How to create your first course

Quarterfall makes it easy to create exercises and assignments for your students. Assignment in Quarterfall are grouped in courses. In this tutorial we show you how to make your first course containing some basic assignments. We assume you have registered with Quarterfall, signed it, and are now looking at the website https://app.quarterfall.com. If not, go to that site and use your email and password to sign in.

Getting started

You should now see a screen that looks as follows:

Note that this image, and all others in the tutorial, show the interface in light mode. In your personal settings you can also select dark mode, which gives a rather different view.

In the top left you see a number of icons. These give you quick access to particular courses, the library, and your notification. You can also click on your avatar icon at the far top right. The following menu is shown:

Here you can access the following:

  • My courses. This brings you to the page you are currently on, that shows you all your courses.
  • Library. In the near future we will provide a library of courses you can freely copy, change, and use for your students.
  • Personal settings. Here you can change personal settings, like your avatar and name, email, and password. You can also change the language and color of the interface and view your notifications.
  • Organization settings. If you are the organization administrator, you can change some branding and you can manage users that can use the platform.
  • Help. Here you can access our extensive knowledge base with help articles and tutorials.
  • Logout. Here you can obviously logout.

As you can see, we added a demo course for you. You can click on it and take a look to get a feel for what is possible in Quarterfall.

Note that at the right bottom there is a button to get help. This button is always visible in Quarterfall. Press it to get relevant help for the things you are currently trying to do.

Click on any of the help topics to get more information. You can also use the field at the bottom to search for help topics. And if you need more support, click on the Ask button at the top and send us a mail with your question or comment. 

Adding the course

To add a new course, press the button Create Course. A popup will appear that looks as follows:

Here you should provide the following information:

  • The title of the course. This is used to indicate the course at various places. 
  • An optional course code. Many educational programs have course codes, like "programming 101". You can indicate this here. But it is optional and only meant to help you identify courses.
  • A description. This description is shown to the students. So provide a brief description that indicates what the course is about.
  • Whether the course will be visible to all staff users. You can ignore this for now.

Don't worry if you don't know this exactly at this stage. You can always change the information later. When you filled in the fields (or at least the title) you can press the Continue button to create the course. If you press Cancel no course is created. Let us call the course "My first course" and give it a brief description. After pressing the Continue button the screen now shows a card for the course:

Note that the course card has a drop-down menu at the top-right. It is useful to take a brief time to inspect it, so better click on it.  Here you have the following options:

  • View. Choose this to view the course page. We will do that in just a moment. Clicking on the course card will have the same effect.
  • Duplicate. Create a duplicate copy of the course. This is in particular useful if you want to use the same course again in a later period. Only the content of the course is copied, not the student information.
  • Archive course. When you archive a course, students can no longer make the assignments in it. This is permanent. You cannot undo this. However, as you might have noticed there is a switch at the top whether to show archived course. Toggle this on or off to show or hide the archived courses.

You might have wondered why there is no button to Delete a course. The reason is that when you delete a course, also all progress information of the students following the course is deleted. Normally this is not something you want to do. If you really want to delete a course, like for example the demo course, you must first archive it. If you now use the drop-down menu, it will contain the command to delete the course. Note also that you can no longer change a closed course. You can only view it. You can though still duplicate it and then, of course, edit the created copy. This is what you would typically do when you give the course a second time to a different group of students.

The course page

Click on the course card to go to the course page. (Alternatively, select View from the drop-down menu.) You will now see the following screen. (The image in the top-left might be different. You can change this in the course settings.)

In the side panel at the left you can access the four sections:

  • Content. Here you can change the content of the course, as we will do below.
  • Assessment. Here you can assess work done by your students. We will discuss this further in the tutorial on enrolling students.
  • Users. Here you can specify which people are involved in the course, This can be other teachers, teaching assistants, and of course students.
  • Settings. Here you can change various settings in your course. Click on it and you will see the following setting page:

Here you can change the title, code, and description for the course. You can also set a starts and end date for the course. Students can only make assignments between those dates. And there are some further settings you can ignore at the moment. If you scroll down you can change the image used for the course, or even upload your own.

Adding a module

Before we can add assignments to the course we must first create a module. Assignments in a course are grouped in modules. A module can correspond to a topic, a learning goal, a chapter in the textbook, et cetera. This is completely up to you. 

Go back to the content section, by clicking the Content link in the left panel. You will get a rather empty screen:

Now let us add a module. As you can probably guess, to this end press the button Add module. You are asked for a title for the module and a description. These are both shown to the students that follow the course. Press Continue to add the module.

As you see the module is added. If you create multiple modules they will be shown next to each other. Assignments are shown inside the module columns. So you will always have a complete overview of the content of your course.

Before we add our first assignment, let us take a look at the drop-down menu in the top-right of the module. It looks as follows:

Here you have the following options:

  • Settings. Here you can change the settings for the module. This includes the title, the description, and an optional start and end date of the module. The students can only work on the assignments in the module between these dates.
  • Visible. Default, modules are immediately visible to the students. By clicking this item you can change that and make the module (temporarily) invisible. This is useful while you are still adding content to the course or when you will limit the work student have/can do, without changing the course.
  • Submissions. This will bring you to the assessment page, showing the submissions of students of assignments in this module.
  • Insert module. Insert a new module before the current one.
  • Duplicate. Create a duplicate copy of the module, including all the assignments.
  • Copy to.... With this command you can create a copy of the module in a different course. 
  • Merge into previous. When there is a previous module you can merge the two. All assignments of the current module are added to the previous one and the current module is removed.
  • Delete. Finally, you can delete a module.

