Frequently Asked Questions


General (13)

Content for the general CourseWork user.

What is CourseWork v5?

The next generation of CourseWork (CourseWork v5) is based on an open source development effort, called the Sakai project. In 2003, Stanford University joined forces with a consortium of universities including MIT, UC Berkeley, University of Indiana, and University of Michigan, to develop the next generation of teaching and learning tools for the higher education community.

The advantages for Stanford being a part of this open source development effort include:

* Control our own destiny: Share in software ownership, participate in design, build, testing and release of new tools and sidestep the limitations imposed by proprietary software.
* Leverage leadership in teaching and learning: Participate in a community of peers at the cutting edge of teaching and learning that possess the intellectual capital necessary to develop enterprise online teaching and learning environments.
* Get back more than we give: Benefit from using a richer set of tools created by other higher education institutions, achieve developmental economies of scale and cost savings implicit in inter-institutional cooperation on software solutions for common academic processes and problems.


What is new in CourseWork v5?

While CourseWork v5 provides virtually all of the capabilities of the old CourseWork (CourseWork v3.3), it also adds a host of new features that members of our academic community have been requesting. Some of these new features/functionalities include:

* Ability to upload/download multiple documents at a time through a desktop interface (WebDAV).
* Ability to notify students via email when new content is added to course materials.
* Ability to add file attachments to course announcements.
* Ability to calculate grades, rather than just recording them, using the Gradebook tool.

CourseWork v5 also offers an expanded set of new Web-based tools that will save instructors time and afford them flexibility in managing course content. These new tools include:

* Drop Box: facilitates the download of all student paper submissions and the return of commented papers via a few "drag and drop" actions.
* Web Content: public web sites that are referenced frequently in a course can now be displayed within the content frame of a site for quick access.
* My Workspace: a private workspace where course-related documents could be stored prior to being published to a specific course.


What happened to the old CourseWork?

The old CourseWork system (http://coursework-archive.stanford.edu) will remain available in read-only mode. This means that you will only be able to view and download content. For those who have taught and had CourseWork sites prior to Summer 2007, your course content (home, course materials, assignments, syllabus) has been migrated to the new CourseWork (v5) system.


Do I need a SUNet ID and password to access CourseWork v5?

Access to CourseWork v5 requires SUNet ID authentication. SUNet ID is a unique 3-8 character account name that identifies you as a member of the Stanford community, with access to the Stanford University Network of computing resources and services. Full-service SUNet IDs are available to current, registered students, and to regular and emeritus faculty and staff. Anyone who is not University-eligible and needs to use SUNet resources in support of legitimate University work can be sponsored for a SUNet ID. Please contact your department or school for SUNet ID sponsorship.


How do I access CourseWork v5?

Go to http://coursework.stanford.edu and click the login button located on the upper right-hand corner of the screen. If you have not already authenticated via Stanford WebAuth (i.e., WebLogin), then you will be prompted to enter your SUNet ID and password. You will then see a redirecting URL. Click on this URL to access CourseWork.


What are the minimum system requirements for using CourseWork v5?

Computer and Connectivity Requirements:
- Screen resolution set to 1024x768 or greater
- PCs should be running Win XP Pro, Win XP Home, Win 2000
- Macs should be running OS X (10.4 and above is preferable)
- Internet connectivity for off-campus access: DSL or Cable at minimum

Web Browser Requirements (Web browsers are free to download):
- PC Users: Internet Explorer 6.x, Firefox 1.x and up
- Mac Users: Firefox 1.x and up


Why don't the BACK/FORWARD buttons work correctly in my browser?

CourseWork v5 is designed to function independently of your web browser's buttons. Use the buttons within the CourseWork application to navigate back and forth among list items or return to the main list. Also, use the buttons within the CourseWork application to cancel an action should you change your mind about a task, such as posting an announcement.

If you ever want to return to the starting point of a tool, click the Reset button. The Reset button appears to the left of the name of the tool you're using, and looks like two opposite-facing arrows.


How do I find my course sites in CourseWork v5?

Instead of seeing a My Courses page after logging in to CourseWork, you will now see CourseWork sites to which you have access as individual tabs laid out horizontally across the course site navigation bar.

Course sites are ordered from left to right, first by term in ascending order, then alphabetically by course subject area. Course names follow the convention of Term-SubjectArea-Course#-Section# (e.g., F07-CEE-199-03). Course sites not displayed on the course site navigation bar may be found by clicking the My Active Sites tab to the far right. NOTE: To trim down the list of viewable sites on the course site navigation bar, go to the Preferences tool in your My Workspace site, click on Customize Tabs, then move the courses you do not wish to see into Sites Not Visible in Tabs.


