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LearningStudio contains a data model with information on terms, courses, and users. Each course object contains other objects, such as units, dropbox baskets, syllabi, discussions, exams, etc. Users and courses can be identified by various means, and users can be assigned certain roles, such as professor, student, and teaching assistant.

In this section:

Term and Course Items

LearningStudio puts objects related to courses into a data hierarchy. Objects in this hierarchy include:

  • Term – An academic time period
  • Course – A teaching topic lasting one term
  • Unit – A group of course materials
  • Item – An educational component, such as exam, lesson, syllabus, etc.
  • User – A student, professor, or teaching assistant
  • Dropbox – A location where users can submit and retrieve items

The following diagram illustrates the object hierarchy. Details for each object type are described below.

Note: Each level is a child of the level above. Deletion of the parent will delete its children.

In general, you can retrieve all child objects of a parent object by using a GET request without specifying an ID. For example, the following request returns an array of all exams that the specific user had started and/or completed within the specific course.

GET /users/{userID}/courses/{courseID}/exams

To retrieve a specific object, provide the object’s ID. For example, the following request returns one exam object.

GET /users/{userID}/courses/{courseID}/exams/{examID}

Term

A term is a division of academic time period or year (for example, semester, trimester, grades 2-3, etc.), so in LearningStudio a term has a start and end date. All courses are assigned to a term and usually derive their start and end dates from the term settings, but how terms are used (dates, number of courses, etc) is at the Educational Partner's discretion.

Course

A course is where students are enrolled, learn content, and are graded for their effort - these are the online versions of a traditional college course (for example, History 101, Advanced Statistics, etc.). Users—students, teachers, and teaching assistants—are enrolled in a course and typically the roster is fixed for the whole duration. A course's content is divided into Units and every course has an array of learning tools such as the Dropbox (for submitting assignments), Shared Documents, the Gradebook, etc.

Courses have a start date and an end date. If no start or end date is defined for the course, it inherits these dates from its term.

Note: Students cannot access course material until they are enrolled in the course and the start date has passed.

Unit

Units allow organization of groups of course materials (items) as defined by the professor (for example, a group of lessons and related labs). In practice, a unit can be called anything depending on the Educational Partner's lexicon (e.g., a "week," "module," or "lesson").

Note: The first unit within a course defaults to Course Home.

Content Item

Content Items are the primary course educational components (for example, exams, lessons, syllabus, etc.), as defined by the professor. Items can be of various types; most lesson-type content is HTML entered in a rich text editor in LearningStudio, but can also be taken from uploaded MS Office documents or packaged HTML. Interactive items can be threaded discussions or exams.

During item creation, items can be given attributes that control various features. For example, items can be designated "gradable" (appears in the gradebook for grading). A content item can also have an attached Dropbox (described below), or be limited to students before a certain date. These settings are made in the LearningStudio user interface; content cannot be created or updated via the APIs.

Users

Each Educational Partner can define its own set of user roles and abilities, but all derive from a few basic types. Following are some basic role types and typical permissions for users within a course:

  • Student - Cannot modify course materials or grades. Some content is restricted from students based on time, grades, group assignment, or teacher-only material.
  • Professor - Can view all content items and usually modify course materials, assign grades, etc.
  • Teaching Assistant - May or may not have the ability to modify the course materials or grades, depending on whether the professor allows it.

Note: Within LearningStudio, each Educational Partner can define custom roles and abilities in the LearningStudio user interface that very probably will differ from the role types described here. For the purposes of the LearningStudio API, the above generic roles will be used in the process descriptions. See User Roles and Abilities.

Dropbox

The dropbox feature is how students can submit assignments, either by using a rich text editor in LearningStudio and/or uploading a document. Dropbox "baskets" are always attached to content items and are created from the content item's settings screen in LearningStudio. For each basket, student's have a "user basket" which is their private place to interact with teachers over an assignment.

LearningStudio doesn't have an "assignment" paradigm, so there is no Assignments section of the user interface and no Assignments API. Instead, an assignment is typically a content item that describes it (e.g., "Write a 500-word essay...") and the dropbox basket where students submit that work. These items are usually represented in the Gradebook.

The following are some rules for dropboxes:

  • The owner of the user basket is called the "Submission Student" no matter what role type the owner may have in the course. For example, the course professor would be the Submission Student for his/her own user basket.
  • The owner of the user basket is the only user allowed to change its contents. (For example, changing the isread status to true).
  • The course professor or teaching assistant can view the information about other enrolled users' user baskets, but cannot change the information. For example, a professor can check the isread status for an item in a student's user basket to see if the student has read the submitted item, but cannot change the status.

