Updates to bCourses Integrated Tools

February 27, 2024

The story so far

When Berkeley first switched to the bCourses (Canvas) learning management system in 2014, there were a number of custom tools the vendor could not provide that we built ourselves. We’ve maintained these tools over the years, but recent changes in software architecture required us to rebuild them from the ground up. For the past several months, we have been gradually updating these tools. We’ve already released new versions of the Roster Photos and Mailing Lists tools. Last week, we replaced the underlying processes that sync enrollments between bCourses and CalCentral, and today we are releasing the new tools for creating course/project sites, managing sections, finding a user, and exporting e-grades.

Today’s changes

While most of the new tools look and function very similarly to the old tools, today’s release introduces a couple interface changes: The Create a Site tool has been updated and renamed to “Manage Sites.” It is still accessed in the same places. The name change is due to a change in functionality: the Official Sections tool, which was previously located in the course navigation menu has been moved to the Manage Sites tool. This means that there is now one tool that is used for (1) Creating new course sites (2) Creating new Project Sites and (3) Adding or removing sections from existing course sites.

Why did we make this change?

While the Official Sections tool was enabled by default and visible to instructors in all courses, the course navigation menu is customizable, and tools can be hidden. This meant that when instructors had questions about the tool, we needed to take the extra step to verify that the tool was enabled. In its new home, the Manage Official Sections tool will always be visible.

What comes next?

Our primary goal is to release initial versions of these tools with full feature parity. Once this is done, we plan to review opportunities to add new functionality.

If you have questions or feedback, please contact bcourseshelp@berkeley.edu