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Best practices for creating release conditions

  • Set up conditions before users access the course

    Create all of your course materials and set up your release conditions before the course opens to users. This gives you a chance to check for mistakes in the conditions or for circular, contradictory, or unnecessary conditions. If you add new release conditions after users have accessed the course, users might be confused by resources disappearing. Since conditions cannot be reset, you also risk having users meet conditions before your resources are ready (e.g., accessing a content topic before it is finished).

  • Avoid unnecessary conditions

    Each condition you associate with a tool takes additional time for Learning Environment to process. Using as few conditions as possible to set up a learning path minimizes the amount of time that users spend waiting for pages to load.

    For example, you set up a content topic, a quiz, and a dropbox folder for the second week of class. You want users to read the topic before taking the quiz, and you want them to read the topic and attempt the quiz before submitting the week’s work to the dropbox folder. For the dropbox folder, you only need to attach the condition that users attempt the quiz. Since users must read the content topic before they can take the quiz, it is not necessary to add this condition to the dropbox folder.

  • Avoid circular references

    A circular reference makes it impossible for users to satisfy a set of conditions. For example, if you set the condition that users must view a content topic before they can access a dropbox folder, and then set a condition that they must submit a file to the dropbox folder before they can access the content topic, you have a circular reference. Users can’t satisfy either condition without satisfying the other one first.

    Circular references are more likely to occur with long chains of conditions. For example, a content topic that depends on a quiz that depends on a dropbox folder that depends on a checklist that depends on the content topic.

  • Avoid impossible conditions

    Ensure that your conditions are not impossible for users to satisfy. For example, a condition that users must achieve greater than 100% on a grade item would be impossible (unless bonus marks are available for the item). If users are unable to satisfy a condition, they are unable to access the content or tools to which the condition is attached.

  • Avoid contradictory conditions

    Contradictory conditions occur when two or more conditions that cancel each other out are associated with an item. For example, the conditions “User must achieve greater than 49.9% on Grade Item 1” and “User must achieve less than 50% on Grade Item 1” are contradictory. Users could not satisfy both conditions at the same time; they would not be able to see the item associated with these conditions.