As of Ares 5.0, the one-to-one requirement between courses and instructors has been removed, creating the ability to have courses with one, multiple, or no course instructors in order to clarify the difference between course proxy users and instructors and also provide more accurate and normalized data that better reflects institutional practices. This article provides an overview of the new and changed functionality in Ares 5.0 to support multiple instructor handling.
User Handing for Multiple Instructors in the Ares Client
Ares Client Forms
- The Courses without Instructors line within the System Information panel will show the current number of courses with no instructors assigned. The Courses without Instructors will work like any other system group in Ares. Double-clicking the line item will open a new Course search for all the courses with no instructors.
- The Instructor Username field no longer appears on the default Course form's Details tab.
- The course's Displayed Instructor(s) field value will be automatically generated by concatenating all course users designated as "Instructor" in the Course Users table, assigned in and formatted as "LastName, FirstName; LastName, FirstName..."
The new Instructor Name Override field on the Course form in the Ares Client can be used to override the automatically generated value in the Displayed Instructor(s) field.
If Instructor Name Override is missing from your course form after updating to Ares 5.0, you may have to manually add this field using the Customize Layout option. See Adding and Removing Fields on Forms for more information on this process.
Course Users Tab
- The Course Users tab on the Course form has been redesigned to include a new master-detail view of all the instructors and their full proxies for each course. By default the Course User's tab now has the following sub-tabs:
- Instructors and Proxies - this displays Instructors and their Proxies together in a master-detail view.
- Enrolled Users
- Authorized Users
A user can be added to the Instructors and Proxies, Enrolled Users, or Authorized Users tab by using the Username, Name, or ID search controls on the Course Users tab to search for a user record, selecting the user record in the Search Results grid, and clicking the Add Instructor, Add Course Proxy, Add Enrolled User, or Add Authorized User button in the Course Users Ribbon.Note: The Authorized Users tab still contains a text entry field, so that users who are not in Ares yet can be added by their external ID.
Field Size Limit
- To support courses with several instructors and/or proxies, the size limit on the EmailTo, EmailFrom, EmailCC, and EmailBCC fields in the EmailCopies table has been increased to navchar(Max). Prior to implementing support for multiple instructors, these fields were limited to 500 characters.
- Three new email tags have been created to use in email templates to pre-populate email addresses in the 'To:' or 'CC:' fields of an email based on the instructor and/or proxy user privileges for the course. Multiple tags can be combined in the same field. When configuring the email templates, there is no need to separate the tags with spaces or punctuation; the tag processor will handle the separation. The email tags include:
- Course.InstructorsEmail: Creates a list of all Instructors' email addresses for a given course.
- Course.FullProxiesEmail: Creates a list of the Full Proxies for all the Instructors' email addresses for a given course.
- Course.CourseProxiesEmail: Creates a list of the Proxy Instructors (not including Full Proxies) email addresses for a given course.
- Support for User tags in Item-type email templates has been removed since it's no longer possible to link an item to a specific individual when courses may have more than one individual as an instructor. The default email templates have been updated accordingly for new installs. Current installs upgrading to v5.0 will need to update their existing Item email templates. See FAQ for details.
- When cloning a course, the course creator can select any or all of the original course's instructors and proxies to be copied over. Additional users can be added to the cloned course from the Course form, which will open once the cloned course is created.
Instructor & Full Proxy Course Roles/Privileges
- Users who are currently a proxy for a course can also be added as an instructor. Their new instructor role will supersede their previous status of proxy.
- Users who are both an instructor and a full proxy for another instructor will be considered an instructor for the course. If they are removed as an instructor, they will still remain as a full proxy (unless the instructor they are a proxy for is removed as well).
User Handing for Multiple Instructors in Course & User Loads
Courses created through the Ares Course Load process can now have zero instructors or multiple instructors.
- In previous versions:
- If there was not an instructor listed within the imported course data, a ValidationUser was assigned as the default instructor.
- If more than one instructor was listed in the imported data, the first instructor would be used as the course instructor and the rest would be designated as Course Proxies for validation purposes.
- As of Ares v5.0:
- If there is no instructor listed within the imported data, the ValidationUser will be left blank.
- If a ValidationUser is explicitly listed as the course instructor in the imported data, that user will be assigned as the default instructor.
All users listed as Instructors will be listed as instructors for the new course and assigned instructor privileges.Note: During the Course and User Loading process, Ares will no longer store a value in the Course database table's Instructor field. Instead, Ares will assign instructors to a course by monitoring the records in the CourseUsers table and using this information to automatically generate a value in the new InstructorDisplayName field in the Courses table. This automatically generated value can only be overridden by using the Instructor Name Override control on the Course form in the Ares Client, which will populate a value in the course's Instructor database field.
User Handing for Multiple Instructors in the Ares Web Pages
Setting and Displaying Course Instructors
- In previous versions:
- Instructors for a course were determined using the value in the Instructor field in the Courses database table. This field could be set in the default web pages using the <#PARAM name='CourseInstructor'> parameter.
- The <#COURSE name="Instructor"> web page tag would display instructors for a course based on the value in the course's Instructor field in the database.
- As of Ares v5.0:
- Instructors for a course are determined by default based on the value in the course's InstructorDisplayName field. The InstructorDisplayName value will be automatically generated based on the users listed as instructors in the CourseUsers table.
- The InstructorDisplayName value for a course can be overridden if a value is written to the Instructor field for a course, however, the Instructor field can no longer be set for a course from the web. This field can only be set using the Instructor Name Override field on the Course form in the Ares Client.
- When submitting course-related forms, the <#PARAM name='CourseInstructor'> parameter will be ignored so that a course's Instructor field cannot be modified from the web.
- The <#COURSE name="Instructor"> web page tag will now display the instructors for a course based on the value in the course's InstructorDisplayName field. However, if the Instructor Display Name value is overridden by a value in the Instructor Name Override field on the Course form in the Ares Client, the tag will display the override value.
These changes provide backward compatibility for existing pages by maintaining the current functionality for display purposes while ignoring any older pages' attempts to set the course's Instructor field. The default Ares web pages have been updated to remove the <#PARAM name='CourseInstructor'> input from all course-related pages, however, these pages will still include the instructor drop-down for proxies to select the instructor for which to create a course.
Course Search Web Page
- For existing installs:
- The instructor drop-down will now display all users who are listed as an instructor in the CourseUsers table.
- For new installs:
- The instructor drop-down has been replaced with a text field that searches for instructors by their first and/or last name. The search function can handle commas (eg. Last, First) and spaces (eg. First Last). If more than one term is provided, all terms must match a part of an instructor's first or last name. For example, when searching with the key terms 'John Smith', the results would not return courses under 'Bob Smith'; however, a search for 'Smith' would return both results.