Math Department CTools Tutorial

A note: The images in this tutorial were generated from the previous version of CTools, so they may look slightly different from what you see. The substance of the tutorial should, however, be correct.

Steps in This Tutorial

  1. Log in to CTools.
  2. Use the Worksite Setup page to create a new course site,
  3. Create a new course site,
  4. Set the Roster for your course site,
  5. Edit the Site Information,
  6. Edit the Site Syllabus,
  7. Edit the Resources,
  8. Publish Your Site,
  9. Review and Finalize Your Site.

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Is this tutorial useful? Do you have comments for its improvement? Please let us know! E-mail <glarose(at)umich(dot)edu>.

You Log In to CTools through the University's central login service, so if you've already authenticated through the weblogin system you may find that where the login button is shown below you see the text "Your Name (uniqname) | Logout." If this is the case, go to the Worksite Setup page.

  1. Log In to CTools: Go to (this link will open in a new window).
  2. Click the "log in" button (figure to the right).
  3. Then go on to the Worksite Setup page to create a new coures site.

Worksite Setup allows you to create, delete, and change sites that you've created in CTools. We use it here to create a new course site.

  1. Click the Worksite Setup link on the left menu bar.
  2. After making your selection, you'll see something like this image (previous image). Next, click the "New" link to create a new site for your course.

The Create Site page allows you to create course or project sites, and to use the templates we have available.

  1. Creating a new site: Click the create site from template checkbox to enable the template selector. There are specific templates for Math 105, 115 and 116, which are found in the Specialized Courses expandable box. If you are teaching some other math course, there is a Math General Template in the Affiliation category. Then select the correct term.
  2. Then click Go to roster selection to confirm your class roster.

By Setting the Roster for your course site, you allow access to the site to those students who are enrolled in your class-section.

  1. Check the roster selection shown on the page. In most cases you should be able to just check the roster for the class-sections for which you're creating a course, and then click "Continue."
  2. If the roster you want isn't shown, click the "Add course(s) and/or section(s) not listed above" link to select another class-section.
  3. Then click Continue to finish site creation. You may need to change to the site by selecting it, or it may put you directly to the site editing. If you don't see the name of the site highlighted in the top sitelist bar, click on that to get to your site. Then edit the site information for your site.

By Editing the Site Information for your course site, you change the default informational text and identify the site with your class-section.

  1. The Site Information for the site is the information that your students will see on the front page of your site. Click the site info link on the left side bar to get the option to edit all of this information. Then click the Edit Site Information link to get the edit options.
    • For non-Introductory Program courses you will probably want to include the Course Number, Section Number, Term, Your Name, and A short description of the course. (See, for example, the undergraduate course catalog [link opens in a new window] for a description.)
    • For Math 105, you will want to edit the section number in the template description, and you may of course change any of the other information from the template to personalize your site;
    • for Math 115 and Math 116, the site info may not need editing, though again you may want to change it to personalize your site to your class-section.
  2. Next, edit the short description, farther down the page: (short description): this is the information that shows up on the public list of courses. You probably want this to be just the course number, section number, term, and maybe your name, e.g., Math 115-023-F10, taught by Jane Mathematician.
  3. Then click "Update" to save your options, and continue to edit your syllabus.

A published course site will show up on the public list of CTools sites. This is, in general, what you want to have happen: it means that your students will be able to find it.

  1. To check the published status of your site, go to the Site Info page. Then click the Manage Access link at the top of the page.
  2. Then check that the publish site checkbox is selected.
  3. And click "Update."
  4. Finally, Review and Finalize your site.

The final step in creating your course site is the confirmation dialog. At this point the basic configuration of the site is set, and so you can just scroll to the bottom of the confirmation page and click the "Create Site" button. You will be able to edit all of the course information after the site is created, and add and modify the site's appearance and content. After clicking "Create Site," continue to update site content, in particular, the syllabus, resources, and schedule for your site

You need to Edit the Syllabus for your course site so that the basic information about the instructor, text, etc. are clearly indicated for students.

  1. In the course site, click "Syllabus" on the left sidebar of your site to bring up the syllabus page. This is pre-configured to include a series of logical Syllabus Items, each of which has a Title and Content: a course information sheet, list of prerequisites, instructor info, and so forth. In some cases the content may be as little as single link, and in others it will contain information (such as your name, office number, etc.).
  2. Edit this information by clicking on the create/edit link. This brings up a the list of syllabus items you can edit. By clicking the edit links you can edit individual items. You can change the order of the items by clicking the reorder items arrows and then clicking the "update" button.
  3. Update syllabus items by clicking the different edit links. This lets you edit the item: the title, content, and attachments. In particular:
    • Change the descriptive information in the Content Editor. You will want to do this for all of the template syllabus items. You can add or update links to other pages by clicking the link editor icon, [img].
    • To update an attachment, remove the existing attachment and then add a new version. You will want to do this for the syllabus.pdf file that exists in the template.
  4. Then Click the "Post" button at the bottom of the page to save the updates you've made. Note that you can add more items or delete others from the syllabus items page as well. When you have updated the information, click the Preview link from this page to return to the view of the Syllabus.
  5. Next you will likely want to import and edit the Resources available in your course.