User and Course Identification

Within the LearningStudio APIs, the primary method for identifying users and courses is with the ID assigned by LearningStudio when the item is created. These IDs are returned by the APIs, and used in the URI for each endpoint. In the API reference pages, the IDs are noted with curly brackets, for example:

/users/{userId}/courses/{courseId}/itemHiearchy

Understandably, if you are are a client institution and are using LearningStudio APIs your portal or other integrated system, you may have your own identifiers for users and courses. The APIs also support using login IDs (which you assign to users from your SIS), or Call Numbers (assigned to courses when the course is created), as the item reference values. We call these “overloads”.

If you use an identification method other than the LearningStudio-assigned IDs, LearningStudio takes extra steps to verify the mapping to a valid LearningStudio ID and then verifies the relevant ID is allowed to access the information and resources during the authentication process. Thus, the most efficient approach is to use LearningStudio's IDs.

User Roles and Abilities

User roles and role types control what abilities each user has within the LearningStudio system.

  • "Role type" is defined as the internal value assigned to the group of accesses, permissions, and abilities defined as the defaults within the LearningStudio system. The LearningStudio APIs support the role types of ADMN (Administrator), PROF (Professor), TAST (Teaching Assistant), and STUD (Student).
  • "User roles" or "roles" are the descriptive names given to the role types by the Educational Partners, and are primarily used in the LearningStudio user interface. Thus, the role type of PROF could be called Professor, Instructor, Teacher, or even History 101 - Remedial Assistant Professor depending on what each Educational Partner defines as the standard. Each client can set up their various roles as appropriate to their needs, and assign a large array of access rights to each role. They may also have multiple roles, with different rights, in any or all of the role types described above. Within the APIs, however, only the top-level role type matters for granting permission to certain resources (e.g., writing grades).

The LearningStudio APIs provide a different set of the abilities than those provided in the LearningStudio UI to each user role. For example, a Professor may be able create and modify exams in the LearningStudio UI, but cannot even view the exam contents using the LearningStudio APIs. The following sections describe the high-level abilities for the different roles within the LearningStudio APIs.

Administrator

roleType=ADMN

Administrators have system-level rights within the Educational Partner, which means that they have permission to do any action. Administrators are not bounded by courses or terms in their abilities.

Professor

roleType=PROF

Professors must be enrolled in a course in order to access its data. The following abilities are allowed only within the enrolled course.

  • Add/modify/view grades.
  • Add/modify/view course content.
  • Add/modify/view announcements.
  • Add/modify/view shared documents.
  • Add/modify/view dropbox basket items for user basket for self only.
  • Add/modify/view schedules for items and exams in a course.
  • Add/modify/view topics and responses in threaded discussions for all users in a course.
  • Add/modify/view webliography information.
  • Add/modify/view shared documents.
  • Reset an exam for a student.
  • View information for other users enrolled in course, including their roles, drop status, and other detailed information.
  • View announcement read status for other users.
  • View summary of exam results for students.
  • View group information.
  • View activity and what's happening feeds for self only.
  • View course information, such as course items and their hierarchy.
  • View dropbox basket items for students in a course.
  • View uploaded documents, text/multi-media, and other course content.
  • View a course syllabus.
  • View term information associated with a course.

Teaching Assistant

roleType=TAST

Teaching assistants must be enrolled in a course in order to access its data. The following abilities are allowed only within the enrolled course.

  • Everything that a student may do.
  • Anything that a professor may do that is enabled for this role type. (An administrator enables the teaching assistant).

Student

roleType=STUD

Students must be enrolled in a course in order to access its data. The following abilities are allowed only within the enrolled course.

  • Add/modify/view dropbox basket items for user basket for self only.
  • Add/modify/view topics and responses in threaded discussions for self only.
  • Add/modify/view webliography information.
  • Add/modify/view shared documents.
  • Take or retake exams.
  • View topics and responses in non-private threaded discussions for all users in a course.
  • View schedules for items and exams in a course.
  • View grades for self only.
  • View course content.
  • View announcements.
  • View summary information for other users enrolled in any course in which the student is enrolled.
  • View summary of exam results for self only.
  • View group information.
  • View activity and what's happening feeds for self only.
  • View course information, such as course items and their hierarchy.
  • View uploaded documents, text/multi-media, and other course content.
  • View course syllabus.
  • View term information associated with course.

Multiple Roles

It is possible for a single user to have multiple assigned roles within LearningStudio. For example, a user may be a Teaching Assistant in one course, but only a Student in a different course. Thus, the user would have the appropriate role assigned within each course to provide the appropriate abilities within the course.

Important: One exception to this rule is for the Administrator role. Because this role is global within the Educational Partner, a user that has been assigned this role will have Administrator rights no matter what other role may be assigned at any other level. For example, if an Administrator enrolls in a course as a Student, the Administrator will still have full administrator abilities within the course.

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