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Big Decisions in Achieve: Section Manager or Not?

becky_anderson
Macmillan Employee
Macmillan Employee
0 0 220

Now that you've figured out your Achieve course delivery method, you need to determine how you want to manager you sections. A Section Manager with sections is the easiest way to manage the content of multiple sections from one place-- the Section Manager. It’s also the easiest way to manage course sections of the same course taught by multiple different TAs/instructors. However, Section Managers do have certain limitations.

In Achieve, you can create course sections under a Section Manager. All of the sections are copies of the Section Manager course, and depending on settings you choose, they may inherit changes from the Section Manager. 

How does a Section Manager work?

Section Managers do not allow the following actions. These actions would instead be taken in each course section.

  • Enrolling students
  • Viewing assignment scores or completion information in the assignment list, gradebook, and reports
  • Creating due date exceptions or student-specific assignments
  • Creating groups of students
  • Performing LMS integration

How do the sections work?

The course sections under the Section Manager have two different permission sets: Restricted Access and Full Access. In general, Restricted Access is used when you want changes in the Section Manager to flow down into the sections. Restricted Access instructors have limitations on the changes they can make within the course, while Full Access instructors have complete control over the content. The differences between these section types will be covered in more and more detail throughout this article.

Is a Section Manager with sections the right set up for me?

A Section Manager with sections is the easiest way to manage the content of multiple sections from one place-- the Section Manager. It’s also the easiest way to manage course sections of the same course taught by multiple different TAs/instructors. However, Section Managers do have certain limitations.

  • You will not be able to integrate your Section Manager with an LMS or enroll students in it. You will only be able to set up integration with the section courses under the Section Manager once those have been created.
  • You will not be able to customize the name, course code, or course start/end dates for each section. This information will be inherited from the Section Manager.
  • You will not be able to edit Diagnostic activities once sections are created.


The alternative to creating a Section Manager with sections would be to create copies of a single course (not tied to a Section Manager). Functionally, this is almost exactly the same as creating Full Access sections. The only benefit of creating single course copies is that they can have unique course names and start/end dates, while Full Access sections can only inherit this information from the Section Manager. There are also drawbacks to using single course copies. A course coordinator can quickly add an instructor or TA to a Full Access section, but this is not possible for a single course copy. This would have to be done through Macmillan Learning Customer Support. Also, this setup only allows you to add content items you create to a single course, rather than all of your sections. See the table below for further comparison.

Comparison of section/course types

Below is a table with a brief comparison of the different section types under a Section Manager (Restricted Access and Full Access) vs. course copies that are not tied to a Section Manager. We'll cover the differences between Restricted and Full Access sections in more detail later in this article.

 

 

Restricted Access section

Full Access section

Course Copy (not tied to a Section Manager)

Who controls how content is organized in the section course?

Section Manager instructor

Full Access section instructor

Course Copy instructor

Who controls who has instructor access to the section courses?

Section Manager instructor

Section Manager instructor

Macmillan Customer Support

Can I customize the course info such as the course name, course code, start and end dates?

No, it’s inherited from the Section Manager

No, it’s inherited from the Section Manager

Yes

Newly created Files and Links from the Section Manager are automatically added to the section course

Yes

Yes

No, but you can add these manually

Newly created Assessments and Writing assignments from the Section Manager are automatically added to the section course Yes Yes No, you can only add these to one course

Receives changes to the content of Assessments from the Section Manager

Yes

No

No

Receives changes to the content of Writing Assignments from the Section Manager Yes No No
Receives changes to the Target Score and Topics for LearningCurve Adaptive Quizzes and Read & Practice assignments from the Section Manager Yes No* No
Receives changes to Diagnostic assignments from the Section Manager No No No

Receives changes to the content of the course from the Section Manager

Yes

No

No

Section instructor can change the content in the section course or assignments

No

Yes

Yes

Section instructor can change assignment settings such as due date and points

Yes

Yes

Yes


*Full Access sections will receive changes to LearningCurve Adaptive Quizzes and Read & Practice assignments from the section manager only if the assignment has never been opened in that Full Access section.

For more instructions, go here to create a Section Manager and see how to manage those sections as well. (And, as always, talk to your local representative, specialist, or sign up for a training if you want more information about how these choices apply to you and your course goals.)  

About the Author
I've been working in publishing since 1997, doing everything from the front desk to marketing and sales, and a few things in between. And I love working working with media and helping students succeed.