file containing all of your students inline submissions as well as their attached files.
Replying to Submissions (Comments and Grading)
When you are viewing student submissions individually, you can also respond to that student’s submitted assignment by adding comments within their inline submission (use double curvy brackets for emphasis) and/or using the separate instructor comments area. There are also options at the bottom for you to grade the assignment, allow for resubmissions and provide attachments of your own as part of the response.
The Student View button lets you see how the assignment/instructions appear to students and even allows you to run through submitting the assignment as a student.
The Grade Report button shows submissions and grades for each student. Clicking the Download Spreadsheet button puts this information into an Excel file which you can save to your computer.
- Click on the Email tool for the site you are using.
- Within the “To:” area, select roles, sections or groups
- Use the “Add Other Recipients” field to enter email addresses of non-site participants.
- Fill in the Subject.
- Compose the body of the email message. A WYSIWYG editor lets you to choose from a variety of formatting options.
- Attach a file(s) to your email (optional).
- Check the “Send me a copy” box if you would like a copy of the message sent to your email address for record keeping.
- Check the “Add to Email Archive…” box to add your message to the site’s Email Archive, where it can be viewed by all site participants.
- Select “Append list of recipients” (optional)
- When you have finished composing your message and selecting optional items, click the “Send Mail” button to send the message.
When you click the “Send Mail” button to send your message, a confirmation page will display the names of all recipients.
Setting Default Options for the Site
Site owners or administrators will find an Options button at the top of the page, providing access to an Options page. Changes made on the Options page become the default settings for the site and apply to all site participants. The following options appear:
- Copies (send me a copy, append to email archive)
- Show Recipients
- Reply-to (sender, do not allow reply)
- Display invalid emails
- Display empty recipients group
Select “Update Defaults”
The Email Archive tool makes it possible for every site to have it’s own email address (e.g., email@example.com). Site participants can send an email to this address and two things will occur:
1. All members of the site will receive a copy of the message sent to their individual email addresses (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc.).
2. A copy of the message will be archived under Email Archive where it can be viewed by all site participants.
Sending Email to the Site Address
- Click on the Email Archive tool for the site you are using.
- Note the email address for the site (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Open your email client (e.g., Outlook, gmail, etc.) .
- Compose a new message.
- Enter the email address for the site into the “To” field.
- Send your message.
- Check Email Archive on the site for an archived copy of the message.
Searching the Email Archive
Use the search field under Email Archive to search for archived messages. Search by sender, subject line text, or message body text.
Allowing Non-participants to Use the Site Address
Instructors can open up the use of the site email address to those outside of the site participant list. This is particularly useful for student team sites where faculty opt not to be members yet need a way to communicate with the team.
To open up use of the site email address beyond site participants:
- Click on the Email Archive tool for the site you are using.
- Click the Options button.
- Under Message settings, select the Anyone radio button.
- Click the Update Options button.
Instructors may use the Gradebook tool to assign points to individual assignments and to calculate/distribute overall course grades to students online. Using the tool, instructors add assignments and assign points to the assignments according to their relative weights in determining the overall course grade. The total of the assignment points may equal 100 points (but does not need to).
Adding Gradebook Items
To add an item, select the Gradebook tool from the site menu and perform the following steps:
- From the Overview screen, select the “Add Gradebook Item” button. The Add Gradebook Item screen opens.
- Specify the Title for the Item (required).
- Specify the Point Value for the Item (required). The Point Value is a number that will be used by the Gradebook tool to determine an Assignment’s relative weight in calculating the overall course grade for each student. Instructors may choose to configure Assignment Points in such a way that the total of all Assignment Points equals 100, but this is not a requirement. Whatever the total is, each assignment’s weight will be determined by the proportion of the total points that its Assignment Point Value represents.
- Specify if the assignment should be calculated as extra credit
- Specify the Due Date in mm/dd/yy format (optional). (Not assigning a due date might be appropriate for non-specific assignments such as “class participation”).
- You may choose to add the item to a category e.g. Assignments, exams (See the following section on creating categories for further instructions)
- Indicate in the check box if the assignment counts towards the overall course grade. (Instructors might wish to assign and grade assignments such as practice tests which will not count towards the overall course grade.)
- Indicate in the check box if the assignment is to be released and made visible to students in the course. (Instructors may wish to set up their course sites, in advance, with all of the assignments for the course and only release them when they are actually assigned.)
