Often the same course is taught in a variety of formats and modalities by a diverse group of instructors. The students and the institutions want to know that the courses have consistency in terms of what is to be learned (the objectives and outcomes), even when the execution of the courses may differ in terms of their assessments, learning activities, and organization.
The Variations feature ensures consistent curriculum architecture (what we call the nucleus), while allowing for natural variation in modality, instructor, learning resources, assessments, and time-frame.
For example, the course “College Algebra, Math 141” might have nine variations:
- F2F 15-week (base variation)
- F2F 8-week
- F2F Project-based
- Hybrid 8-week
- Online 15-week
- Hyflex Fall 2020 13-week
- Dr. Bear’s Section
- Business Section
- Nursing Section
All of these variations of Math 141 contain the exact same:
- course name, description, course ID, and number of credits
- c-layer type, names, descriptions, and corresponding IDs
- learning objectives and their arrangement in the c-layer (LO/MLO to CLO alignment)
- mappings of the learning objectives to any outcome sets (CLO to PLO alignment)
We call this common set of curriculum elements the Course Nucleus.
But there are also differences between the sections.
While some variations use Weeks and some use Modules as the Bundle type. The number of bundles differs between 8 and 15 weeks depending on the variation. The order in which the LOs are taught varies slightly from variation to variation.
The most significant differences are found in the learning and assessment activities in each variation. For example, online variations contain asynchronous discussions and F2F variations contain in-class discussions. The project-based variation uses projects as the major assessment instead of proctored exams.
Managers and admins can go to the Base Variation to edit items inside the course nucleus. Changes to the course nucleus will instantly pass to all the variations. Each variation can have different editors (designated as editor-v), but these editors are not able to edit the Course Nucleus.
Want to know more about Variations? Check out these articles:
- Glossary: Course Nucleus
- Glossary: Base Variation
- Who can do what on course (level-4 object) variations?
- How do I turn on the Variations feature?