1.22 Courses, Course Templates and Programs - Overview Checklist:

  1. What is the difference between Programs and Courses in ampEducator?
  2. What about Program Start and End Dates?
  3. What is an Academic Session?
  4. How do I manage Program Mandatory Courses and/or Electives?
  5. What are Course Templates? Why do I need them?

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 enrolled 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 Program components and this allows you to use Program filters to only display those Courses in areas of the application.


2. 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 obviously 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 enrolled Students as well. 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 Programs that are no longer active remain in the system for historical record keeping but are no longer displayed by default to Staff unless their status is made Active again by an Admin user.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.


3. What is an Academic Session?


Before a Student can be enrolled into Programs or Courses they should 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 that your institution starts Programs and/or Courses in. 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 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. If you are not using credits or elective courses, you should set each Course to 1 credit to allow ampEducator to count the mandatory Courses the Student needs to take. You can always override these settings and award a credential based on special circumstances for Students as well. Transfer Credits and Advanced Standing options are also available for Students with Prior Learning from other Institutions.


In the Program layout example below, there are 6 Required Credits (or just think of them as Courses if you don't use Credits) 2 Components; (1) Core (Mandatory) Courses which has 4 Credits Required and (2) Elective Component which has 2 Credits required, of these Electives as long as the Student enrols and completes 2 or more of the 4 listed Courses in this component (to meet the 2 credits required) ampEducator will identity them as 'Eligible' to be Awarded the associated Credential for the Program, in this case 'Diploma'.


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. 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 or review the Import Guide.