- Click the “Create” button to add the assignment to the Gradebook
Creating Categories in your Gradebook
To create a category:
- Select the “settings” tab within the Gradebook, then select “Categories & Weighting” from the list below
- You can choose to weight you categories with the radio button
- You can choose to drop or keep n number of items in a category with the check boxes
- Select “Add a Category”
- Enter a category name, weight and drop/keep specifications
Editing Gradebook Items
To edit an Item:
- Select the Gradebook tool from the site menu and hover over the dropdown arrow withing the title box of the item you wish to edit
- Select “Edit Item Details” from the dropdown. The Edit Gradebook Item screen will open.
- Make changes to the item’s settings, as required.
- Select “Save Changes” to make the changes take effect.
Deleting Gradebook Items
To delete an Item:
- Select the Gradebook tool from the site menu and hover over the dropdown arrow withing the title box of the item you wish to delete
- Select “Delete Item” from the dropdown. The Delete Item screen will open
- Select Delete. You will see a confirmation message indicating that the Item has been deleted.
To grade an Item:
- Select the Gradebook tool from the site menu and select the “Grades” tab
- To set a grade for the entire class hover over the dropdown arrow under the Item and select “Set Score for Empty Cells” this will open the Set Score for Empty Cells Window
- Enter a grade and select “Done”
- To input score for individual students double click the box under the Item in the same row as the students name and type in the value then press “Enter” on your keyboard
- Assign points for each student relative to the maximum number of points available for the assignment. (This is the number which was specified when the assignment was added to the gradebook and is shown opposite the Points heading in the Assignment Summary screen.)For example: If an assignment counted for 25 possible course points and a student got an 80% grade on the assignment, then they should be assigned 25 x 80% = 20 points for the assignment.
Grade Options (Releasing Grades to students)
The Gradebook tool provides options for when and how to release grades to students and for how to define the correspondence
between numeric grades and letter grades. These options are described below:
- Select the Gradebook tool from the site menu. The Overview screen will be displayed.
- Select the “Settings” tab at the top of the screen and then select “Grade Release Rules” from the options below
- There are two check boxes under the Grade Display heading (either or both of which may be checked):
- Choose (check) the first box if you wish grades to be made available to students as soon as the scores have been entered for any or all of them. This check box only applies to assignments that have been released (or assigned) to students.
- Choose (check) the second box if you wish to display to students how many cumulative points they have earned so far out of all of the possible points for the entire course and the course letter grade that represents.Note: If you choose to utilize the second check box, be sure to explain to students that assignments not yet completed or graded are counted as zero points in calculating the cumulative course letter grade to date. (This behavior can be overridden by utilizing the Gradebook Grade Override feature. See separate heading “Course
Grade Calculation ” below.)
- To change the grade type select “Grading Schema” from the options in the “Settings” tab
- Grade Type – Select one of three Grade Types from the drop-down box:
- Letter Grades
- Letter Grades with +/-
- Pass/Not Pass
Select the Change grade type button to finalize the selection and open the appropriate grade conversion table. Modify the grade conversion table (or reset to default values) to reflect the proper minimum % to qualify for each letter grade.
- Select Save to finalize your grade options for the course Gradebook.
Relationship of the Gradebook tool to the Assignments and Tests & Quizzes tools
Assignments may be added directly to the Gradebook using the editing features of the Gradebook tool itself (as described above). In addition, assignments created independently, using the features of either the Assignments tool or the Tests & Quizzes tool, may be added to the Gradebook. Please refer to the on-line documentation for those tools for details.
Course Grade Calculation
The Grade book tool will compute an overall course grade based on assignments that have been released to students and have been graded. To utilize this feature, open the Gradebook tool and click on “Grade” at the top of the screen. Individual course grades (based on assignment submissions/grading to date) will be shown for each student as well as an overall score for the class as a whole.
However, the calculated grade for any student may be overridden by hovering over the dropdown arrow in the Course Grade field and selecting”Course Grade Override”. If you enter a Grade Override you must select “Save Course Grade Override” . (Clear the Grade Override box and click Save to eliminate a Grade Override for a student.)
Uploading and Importing Items
As an alternative to adding Items to the Gradebook manually, instructors may wish to import assignments from an Excel .csv file.
Downloading and Exporting Course Scores
The Gradebook tool provides the ability to download course scores to either a standard Excel or a CSV file.
To do this, open the Gradebook and select “Import/Export” tab at the top of the screen. Under Export select “Export Gradebook” It is highly recommended that you elect to first open it as a spreadsheet and then save it with a user-friendly name (instead of the long complicated name that Questromtools assigns to it) and that you save it to a permanent location on your hard drive.
Viewing Scores (students)
Students may view their scores on assignments that have been released and graded by opening the Gradebook tool for Title, Due Date, Score, or Points.
