eLearning Product News

Course-instances on eFront 3.6.3

eFront 3.6.3 (which has just been released by the way) introduces a shift from a Lesson-centric to a Course-centric eFront. We have made several interface and language changes to facilitate this move with minimum impact on upgrades. We anticipate that the transition will be completed on the next few incremental versions. These modifications are part of eFront Educational and eFront Enterprise. The Community and Community++ users will not witness many differences on the course infrastructure.

The introduction of Course-instances combined with the introduction of Curriculum brings some very important new options for organizing the learning material.

A Course-instance is a type of sub-course tightly connected with the initial course. When you create a Course-instance it duplicates its father course. At a second step you can customize its name and behavior. A Course-instance can share the same lessons with its father, have unique instances of the lessons or have a different set of lessons all together.

Consider a scenario in which you have a school with a physics course (which includes several lessons), separated in 4 different classrooms. Each classroom has its own teacher(s) and students. Previously you had to create 4 different courses to achieve this effect. Furthermore, each lesson inside the course was always on shared mode – which means that it did not explicitly belong to any course and changes that happened to a lesson were shared with all courses that included it.

Course-instances come to remedy this situation. You can now create a course with 4 different instances and you can assign the same lessons to each one of them in unique mode. Different sets of students/professors can be assigned to each instance. Unique lessons are now linked to their course and can be modified without altering the initial lesson. Furthermore, when someone completes a Course-instance he/she completes the main course as well.

When you create a course you can decide if a lesson is in shared or unique mode.

The shared mode is the current eFront mode – no surprises here. The unique mode is brand new and works as follows:

* It creates a new invisible lesson and attaches it to the course
* It copies the content from the initial lesson to the new lesson
* For efficiency reasons it “shares” the folder between the new and the old lesson. If this was not the case then you would witness enormous loss of storage from this process. However, since all unique’ lessons that derive from an initial lesson share the same files if someone deletes a file then everyone will notice the difference. Still, you can assign different users to the new lesson and change the order or the units-content without interfering with the original lesson.

For more info on Course-instances check the related wiki article here.

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