Creating and maintaining a repository of materials in the Content Collection can make the latest educational materials and research available across your department or the entire institution.

You can access, incorporate, and share course elements and content using reusable objects. Reusable objects are course elements, such as assignment instructions or discussion topics, that you create and store so that they're available for your use across multiple courses. You can also opt to share your reusable objects with other users.

Your institution controls if this tool and select features are available.

Learning objects catalog

In the learning objects catalog, you can view the entire collection of reusable objects that you created and those shared with you by other users at your institution.

  1. Go to the Content Collection.
  2. In the left navigation pane, select the arrow to expand the Jump To... menu.
  3. Select the arrow to expand the Learning Objects section.
  4. Select View Catalog.
  5. In the Browse Reusable Objects section, you can view the categories of reusable objects. Expand a category to see a list of reusable objects. You won't be able to view External Links. In the Content Collection, External Links appear only in the folder you created them in.

    You can't add reusable objects to your course from this area.

Reusable objects in action

When you build content in your course, use the Discover Content function to add reusable objects to areas of your course where they're available. You can add reusable objects to the discussion board, the Grade Center, and content areas.

Reusable objects enable you to efficiently reuse content in multiple courses or share it with others. You may want to use reusable objects for these examples:

  • Slide decks that colleagues need for monthly department presentations
  • Policies that apply to all courses in your department. Edits made to the policies file in the Content Collection will be reflected in all courses where you and others have linked to it.
  • Drill-and-practice exercises
  • Demonstrations and models
  • Overviews and summaries
  • Instructions and guidelines for a term papers and presentations
  • Multimedia and web resources

More on how to create reusable objects

Reusable object categories

In the Content Collection, when you create reusable objects, you choose a category. You can use the editor functions to create all of them except External Link.

More on discovering reusable objects content

The categories are provided to help you and others organize the content. Categories make it easier to find what you need at a later time. The categories also determine how the content appears in your course. For example, External Links appear as links, but Course Content and HTML reusable objects appear as if you added a content item in a content area.

In the learning objects catalog, you can view five reusable object categories. External Links aren't available to view. In the Content Collection, External Links appear only in the folder you created them in.

This table describes the reusable objects categories.

Editing the file URL may remove access to the files. We recommend you don't edit the file URL.

Categories and Descriptions of Reusable Objects
Category Description and Uses
Assignment When you create an assignment, you can link to an assignment reusable object you created in the Content Collection.

If you use the Insert File option in the editor, the assignment information appears in the content area. You can't edit the assignment reusable object information from the content area, but you can add to the information that appears as the description.

If you use the Browse Content Collection function below the editor, students must select a link to access the information. For both attachment workflows, be sure to choose the option to Give users access to this file only, and name the link title as needed.

For example, create basic guidelines you want students to follow for all assignments they submit. Then, link to this information when you create each assignment.

Course Content You can create content in the Content Collection and add to your course like a content item. For example, create a course overview with a link to a slide presentation, a list of topics, and an image. When you add it to your course, all the elements appear in the content area, and you can add a title.

You can edit the elements of a course content reusable object in the content area. This allows you to use the same basic content in a syllabus you want to use in several courses. You can simply change the list of topics or pertinent due dates.

Discussion Topic When you create forums, select Discover Content to link to discussion topic reusable objects you created in the Content Collection. After you select one, the Create Forum page appears with the reusable information in the editor. While in the discussion board tool, you can edit the content and settings.

For example, create a discussion topic reusable object that introduces the speaker, details discussion etiquette, asks students to generate a list of questions, and explains what you want them to do as a followup. You can reuse this information with minor edits whenever you invite a guest to speak.

Though the Discover Content option appears when creating a thread, this function is for forums only. If you add a discussion topic reusable object while you create a thread, it will appear at the bottom of the list on the forum listing page.

External Link You can create a link to web content outside your course by adding a URL to the Content Collection. For example, you want students to check the same website once a week and comment on the latest stories in a course blog or in the discussion board. You can save the URL once and link to it weekly in a new entry or forum.

In your course, the External Link option doesn't appear in the Discover Content list when browsing for reusable objects to add. When you create content, if available, select Browse Content Collection to add it as a file attachment. Or, use the Insert File option in the editor and browse the Content Collection for the link. When students select the link in your course, the content will open in a new window or tab. If you create the File content type, you must select the open in a new window option.

In the Content Collection, you'll also see a Link function. The workflow is the same.

Grade Center When you create Grade Center columns, select Discover Content to access the list of Grade Center reusable objects you created in the Content Collection. After you select one, the Create Grade Column page appears with the reusable information in the editor. You can edit this information while in the Grade Center.

The information in the description appears to students in My Grades.

For example, you can include information about your grading scale for participation. The information is readily available to add when you create the column and award those points once a week.

HTML Object HTML objects are stored in the Content Collection as HTML files. When you add an HTML object to your course, the actual content appears. The HTML object doesn't appear as a file link that users must select to view the content. You can create information that you want to use in multiple areas in your course or in multiple courses.

For example, create an HTML object and add the due dates for all graded work. Link to this information in several of your content areas, such as Getting Started, Assignments, and Assessments so that students can access relevant dates alongside content.

If you're allowed to edit a reusable object while in your course, the content only changes for that instance. The original reusable object doesn't change in the Content Collection. You can customize information for different courses, but retain your original file.

Discover reusable content in your course

You may need to adjust a setting in your course to discover reusable objects that you and other users have created in the Content Collection. Other users have to set the appropriate permissions on their reusable objects to allow you to discover them.

  1. On the Control Panel, expand the Customization section and select Properties.
  2. On the Properties page, in the Course Files section, select the option for Display all Content Collection options.
  3. Select Submit. The Discover Content function appears in content areas, the discussion board, and the Grade Center.

Add shared content

You can add a reusable object to a content area with the Discover Content function.

  1. Go to a content area and change Edit Mode to ON.
  2. Select Discover Content to access the Discover Reusable Objects list.
  3. Select a reusable object type:
    • Assignment
    • Course Content
    • Discussion Topic
    • Grade Center
    • HTML Object

      To add an External Link reusable object you created in the Content Collection, you must create a content item. Then, browse the Content Collection for the external link reusable object and link it to the content item. Also, when you build content in a content area, you can't use the web link content type to access the external link reusable objects.

  4. Select Go.
  5. In the Learning Objects window, the reusable objects for that type appear. Select the item to add.
  6. Select Submit. The Create Item page appears.
  7. Provide a name for the reusable object.
  8. Provide the appropriate information in the remaining fields.
  9. Select Submit.