Special Brightspace Merging Process for Hybrid Groups and Dual Delivery

For Fall 2020, there is a special merge process for Hybrid and Dual-Delivery courses. This special process applies to:

  • Hybrid—groups (Class is divided into groups (i.e., MWF class is divided into ABC groups). Faculty deliver instruction in person to alternating groups of students and the rest of instruction online or online live.)
  • Dual delivery (Faculty simultaneously deliver instruction in person and online live via WebEx or Teams.)

For these delivery modes, the courses may appear to be “split” in Brightspace.  There is a manual process to combine or merge these sections. We are modifying our process for Hybrid-groups and Dual delivery courses. We will automatically merge these split sections. We will post a message in Brightspace when we start this process (tentatively August 10, 2020). We will post a follow up message when it is completed (no later than August 14, 2020). In the interim, you CAN begin (or continue) developing your courses today. During the merge for these unique cases, we will NOT delete any course offerings until September 7, 2020. This will give all faculty time to ensure you have copied all of your content into the correct merged section.

You should only develop content in ONE of your split sections. After the courses are merged, you will need to manually copy this content into your new merged course offering. It does not matter which course offering you work in, since you will need to manually copy your content into your new merged course offering. These are the steps to copy a course. (link to Keep Teaching Community site in Brightspace)

For any other scenario, including cases where you wanted additional (different) sections merged into these (e.g. want multiple sections of the same course or undergrad/grad courses, labs, etc…), you will still need to send a request to helpdesk@uakron.edu

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I need Assistance?

After hours, contact D2L at 1-877-325-7778 for 24/7/365 technical support, click here to CHAT with Brightspace support, or email DDS: ddshelp@uakron.edu

Why are we waiting until August 10th to start?

Currently, there are numerous course delivery mode changes occurring in Peoplesoft and Brightspace. There is a risk of errors if we make changes before the Fall 2020 course schedule is finalized. In the interim, you do not need to wait to begin working on your course. Simply make a note of which course offering you will need to copy into the new merged offering next week.

Do I need to wait until after the 10th to work on my course?

No. You can develop your Fall 2020 course now. Make note of the course offering you are using to build the course. When ready, copy the material from that section to the Merged course.

How do Course Offerings and Sections work in Brightspace?

When you login to Brightspace, you see a course offering for each course you are assigned to teach. In reality, every course offering in Brightspace consists of at least one section. Enrollment is maintained in the section(s). Course content is developed in the course offering.

How do Merges work in Brightspace?

Merging course offerings moves a section with all of its enrollments from one course offering to the destination course offering.

Example: Due to changes in course delivery (i.e. hybrid/online), many courses have been split into multiple sections. Section 100 might be split into 100M, 100W and 100F. When this happens, enrollment is removed from the original 100 section and split into the M/W/F sections. The original 100 course offering remains in Brightspace. If the original section remains (i.e. the split happened after the course originally populated Brightspace), then we will use the original section as the destination course. Sections 100M, 100W and 100F would be merged into section 100.

Normally, during this merge process, we would delete the course offering for Sections 100M, 100W, and 100F when we merged these into section 100. However, due to the unique situation, we will temporarily NOT delete any course offerings for these automatic merges. This will give faculty time to move any developed content from split sections into the combined course offering.

What are we changing?

For Hybrid-groups and Dual delivery modes, the courses may appear to be “split” in Brightspace. Due to the sheer volume of these, we are going to automatically merge any split hybrid-group and dual delivery courses into a new merged course offering. During the merge, we will NOT delete any course offerings. We will wait until September 7, 2020 to delete the extra course offerings.

Why are we changing this?

We are automatically merging split sections to help faculty manage their Brightspace courses and to eliminate the need to submit requests for these merges. We are NOT deleting sections, to enable faculty to work on courses now AND to ensure that faculty do not lose any content.

What is the downside to this change?

The downside is that temporarily, faculty will continue to see multiple sections after a merge. Faculty will need to be sure to post all content into the correct merged course. You will be able to verify this by confirming:

  • The course you are working has students in the classlist.
  • The course number will be labeled with the word “MERGE”

After the merge, what if I need to communicate with just a split section?

In Brightspace, you will still be able to:

  • View the Classlist by Section.
  • View the Grade book by Section
  • Release content only to one section within a merged course offering. 
  • Restrict a group-based activity to just a specific section within a course offering.
Use the Sections/Groups tab in the classlist to choose specific sections.
In the Brightspace Classlist, use the Sections/Groups Tab to View Individual Sections.
Individual sections can be viewed in the Grade Book by using the View By and Sections drop-down menus.
In the Brightspace Gradebook, use the “View By” Menu to View Individual Sections.
Use the Section enrollment condition and then choose a specific section to release content to a specific section
Use Release Conditions to Release Content or Assignments to a specific section based on Section Enrollment
Use the groups tool to create groups based on section enrollment or other criteria and then create group assignments based on those groups.
Create groups in the Groups Tool and then create Group Assignments based on those groups.

What will faculty see in Brightspace?

Before courses have been merged, the instructor may see 2-3 course offerings each with an attached split section. After the split sections have been merged, faculty will temporarily see all of the split course offerings in addition to seeing a new merged course offering. This new course offering will be the only site that contains enrollment. At this point, you can copy any course content into the new merged course offering. You can pin this new merged course offering and use the new Pinned tab in the My Courses widget to access your courses. You can ignore the course offerings that have not yet been deleted (do not pin these). After September 7, you will no longer see the additional split course offerings in Brightspace.

Screenshot showing original "split" sectons on the right with the "new" merged course on the left.
In the merged course on the left, notice the course number beneath the course name (5500_251_800_merge_4207).

What will students see in Brightspace?

Students will only see one course offering, whichever course offering the student’s section has been assigned to. The process throughout should be transparent to students.

How long will I have access to the extra course offering(s)?

The extra course offering(s) will be removed from Brightspace beginning on September 7th. You may continue to see the extra sections for a few days. We expect to have all of the extra course offerings removed by September 21st. We recommend copying your content before September 7th (link to Keep Teaching Community site in Brightspace).

What will happen if the course mode is changed?

If the mode of delivery is moved to online, the section number will revert back to the original number (e.g. 001M, 001W and 001F will return to section 001). Since we are including the original section number in these merges, there should not be any loss of data or enrollment. The change should be transparent to both faculty and students.

Will faculty still need to submit a merge request?

Potentially. We are making these changes for Hybrid-groups and Dual delivery courses only. You will need to submit merge requests for other modes of delivery or other scenarios.

For courses that were split, you will not need to request that these be merged in Brightspace. However, if you have multiple sections of the same course that you want merged, this will still require a support ticket.

For example, if you are teaching 1100_001_001_4207 and it has been split into 1100_001_001M_4207 and 1100_001_001F_4207, you WILL NOT need to request that these be merged. However, if you are teaching 1100_001_001_4207 (with sections 001M and 001W) and 1100_001_002_4207 (with sections 002M and 002W), then you WILL need to request that these 2 courses offerings (4 sections total) be merged if you want just 1 Brightspace for both/all sections.

Other scenarios where you may request a merge:

  • You are teaching a “slash” class (i.e. undergraduate and graduate sections together).
  • You are teaching courses that are offered in different departments that you usually teach together at the same time.
  • Lab sections. May lab coordinators will request all of their lab sections be merged together into one large Brightspace course.
  • Lecture and Discussion sections can be merged.
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