Before setting up sections for your course you should develop a plan for how you want your sections to be organized. A number of things can affect how users are enrolled in your sections:
Tip In most cases, it is better to set up sections after the majority of users are enrolled in your course. This gives you a better idea of how many users you are organizing and how many sections you need. Setting up sections after enrollment can also ensure better distribution of users between sections.
Warning In order for users to be enrolled in sections automatically, the ‘Can be auto-enrolled’ option must be enabled. Contact your site administration if you are having difficulties.
The following descriptions explain the options available on the Create Sections page and provide conceptual information on when they should be used.
# of Sections A specified number of sections are created with an unlimited number of users in each section.
Use this enrollment type when you know how many sections in total you want to create.
This option could be used when you know how many assistants you have who can assist with grading or tutorials, when you have specific classroom hours available to you, or when you are using a teaching model that divides users into a set of learning levels.
Sections of # An unlimited number of sections are created; each section has a specified maximum number of users.
Use this enrollment type when you know how many users you want in each section.
This option could be used if you are offering a professional development course that is always available. When enough users enroll to fill a section you could begin the course. It is also a good option when you do not know how many users are going to enroll, but you need to make sure each section is a manageable size.
Auto-Enroll New Users New users are automatically added to the section with the least users, or to a new section if the maximum size of all existing sections has been met.
Use this option when you don’t want to manually add new users to sections.
Note If you choose the ‘Sections of #’ option you might end up with a section that has only one or a few members in it. You can manually change section enrollment, including adding users to full sections, using the Enroll Users page.
Randomize users in sections Users are added to sections based on a random order. If this option is not selected, users are added to groups alphabetically based on their order in the classlist.
You create 4 sections for a course with a maximum class size of 200 users. 194 users enroll.
For a class of 194 users, Sections 1 and 2 have 49 users and Sections 3 and 4 have 48 users. If a new user enrolls later, they are put in Section 3.
You set a maximum section size of 25 users and 140 users enroll.
If Auto-Enroll New Users is selected and users are enrolled before sections are defined, users are distributed evenly through the minimum number of sections possible. This is called a brick laying algorithm because it is based on even distribution.
For a class of 140 users, 6 groups are needed. Sections 1 and 2 have 24 users and Sections 3-6 have 23 users. If a new user enrolls later they are put in Section 3.
When all of the sections reach their maximum size, 25 users, then Section 7 is created. This section fills to 25 users before Section 8 is created. This is called a bucket-filling algorithm because the limits of one section must be met before another section is started.
If Auto-Enroll New Users is selected and users are enrolled after sections are defined, sections are filled one at a time because the system has no way of knowing how many users will enroll. The first 25 users to enroll are added to Section 1, the next 25 users to Section 2, etc. Sections 1-5 have 25 users and Section 6 has 15 users after 140 users enroll. This is called a bucket-filling algorithm because the limits of one section must be met before another section is started.
If new users enroll later they are put in Section 6 until it is full and then Section 7 is started.
If Randomize users in sections is selected, the user enrollment list is randomized before users are added to sections. This option only works if an enrollment list exists prior to creating sections.
If Auto-Enroll New Users is turned off, you must manually add users to sections using the Enroll Users page.