Should I merge all of my sections into a single course?

Course sections have become more capable over the last few years, but we still create a separate course for each section that is taught at St. Mark’s for several reasons. First, to provide faculty with the choice (it’s much easier to merge sections than to split sections if they were created together). Second, even with its current implementation, Canvas sections still don’t meet the needs of every teacher well enough.

Sections as Courses in Canvas

If you leave your sections in separate courses, you will need to:

  • Duplicate assignments (either manually, via Course Import, or using Canvas Commons).
  • Duplicate announcements made to the whole course.
  • Duplicate resources (or link to a single shared source, e.g. Google Drive).

And you will not be able to:

  • Set up inter-section groups.
  • Create inter-section discussions or collaborations.

Sections as Sections in Canvas

If you merge your sections into a single course, you will be able to:

  • Assign per-section (or per-group or per-student) due dates for assignments (rather than duplicating assignments).
  • Create inter-section groups.
  • Create inter-section discussions or collaborations.
  • Share resources between sections.

You will not be able to:

  • Limit discussions to a single section.
  • Make announcements to only one section. (Although you can send an inbox message to a section.)

When to make the decision?

The decision to merge your sections is ideally made before you have graded any student work: even if assignments are identical between two sections, you will need to manually copy grades over from one gradebook to the other after the merge. The merge process essentially attaches one section to another section’s course, so that newly-attached section will become connected to all the resources, assignments, etc. in the “host” course (if you want to think of it like a parasite or symbiosis).

Can I change my mind?

Yes. But, again, the more graded work you have to deal with, the more of a hassle it will be — the grades, again, will not transfer between courses. So you will need to manually copy grades (and potentially import assignments) from the previous “host” course into the newly spawned, separated section.

Will I lose any data or grades?

No. But it might become inconvenient to access (e.g. the grades examples above). The grades will always continue to exist in whichever class they were originally entered, so re-enrolling students or re-merging sections will reveal them if they are needed. But it ain’t pretty.

How can I merge my sections?

Contact Academic Technology. Be sure to specify which courses you would like merged (ideally by sending the URLs of the course home pages) and which course should become the “main” course, into which the other sections will be merged.

Mr. Battis has written 102 articles

Educator. Electronics. Esthetics. Easterner (who thinks he's a Westerner).

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