1.6.1 Courses, Course Templates and Programs - Overview

Modified on Thu, 29 Dec, 2022 at 3:59 PM

1.6.1 Courses, Course Templates and Programs - Overview Checklist:

  1. What is the difference between Programs and Courses in ampEducator?
  2. What are Program Components?
  3. What about Program Start and End Dates?
  4. What is an Academic Session?
  5. What are Course Templates? Why do I need them?
  6. How do Start Courses?
  7. How do I edit Course options?

1. What is the difference between Programs and Courses in ampEducator?

ampEducator is primarily intended to be used for post secondary higher education as a student information system and at the core structure of the application is Courses. Courses are where Instructors and other Staff members (Registrar, Student Advisor, Admins) will add grades, take attendance, review assignments, manage learning, make announcements and much more. Before you add any Courses it is important to understand the differences and the relationship structure between Courses, Course Templates and Programs.

Programs in North American higher education typically lead to a Credential (Certificate, Degree, etc.) and are named based on education the Student is seeking such as “Diploma in Business Management”.  ampEducator is designed to help you manage your 'Programs' and help track and audit Students in there respective learning paths. Programs are optional and Clients can use only Courses if preferred. However, even when there is no specific Program, enrolled Students into a Program has many beneficial functions in ampEducator.

For example, Students might be offered to take any number of Courses that are non-vocational in nature or not leading to any specific credential. ampEducator recommends creating a "Non-Vocational" Program and enrolling the Students into it to be able to track and sort Students taking "Non-vocational Program" Courses. All of the Non-Vocational Courses can also be related to the Non-Vocational Program components and this allows you to use Program filters to only display those Courses in areas of the application.

2. What are Program Components?

In order for ampEducator to understand the relationship between Programs and Courses, you have to add Course Codes to the Program Components. This tells ampEducator what Course Codes the Student needs to Complete in order to be eligible to be awarded the Credential for the Program.

Program Components Example:

In Program 100 there are fixed courses. If they are all the same weight then only 1 credit is required to track each one. Whether you use credits or not, you should allocate 1 credit at minimum to allow ampEducator to count the course in audits:

Progam Name 100

Component Name = "Mandatory Courses" 3 required credits - 3 available credits:

1 credit - Course 101

1 credit - Course 102

1 credit - Course 103

If there are electives, such as Program 200 below you can create those separately in a different component, and allocate the correct number of required credits overall to the Program. The student only needs to choose 1 course in Electives to meet the overall required 4 credits to be eligible:

Progam Name 200

Component Name 1 = "Mandatory Courses" 3 required credits - 3 available credits:

1 credit - Course 101

1 credit - Course 102

1 credit - Course 103

Component Name 2 = "Elective Courses" 1 required credit - 3 available credits:

1 credit - Course 104

1 credit - Course 105

1 credit - Course 106

Note: To view the Courses in the Component click the + (plus) icon to the left of the Component Name. To add a Course click the + (plus) sign to the right of the Component Name. Edit the Component Name by using the pencil icon to the right.

If the Student has all the required Courses and Credits ampEducator will identity them as 'Eligible' to be Awarded the associated Credential for the Program, in this case 'Diploma' below:

3. What about Program and Course Start and End Dates?

In ampEducator there are no start and end dates assigned directly to the Programs, those dates still exist and are tracked but they are associated with the Students when you enroll them into the Program. You can pre-define a list of Intake dates for Programs to be selected when enrolling Students (this is done under the Academic Session > Program Intakes). The Program(s) are always available and have versioning and many other useful functions until they are no longer offered and then made InActive. Programs that are no longer active remain in the system for historical record keeping but are no longer displayed by default to Staff unless their status is made Active again by an Admin user.

Each Course also has Start and End Dates assigned. Typically, Student will start and end as a group and learn synchronously, but if you offer this Course as 'Open Ended' and the Students will be learning asynchronously in the same Course you can set the Course to be 'Open Ended' and the Course will use the Academic Session Start and End dates rather than specific ones that you select within the Academic Session.

4. What is an Academic Session?

Before a Student can be enrolled into Programs or Courses they must first be registered in an Academic Session. Academic Sessions can be added under Institution Config > Academic Sessions. Academic Sessions are typically added by Calendar Year, Operating Year or the Terms/Semesters (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall) that your institution starts Programs and/or Courses in. 

An Academic Session requires a Name (ie. 2022/2023), Start and End Date, Registration Start and End Date (which can either be the same as the Start and End Date or be different according to when you wish to allow students to be enrolled within the Academic Session), Attendance Threshold Settings (if required by Session - This is the minimum attendance rate a student must maintain in this session for good standing), Fees (ie. you may want to automatically charge a Registration Fee - this can also be done in other areas such as Program Fee if you prefer), Program Intakes (these allow you to optionally pre-define start and end dates within the Session for Programs that staff can select when they enroll students) and Holidays (these are dates within the Session that ampEducator will exclude from Attendance scheduling).

When creating Academic Sessions there are 2 main things to consider:

i. Some Programs and Courses may overlap Calendar years and so it is important to consider how you use these and the labels (names) you give them and the start and end dates you assign ie. 2021/2022 may be a better name because a course may overlap into the next calendar year. 

ii. ampEducator has a Transcript generator and orders the Courses by dates used in the Academic Session.

If you are unsure about the best way to use Academic Sessions, start with the Calendar year Jan 1  to Dec 31 because you can always go back and edit the Academic Sessions at a later date.

5. What are Course Templates? Why do I need them?

In ampEducator, Course Templates are basically the Course Catalog. They are optional, but have useful functions to save time if you are not importing Courses on a regular basis and instead using the software User Interface to start Courses. The Course Templates have no dates assigned, and you don't enroll Students into them. They exist to help speed up starting new Courses so that you don't need to define all the aspects of the Course (any available pre-determined Course details such Grading, Capacity, Timetable, Instructors, Documents, etc.) each time you want to start a new one. You can select from the Course Templates, add start and end dates and start the Courses. You can also do this for multiple Courses under Courses > More Actions > Start Multiple Courses. You can select from Quick or Custom Start Type and pick the Course Templates you wish to use to Start Courses with. The Start and End date you select will be used and applied to each Course Template you select along with the other criteria you pick:

Course Templates can be imported from CSV file to speed up the set up and are optional. If you prefer to import Courses directly from a CSV file to schedule them rather than using Course Templates or the ampEducator User Interface, this is also an available option - contact support@ampeducator.com for more information.

6. How do I Start Courses?

You can skip using Course Templates and create a Course on demand in ampEducator by going to Courses > Start New Course or use Course Templates as an option. You can add some basic Course details such a Grades in the quick entry screen, but many more options for Course become available once you start then (either on-demand or from the predefined Course Templates:

7. How do I edit Courses Options?

Once you have added Courses, you can click on any Course name to open it and there are many options that can be configured in additional to the pre-definable settings in Course Templates that you may or may not have set.

These are found in the Details, Students, Gradebook, Attendance, Communications, LMS and if enabled the Content Tabs within the Course. Each Tab has menu sections that you click on to the right or can scroll through. Each section has instructions at the top such as Attendance Threshold shown below. If you are unsure about a Course function you can click the ? at the top right to start a support ticket or request additional training.

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