Your course environment

Courses vary in design based on the instructor and the institution, but some common elements exist. Your institution and instructor control which tools are available.

  1. Course-to-Course Navigation icon: Access the other courses you're enrolled in from the menu.
  2. Breadcrumbs: Access previous pages you visited recently.
  3. Course menu: The access point for all course content. Instructors control which links appear.
  4. Content frame: The larger area of the screen next to the course menu that displays the selected content area, tool, module page, or material. Instructors choose the page that appears here when you enter a course.
  5. Action bar: The rows at the top of the content frame that contain page-level actions, such as Subscribe or Search in discussions. The functions on the action bar change based on where you are in your course.
  6. Menus: An Options Menu icon appears for components with menus, such as a thread in discussions. The options in the menu vary based on the component.

Select the question mark icon in the upper-right corner of the page for information about the tool you currently have open.

Course menu

The course menu is the panel on the left side of the interface that contains links to all top-level course areas. Instructors can also provide links to the tools page, individual tools, websites, course items, and module pages. Instructors control the content and tools available on the course menu.

Instructors can customize the style of the course menu. They can change the color, add subheaders and dividers, and choose buttons or text for the links. These customizations create variations in the look and organization of your courses.

  1. For the course menu design, instructors can use text only or labeled buttons for the links.
  2. Open the course menu in a separate window. The detached menu always displays course materials as a directory tree. You can expand the view to show the hierarchy of course navigation and move the window wherever you want.
  3. Refresh your view.
  4. Expand or collapse the course menu frame. Move your mouse pointer near the border and select the arrow. When you collapse the course menu, you have more room to view content.

Course-to-course navigation

From one of your courses, you can conveniently access all of the other courses you're enrolled in.

Select the Course-to-Course Navigation icon to access the menu and select another course title. If the same page you're currently viewing in the course exists in the next course, that is where you'll land. The most recently visited course is listed first.

For example, if you're viewing the announcements page in one course and select another course in the menu, you're taken to that course's announcements page.

Course Home Page

By default, your course includes a Home Page on the course menu.

The Home Page is a course module page. Information is presented in boxes called modules, such as My Announcements, My Tasks, and What's New. The system generates the information in each module. Your instructor can rename or delete this page, and create other course module pages. Your instructor also chooses which modules appear.

Course module pages contain details about new content and due dates for the course you're in.

  1. Select the Manage Settings icon to change how the content appears. For example, you can select how many days of announcements appear in a module. Not all modules have settings you can change.
  2. Select the link in a module to view more.
  3. Select the Open in a New Window icon to move the module to a different location on your screen. You can use the information as a reference while you navigate in your course. If the icon doesn't appear, the option isn't available for that module.
  4. Some modules contain an Actions menu with options to expand, collapse, or dismiss the notifications in that module. From some modules, you can edit your notifications settings.

What's New and To Do modules

The What's New module reports on additions and changes to course content. The module displays the number of new items for each content type and provides links to them in your courses. The module shows items within the last seven days.

These content types are reported in the module:

  • Tests and surveys
  • Assignments
  • Blogs
  • Content
  • Discussion posts
  • Course messages

The What's New module reports information that is made available to the entire course. Content that becomes available to you after certain criteria are met isn't reported in this module.

The What's New module reports changes once a day. You can see what has changed the first time you log in for the day. Changes made after you log in don't appear in the module until the next day unless you select Refresh in the Actions menu.

The updates you see for a course only display if the content is made available, and you're a participant in the course.

To Do module

The To Do module provides a chronological listing of upcoming due dates. This module is divided into What's Past Due and What's Due. Use this information as the launching point for your daily coursework.

The What's Past Due area displays any test, assignment, or survey that has passed its due date with no submission. The What's Due area displays information about any test, assignment, or survey that contains a due date.

The To Do module isn't the same as the tasks tool.

You might see the Alerts and Needs Attention modules. These modules are for instructor use only and contain no information for students.