One of the nice feature of Outcomes is that you can conduct assessment at the course level. The Courses File will create a course catalog in your Outcomes platform that will enable course level reporting and data entry. The Courses File is an Optional File.
While not an organizational unit, courses are fully functional in Outcomes. Outcomes can be written and assessed at the course level. Users can make request to and from courses. You can view reports at the course level.
Each course must have an OrgUnitIdentifier. This attaches a course to a specific organizational unit. This is necessary for the course to appear in Outcomes.
In the example below, Government is the OrgUnitIdentifier for the course Government 254, Sociology is the OrgUnitIdentifier for the courses Sociology 101 and Sociology 190, and Economics is the OrgUnitIdentifier for the courses Economics 101 and Economics 230.
This affects the reporting abilities of those courses. Requests for data, called Connections, are a top-down process. One organizational unit can only create Connections to courses nested below them in the organizational hierarchy. Data and permissions flow along the paths created by the OrgUnitIdentifier. Any organizational unit can host courses and organizational units can host multiple courses.
In the example below, based on the structure, Sociology 101 could contribute data to Sociology but would not be able to contribute data to any learning outcomes hosted by Economics.
Multiple Reporting Needs
We understand that on campus you have courses that need to be assessed in multiple programs. You might have courses that need to report to their host units as well as other programs. And those issues don’t look like they would work with the structure of the organizational chart and courses. Don’t worry. We have ways to account for courses that need to report to multiple areas, for cross listed courses, or interdisciplinary courses. Please see our resources on the Academic Programs File which will explore options for this type of reporting. Even if you are going to use those extra features, each courses still needs to have one initial designation in their OrgUnitIdentifier.
The course is generic representation and will show in each academic term. Let's look at Government 254 in visual above as an example. Once loaded into Core Data, Government 254 will appear in all terms regardless of whether it is actually offered as a course that students can take for that specific term. Sections, imported through the Section File, represent specific course offerings and will only show in the academic term in which they are offered. To learn more about specific course offerings for each term, please see our article on the Sections File.
Additional Optional Files
All of the other Optional Files will operate using some information from the Course files. If you want to use any of the other additional Optional Files, you will need the Courses File. It is important and does some heavy lifting in the Outcomes platform.
Additional Campus Labs Platforms
If you are using, or will be using, the Campus Labs Course Evaluation product, please contact your Campus Labs Consultant to discuss your Courses file as your choices will affect both products.