Cobra Learning - Merging Courses (2022 edition)

Merging Courses

What is merging?

By default, Cobra courses are built as individual sections; if you teach three sections of a course, you get three Cobra shells.  Some instructors prefer to deliver their course materials for their sections of a particular course each semester in a single shell.  This is called merging.  When a course is merged, one set of content is presented to all of the involved sections of students.  Student rosters are also combined.

Should I merge my course?

Merged courses are most appropriate for instructors who use Cobra to deliver static content -- readings, presentations, and announcements.  This is especially true of courses that are continually updated throughout the semester.  The combined rosters of a merged course make the delivery of interactive, graded content more challenging, as it becomes more difficult to separate submissions between sections.  Merging should never be done after students gain access to a course.  Any student activity is lost if a merge occurs after students begin interacting with a course.

Requesting a merge

Starting with Spring 2022, we have a new process for merging courses.  This process is done using the built-in section association tool and is fully manual.  Therefore, the process is done by request and you will need to submit the request via Microsoft Form when the call is put out each semester.

The request form will need the following information:
  • Your name
  • Parkland ID number
  • Courses including sections that you want merged with the primary course denoted
  • Choice of Normal merge (individual sections disabled) or an Expanded merge (individual sections enabled)
  • Preferred name of the merged course (NOTE: the name needs to include the course code, such as BUS 106 - Business Ethics)

NOTE: course assignment changes can impact merged courses, though; so consider whether you're likely to be reassigned before requesting to merge your courses.

Request Deadline

Due to the integration of the Concourse syllabus program with Cobra as well, the merging deadline is very strict.  The Wednesday prior to the start of the class at 5 pm is the deadline for submission of merge requests.  Emailed requests will not be honored.  

What to expect following your request

The merging process will occur on the Thursday following the deadline and should be complete by 5 pm.  Your new merged course will appear in Cobra after it has been processed and will contain the roster of students for all sections in that one merged course.  Note that the non-primary course sections will be deleted initially during the process and any content contained within will also be deleted.  Therefore, it is imperative that you work only in the primary course designated on your request.  New students should automatically appear in the merged course; and withdrawn students should automatically be removed.  NOTE: an expanded merge course will not be created until that Thursday prior to the course start, so you will not be able to prepare the course in advance unless you build it in a master shell.

If you go to Course Admin > Sections, you should see that you have the individual sections identified.  These will also appear as "restriction" options on all content items (much like you would restrict by groups) so that you can easily separate your gradebook, discussions, etc. by section groups and not have to create them manually.

The end result

Once the merge is complete, students will see only the final merged course (unless you have chosen an expanded merge option).  

Changes to Course Sections

Because the merge process is manual, so is the unmerge.  So, if you have changes to your course load AFTER your courses have been merged, you will need to submit a request to have them unmerged as well.  

Drawbacks to Merging

  • Merging can be confusing to students expecting to see a certain section and instead see a merged section.  So, identifying this to your students in advance will be helpful and cut down on calls and emails.  This is why ensuring that the course code (BUS 106) is included in your course title.
  • Merged course rosters can be cumbersome when entering mid-term and final grades as the rosters in Webadvisor are based on the individual sections and not the merged course, which is why it's important to recognize the view by section option in the gradebook.
  • Merging requires advance notice in order to be done before students gain access to the course.  Due to the process involved, late merge requests will NOT be honored.
  • Because this is a new process, advanced merging is not possible.  Merging will not occur until the Thursday before courses start, so if you absolutely must work on your course prior to the merge; we recommend that you use a Master Course shell to build your course.

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Fall/Spring: 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. M-Th. / 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Fridays

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Keywords:merging, merge, combine, Cobra   Doc ID:79443
Owner:Lori W.Group:Parkland College
Created:2018-01-18 12:24 CDTUpdated:2022-01-28 16:11 CDT
Sites:Parkland College
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