Is the course about to go through a major revision? Use the Archive feature.
Do you need to make multiples of the course to accommodate new modalities? Use the Variations feature.
Is the course being used in a body of evidence for accreditation or reviews? Use the Archive feature.
Do you need to represent a course that is taught with different sessions or instructors? Use the Variations feature.
Archived Courses (level-4 objects):
Typically organizations create a course archive before it goes through a major revision. For example, a major revision might be to rewrite all course learning objectives or remove a major competency. These archives, over time, will create a longitudinal history of how the course has evolved. It's important to have this historical information as you discuss what you are seeing in your assessment data over time. You may find that significant course revisions did not have the expected outcomes and this makes it easier to revert back to how it was before. If the changes are successful in improving student outcomes, the archive history provides evidence of that to include in your discussions and reports.
If the course is not going to be edited, the archive feature is the best option to document the state of it. The differences between approved archives typically occur in the course description and the C-layer. If the course gets a new number, it is generally a new course, not an archive.
Unlike archiving, course variations are for dynamically connected courses that are based on the same set of outcomes or course goals. Course variations are used when the goals of a course need to be reused for making new modalities, sessions, or for multiple instructors. The Variations feature ensures a consistent curriculum architecture, while allowing for the natural variation caused by modality, instructor, learning resources, assessments, and time frame. These variations are living documents of the original base course.
For example, the course “College Algebra, Math 141” might have eight 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 and description, the same CLOs, the same learning objectives, the same mappings to the institution’s goals, and the same mappings to the program goals of several different degrees. But there are also differences. 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 that the LOs is taught varies slightly from variation to variation. And the most significant difference is 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.
We are calling this part of the course that does not change from variation to variation the course nucleus because it contains the information that should be inherited by every variation. The course nucleus contains:
- Course name, description, ID, and number of credits
- C-layer type, names, descriptions and IDs
- Learning objectives and arrangement in the C-layer
- Mappings of the learning objectives to any outcome sets
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.
Want to find out more about variations? Check out these articles:
- How do I turn on the variations feature?
- How do I create a course variation?
- How do I delete a course variation?
- Who can do what on course (level-4 object) variations?
- How do I switch between variations?
Need more information on archived courses? Check out these articles: