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Straighten up your Concourse toolkit

February 8, 2010

One of my more vivid childhood memories is of my grandfather’s toolkit. He had just the tools he needed – not a lot of extras. I also remember the smell of oil he rubbed on the tools to fend off rust. Concourse (Blackboard Vista at Notre Dame) has a large set of tools, and this post will show you how to keep them tidy.

You make two choices when you use Concourse – 1) which tools you use as a course designer and 2) which tools students see. Don’t worry, though, you can easily change your decision on either choice.

All of the tinkering with tool choices happens in the “Build” tab under “Manage course.” To decide which tools you want to use, click “Tools.” Check the boxes for the tools you want to use, un-check the others, and click “Save.”

Students get access to tools on the course toolbar. To customize it, go to Build > Manage Course > Course Menu. All of the tools you selected above will be listed. If you want students  to see the tool, make sure it says “Hide Link” under “Student Visibility.” That may sound backwards, but the button text indicates an action and not a current state.

Course Tool Bar (what students see)

Why would you want to hide a tool from the students? In the case of assessments, you may only want students to see the items you add to a page as separate icons. If the tool is visible, the students can get a list of all available assessments. The same is true of assignments and discussions.

[A PDF version of these instructions is available at our Tips and Tricks page]

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