Project, course assignment or book?

Before you start to author content you should be aware of the three different places you can create content using guides. Let’s look at each of the three ways to create content and why you might choose each one.

Projects

A project is simply a standalone Codio box. It may or may not have guides content. Projects are to be found in the Projects page on the main Codio dashboard.

My Projects

You would want to choose a project as the place to create your content if you have individual, ad hoc assignments or examples that do not constitute more extensive coursework or are not part of a larger series of associated projects.

A project can be assigned to a course at any time. All the students in that course will then be able to access that project and its content.

There are drawbacks to using projects to assign to students. If you have related projects and the number of projects grows, it can be hard to quickly find a project you want to assign to a course. There is also no way to arrange your projects into chronological order. Courses and books offer excellent solutions to this organizational problem.

Assignments

An assignment is essentially the same as a project. The only difference is that your project assignments are located in the courses area in the main Codio dashboard and accessible to other teachers who can edit the item and to students in the course. Assignments are very easy to locate as they are tidily organized within the course module they belong to. You can also arrange your assignments within a course module.

Courses

You would typically use an assignment if either of the following apply.

  • You have a logically related series of projects that you want to assign to a student that form a course module.

  • You have a collection of assessments relate to a course that are used for homework, lab assessments, projects etc.

A course allows you to subdivide your course into modules and then chronologically arrange your assignments within your modules. When you create a course, you have to create at least one module. A module does nothing special other than contain assignments and are simply a nice way to group your assignments.

There is one minor drawback to project based assignments that you should be aware of. If students are working with a project assignment and want to look at tutorial content that is contained in another assignment, they have to switch assignments. This can take several seconds and can be irritating during a revision phase when they want to frequently switch assignments. For this reason, we created the book, which we will look at next.

Book assignments

A book is intended to replicate a hard-copy book. It contains a lot of content, often an entire course of content. Let’s look at the case of a course called Introduction to Java. If this was a regular book, it might contain 500 pages. If you used project assignments to create this content, you might end up with a very large number of assignments, say 50. As we mentioned above, when students are revising and want to randomly move between different assignments to review content, they can get frustrated by the time it takes to switch assignments.

A book addresses this issue by offering sophisticated table to contents management with nested chapters and sections. As a result, you can put all of your content into a single book, with a single box running in the background.

However, faculty will still often want to teach a course based on a book. To do this, you use a course but rather than creating a project assignment, you create a book based assignment. This allows you to point to any parts of a book for that assignment.

Books

Book or project assignment?

It can still be a little confusing whether you should use a book based assignment or a project assignment, so here are some typical use cases.

  • Project assignments - use when you have a collection of assessments with no or minimal tutorial content. Best used for homework or lab type assessments. If a student is not going to regularly switch assignments in a single session.

  • Book assignments - use for tutorial content, examples and non-critical assessments.

Note

that you can mix both book and project assignments in a course.