The Resources section of the template is where you can add resources for your students. You have inherited some minimal resources from the CTools template: a "Useful Links" folder with links to things like the undergraduate math club. There are additional resources that may be useful to you which you can import, and you can add additional resources for your class as well. The following indicates some of those resources that are available; you can also just import content yourself.

  1. Open the Resources Page by clicking Resources on the left sidebar, giving something like this. Note the "Useful Links" folder. (previous figure). To add resources we will copy them from another site, using the show sites link.
  2. Click the Show Sites link. Scroll down to find a site called Math General Template Resources Resources (or, if you're working in Math 105, 115 or 116, Math 105 Template Resources Resources, Math 115 Template Resources Resources, or Math 116 Template Resources Resources). Yes, these do appear to have a redundant "Resources" at the end of their names.
  3. Next, we'll Copy Resources from this site: Open the Folder by clicking the expand folder icon. You may need to then scroll back down to the bottom of the page to see that the folder contains two sub-folders: a "Useful Links" folder (which is the same as the one you inherited from the template) and an "Instructor Tools and Info" folder. Click the Actions selector next to the "Instructor Tools" folder and select Copy. Finally, click the clipboard icon next to your resources folder. This will add the Instructor Tools folder to your resources.
  4. Then Hide this Folder, because it may contain information that you don't want to show students. To hide it, click the Actions selector for the folder and select Edit Details, giving the Edit details page. Click the hide this folder option, and click the Update button at the bottom of the page.
  5. The Instructor Resources folder contains some files that will be useful for your site. Which files are there will depend on which template resources you copied; see the README files there for more information. You can create additional folders in the resources into which to put information that you want to distribute to your students by using the Add selector in the top resources folder.
  6. After you're satisfied with this, you will want to publish your site.

The Schedule Tool in CTools is one of the most useful, because it allows you to post a schedule for your class that your students may view to see when deadlines and exams are, etc. By default it of course contains no items, but there are several tools that make it easy to populate it. This tool is not included in the default templates, but you may wish to include it. However, a web content tool including the Registrar's Calendar ("Univ Calendar")in Google is included. If you want to use the schedule, you may wish to remove this web content link. Adding a schedule is discussed below.

  1. First, check the Instructors Info folder in Resources: depending on which CTools template you are using, there may be information about creating a schedule there, or there may be a pre-made CTools schedule file. If you are teaching a coordinated course (especially Math 105, 115 or 116), be sure to check with your course coordinator to see if there is a CTools schedule you can import.
  2. To Import a Schedule, you need a calendar file in a format that CTools understands: Microsoft Outlook, Meeting Maker, or the generic CTools calendar format. A CTools file or information for generating one will be in the resources. Once you have such a file, to import it click import on the calendar page.
  3. Then select Generic calendar import (unless you are are using an Outlook or Meeting Maker file) and click Continue. Browse to upload the calendar file you have and click Continue again.
  4. You can also update your schedule by using the add link to add new events to your schedule. This should be a straightforward exercise in clicking and typing.
  5. After you're satisfied with your schedule, you will want to publish your site.

Your site at this point should be close to done! There are three remaining items to consider, which revolve around the Site Info page for your site. You may want to (1) Add or Remove Tools, (2) Add Participants, and/or (3) Update the Course Information.

  1. To Add or Remove Tools to or from your site, click the edit tools link at the top of the page. You might want to do this if you aren't using a tool that exists in the template you copied (e.g., the schedule), or if you want to add a tool (e.g., Announcements, or a Drop Box, or a Gradebook). Note, in particular, that the Announcements provide a good way of posting announcements to your class, and the Gradebook is very useful for distributing some or all grades to students (in Math 105, 115 and 116 exam grades are gathered in the Department's exam data system, which also makes those scores available to students).
  2. To Add Participants, click the add participants link. Note that you will not have to do this to keep your roster up-to-date. The glory of using CTools is that once a student adds your course using Wolverine Access, s/he will automatically show up on your CTools roster. But if you have a grader or other instructors you want to be able to see what you are doing you will have to add them. Math 105, 115 and 116: you should add your course coordinator to the participants list for your class.
  3. Also note that there is a list of participants for your course site at the bottom of the Site Info page. This includes all of the students on your roster, you, and a number of Departmental Affiliates who are added automatically. The Affiliate members are people in and related to the undergraduate or graduate offices who should have access to your site.
  4. Finally, check that the course description looks like what you want, and that the site as a whole does what you expect. You can edit the course description from the Site Info page, by clicking Edit Site Information link at the top of the page, or by clicking Home on the left sidebar and then clicking the Options link at the top of the home page.

Univ of Michigan Dept of Mathematics
CTools Template Tutorial, ver. 2.1
Last Modified: Thu Aug 29 13:00:00 EDT 2013
Comments to:glarose(at)umich(dot)edu
©2010 Gavin LaRose, UM Math Dept./Regents of the University of Michigan