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How do I structure my course with units/lessons/folders/topics?

Within a course you can create 4 "layers" to present your course content. However, we recommended using no more than 3 levels for the best user experience.  In this article we will cover the basics of these layers and when to use them. 

What are units/lessons/folder/topics?

Units, lessons and folders are all type of containers that can hold topics or other containers. It allows you to create a hierarchy for your information by using different type of containers.

Topics are in the Brightspace language the content items within these containers, e.g. a PDF file, a link to your syllabus or even a link to an assignment. Therefore, we can say that the topics contain the information we need!

How do I use units/lessons/folder/topics?

  1. Click on + New Unit to create a new unit
  2. While selecting a unit you can:
    • Click on Create New to create a New Lesson;
    • Create New topics or Add Existing activities;
    • Attach a Release Condition that works through on the underlying lessons/folders/topics;
    • Reorder / Delete the Unit by clicking on the three dots.
  3. While selecting a Lesson you can:
    • Click on Create New to create a New Folder;
    • Create New topics or Add Existing activities;
    • Attach a Release Condition that works through on the underlying folders/topics;
    • Reorder / Delete the Lesson by clicking on the three dots.
  4. While selecting a Folder you can:
    • Create New topics or Add Existing activities;
    • Attach a Release Condition that works through on the underlying topics;
    • Reorder / Delete the Lesson by clicking on the three dots.
    • Please note that we recommend not to use folders (!)

How should I use the units/lessons/folders in my course structure?

Although it is mainly dependent on your personal preference or your faculty guidelines, there are some key points to think about while structuring your course. We will discuss these key points with one general example. 

General example: Exam information

As shown in the example below there are overall 3 ways to structure your content:

  1. Topics are directly placed in a unit, without using lessons and folders
  2. The unit consists of two lessons, with their own topics. 
  3. Within the unit there are lessons and within these lessons there are folders which contain the topics. 

We recommended using no more than 3 levels for best user experience.  

Why should I use 2 Levels: Units + Topics?

  • The information you and your students need, is just 2 clicks away.
  • You can put release conditions or set the availability on the whole unit or per topic.

Why should I use 3 Levels: Units + Lessons + Topics?

  • Putting topics into Lessons can be a great feature for grouping information together.
    • E.g. per exam type or per student group
  • Moreover, you are able to put release conditions on just one lesson and its underlying content, whilst leaving the other content in the unit on visible.
    • E.g. in the image above the content in Lesson Partial Exam 1 is set to visible, whereas the information of Lesson Partial Exam 2 is still set to invisible.

Why should I use 4 Levels: Units + Lessons + Folders + Topics?

  • Although it might seem practical and a great way to further structure content, please keep in mind that you and your students would need to click 4 times to eventually get to the relevant information.
  • Therefore, we strongly recommend not to use folders. Consider restructuring your content or use another Lesson instead, e.g.: 
    • In the image above you could consider placing the topics question 1 and question 2 directly under the Lesson Partial Exam 2,
    • or you can make a new Lesson called Answers Partial Exam 2 with the topics question 1 and question 2 and set the Lesson to invisible until you want to release all the answers.