You might miss commands to change the order of the modules. This is not necessary because you can use drag-and-drop to move modules around. In the same way you can move assignments around, both inside and between modules.

 Creating the first assignment

It is now time to create the first assignment in the course. We will add it to the module we just created. Press the button Add assignment at the bottom of the module. The following form will show:

Here you must indicate the title of the assignment. You can also indicate whether the assignment is mandatory for the students (default), or optional. Students do not have to make optional assignments. Finally you can indicate a difficulty, in the form of a star rating. This is simply shown to the students, such that they understand what to expect. Press Continue to add the assignment.

You will again be shown a rather empty screen where you can add content to the assignment. But for the moment let us go back to the module overview. To this end press Content in the panel at the left (or in the breadcrumbs at the top). As you will see, the assignment is added to the module. Note that you can see the difficulty rating you provided. The icon at the left indicates that this is study material. Assignments without exercises (see below) are considered study material. Also notice that each assignment has its own drop-down menu. Let us have a look at it.

Here you have the following options:

  • Edit. Edit the assignment. This brings you back to the edit screen we just came from. You can also go here by clicking on the assignment.
  • Files. You can attach files to assignments, like images that are shown in the assignment, or files for students to download. For more information, see the tutorial on including stuff in assignments.
  • Settings. Change the settings of the assignment, that is, the title, whether it is optional, and the difficulty.
  • Visible. Default, assignments are immediately visible to the students. By clicking this item you can change that and make the assignment (temporarily) invisible.
  • Submissions. Once you have students making assignments, you can inspect here all submissions of students for this particular assignment.
  • Insert assignment. Insert a new assignment above the current one.
  • Duplicate. Create a duplicate copy of the assignment.
  • Copy to.... With this command you can create a copy of the assignment in a different module and/or in a different course. 
  • Merge into previous. When there is a previous assignment you can merge the two. All content blocks (exercises, etc.) of the current assignment are added to the previous one and the current assignment is removed.
  • Delete. Finally, you can delete an assignment.

Now click on the assignment to go back to the edit screen. Alternatively you can select Edit from the drop-down menu. You will see the following screen:

Note that there is a drop-down menu at the top-right. This contains largely the same items as in the menu we saw above. There is though one important additional one: Show preview. When switched on (default) you will always see  at the right a preview of the assignment in the way the students will see it. This is very useful to avoid errors. You can even make the assignment in the preview and get feedback.

An assignment consists of a number of parts or blocks. A student makes them one by one. A block is ether some Study material that that the student should study, like a text or a video. Or it is a question. The assignment also has an introduction that is shown the whole time. You can use this for example to provide information that is important for all questions in the assignment.

To add a block click on Add block. A menu will appear with the different types of blocks available.

The following types of content exist:

  • Code question. This is a question in which the students must provide a piece of code in a particular programming language.
  • Open question. This is a question where the students can type in any answer they like.
  • Multiple choice question. This is a question where students must pick one of the given options.
  • Study material. A block of text that the student should study. This can also contain videos, presentations, documents, and so on.

We are going to create an assignment with an introduction and a multiple choice question. Our question will be about composers. So write a brief introduction about this in the introduction field: 

At the right you see a preview of the assignment. If you don't see the preview make sure the switch Show preview in the menu at the top right is switched on, and that the window is wide enough to show both the block and the preview. Everything you change in the assignment on the left is immediately shown in the preview at the right. And once you add questions you can actually test them out at the right, as we shall see below.

Next press Add block and add a multiple choice question. The main part of the screen should now look as follows:

In the multiple choice question we can first fill in the text. Here, type the following:

Who is the composer on the following picture?

```image
url: http://muziekgeschiedenis.hugoverweij.nl/images/mozartcols3.jpg
```

You might wonder what the bottom part of the text is. What you type as text is actually seen as something called Markdown (see https://www.markdownguide.org/). This is a very easy way to create formatted text. Markdown allows you to make text italic or bold, to create heading, lists, tables, etc. And in Quarterfall we extended this further to include all sorts of content, like images, videos, presentations, diagrams, and charts. The second part adds an image to the text. The url indicates where the image is stored on the web. It is also possible to upload the image and refer directly to it. For more information, follow the tutorial on the text editor.

Now we can add the choices. Use the Add choice button four times to add four choices and fill in some composer names, including, of course, Mozart.

Using the radio buttons at the left of the choices you can indicate what the correct solution is. This will be shown when the student presses Show solution after providing an answer. Now try whether it works the way you intended, using the preview at the right.

Well done

If you followed the steps above you have now created your first course with the first assignment. You can now return to the home screen by choosing My courses from the avatar menu at the top-right in the header. In the next tutorial we will show you how to enroll students in your course, such that they can make your assignments.

Quarterfall offers a lot more options to create all sort of assignments. This is the topic of further tutorials.

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