It gives the site administrator(s) the ability to create a calendar of events and/or deadlines (e.g. course assignment due dates, computer lab times, etc.). Once posted, events may be viewed by all site participants in a variety of formats.
Adding (Editing) Calendar Items
To add Calendar items, complete the following steps:
- Open the Calendar tool and select the “Add Event” tab
- On the Add Event page, complete the required fields (indicated by asterisks) – Title, Date and Start Time .
- Specify either the Duration or the End Time. (They are optional and specifying one will determine the other.)
- Specify other optional items:
- Message – You may add text to be displayed with the scheduled item using the embedded WYSIWYG editor.
- Display to Site – By default, all site participants will see the new event. If the site has groups and/or sections, a radio button will appear entitled “Display to Selected Groups.” This allows the site administrator to specify that the event be made viewable only to site participants within selected groups and/or sections. Choose groups and/or sections, as appropriate.
- Frequency – By default, the event will be displayed only once. By selecting the Frequency button, you may alter the frequency to be daily, weekly, monthly or yearly.
- Event Type – By default, the event is listed as an activity. However, you may choose any of the options presented in the drop-down box which will also change the icon displayed. A legend showing the various event types and associated icons is located at the bottom of the main Schedule page.
- Event Location – Type a description for the event location.
- Attachments – Add any attachments (files or website links) to be displayed with the event. Note, multiple files and/or website links may be attached to the event. Also, you may specify existing site Resources (either from the current site or other sites of which you are a participant) to be added to the Schedule event.
- Select Save Event to post it to the site calendar.
To revise Schedule items, complete the following steps:
- Select the event from the Calendar “View” tab
- Click the “Edit” button for the event.
- Make changes to the event.
- Select Save Event which will post revisions to the site Calendar.
Viewing and Printing the Schedule
Views: Several views of the Schedule are available from the View drop-down box on the Schedule tool screen. They are:
- Calendar by Day
- Calendar by Week
- Calendar by Month
- Calendar by Year
- List of Events
Each view displays posted events as underlined items with an icon identifying the type of activity. A legend showing the various event types and associated icons is located at the bottom of the main Schedule page.
Details of posted events can be displayed by clicking the underlined event title.
The List of Events view in the View drop-down box displays a chronological list of Schedule events. This list can be toggled between “Sort by date ascending” and “Sort by date descending” by clicking on the heading for the date column.
Also, the List of Events view provides the ability to filter events by start/end dates. To use this feature, set the appropriate start/end dates and select Filter Events.
By default, the start and end dates for the List of Events view are set to coincide with whatever Calendar view was last selected (day, month, year). For example, if a user chose to view events by month and selected the month of March, then the start/end dates for the filter would be March 1/March 31 when they subsequently switched to the List of Events view.
Printable Versions: The Day, Week, Month and List of Events views of the Schedule provide an option for the user to view a printable version of the calendar using Adobe Reader. Once the calendar has been opened in the printable version, it may be viewed, printed, saved or otherwise managed as any standard PDF document.
Navigation Buttons: The Day Week, Month and Year views of the calendar provide navigation buttons (in the upper right part of the screen) to allow users to quickly go to the previous, next or current time period, as appropriate.
The Calendar tool allows site administrators to merge events from other sites into the current site’s Schedule.
Merging Schedules: In order to merge schedules from other sites, follow the steps below:
- Select the “Merge Internal Calendars” tab on the Calendar screen. This will open the Merging Calendars screen and display the calendars from sites that the current user had permission to view.
- In the Show Calendar column, check the boxes for the sites for which you wish to merge events.
- Select the Save button to effect the merge. (Merged calendars may be subsequently separated by unchecking the appropriate Show Calendar check box at a future time.)
Adding or Deleting Fields (data) to an Event
In addition to the standard data fields that are available for all events, users with appropriate permissions may add additional data fields to further characterize site events (e.g. keynote speaker, readings due, etc.)
To add a field to an event, select the “Fields” tab on the Calendar screen and follow the steps below:
- On the Add/Edit Fields screen, enter the name for the new field in the Field Name box and select Create Field. The new field will be displayed in the Field Name list. Repeat this step for as many additional fields as are necessary.
- Select the Save Field Changes button to add the additional field(s) and return to the Calendar screen.
To delete a custom field from an event, select the Fields button on the Schedule screen and follow the steps below:
- Check the “Remove?” button for the field(s) you wish to delete.
- Select “Save Field Changes”. You will receive a warning asking you to confirm that you want to remove the field. If so, select Save Field Changes a second time.
- The checked field(s) will be removed.