How do I hide or remove old course sites?

If you can't find your course sites from the current term easily or would like to hide your sites from previous terms (i.e., remove from site navigation), please follow these steps:

  1. Go to My Workspace and select Preferences in the left navigation.
  2. Select Customize Tabs at the top of the page.
  3. Select and move all the CourseWork site tabs that you don't want to see to the "Sites not visible in Tabs" box. You can also reorder tabs with the up/down arrows.
  4. Click the Update Preferences button.

What is My Workspace?

In CourseWork v5, each user has his or her own private site called My Workspace. After logging in to CourseWork, you will automatically be taken to My Workspace. This is the space where the CourseWork support team may post important messages. Additionally, this space may be used to do the following:

    * Via Announcements, view announcements from all of your sites.
    * Via Membership, join CourseWork sites that grant access to Stanford members/affiliates without needing to register in Axess.
    * Via Preferences, customize which course tabs show up on the horizontal navigation bar as well as choose how you would like to be notified of new or changed items (e.g., announcements, materials) on sites to which you belong.
    * Via Schedule, view an integrated calendar for all sites in which you participate.

If you are an instructor or staff member, the following capabilities are available to you in My Workspace:

    * Via Materials, store course-related documents prior to being published to a specific course.
    * Via Worksite Setup, set up CourseWork sites.


What is Stanford Syllabus?

Stanford Syllabus was released to the Stanford community in Fall 2006. Conceived by the Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy (C-USP), funded by the Provost's Office, and developed by Academic Computing, the goal of the standalone Stanford Syllabus application is to provide a centralized online repository of syllabi for Stanford University courses.

On March 7, 2008, a new version of Stanford Syllabus, which is integrated with CourseWork, was released. This latest version allows uploaded syllabi to be accessible from both the external Stanford Syllabus application and CourseWork system. Instructors will only need to post their syllabus once and the syllabus will show up in both systems.

Whom do I contact for help with CourseWork?

The "Contact Us (HelpSU)" link, located at the bottom of every CoruseWork page, is the best way to get in touch with the CourseWork support team with questions or problems. Help resources in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), Quick Start Guides, and full documentation are also available under the Help link in the left navigation bar of every CourseWork site. For additional training needs, send an email to coursework-training@lists.stanford.edu.


What kind of training is available for CourseWork?

The CourseWork team is available to give presentations, demos, and workshops to any department or academic group interested in learning more about CourseWork. We can customize content and presentation length according to your group's needs. Possibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Brief overview of CourseWork
  • Update on what's new in CourseWork
  • Demo of CourseWork basics
  • Workshop on particular feature/task (e.g., How to Create Assignments)
  • Q&A Session

If you are interested in having the CourseWork team present to your group, please email coursework-training@lists.stanford.edu. For all other questions or issues, please submit a help ticket by using the "Contact Us (HelpSU)" link at the bottom of any CourseWork page.


For instructors (12)

Content items especially relevant to instructors.

Are CourseWork site(s) automatically created for my course(s)?

CourseWork sites are not automatically created. Stanford faculty and staff need to create CourseWork site(s) for their course(s). See "How do I create a new course site in CourseWork v5?" in our FAQ section for more details on site creation.  


How do I create a new course site in CourseWork v5?

Go to http://coursework.stanford.edu and login. You will automatically be taken to a site called My Workspace. If you are a Stanford faculty or staff member, you will see Worksite Setup among the tools in My Workspace. Click on Worksite Setup, then click New. You will be stepped through the process of setting up a site. At the end of the process, a CourseWork site will be created. The site will display any available Axess enrollment data, as long as you are the instructor of record. If you are not the instructor of record, the site will be requested rather than created. A verification email will be sent to the instructor of record and the CourseWork team. When the course site has been verified by the CourseWork team, Axess enrollment data will then be made available.


Why can't students see materials in my site?

When materials are imported from another site, they are designated as "hidden" by default (indicated by gray text). That means they are not visible to students and guests, but are still accessible to instructional staff. This change was implemented in Spring 2009 to match the functionality of our old system and to prevent unintentional release of materials to students, about which there were many complaints.

You can make individual or multiple items visible by checking the box(es) next to the item(s) and clicking the Show link at the top of the screen. Showing a folder will also show all the items within the folder, unless an item is individually designated as hidden. Alternatively, you can show an item by going to Actions > Revise Details, selecting the Show option, and clicking the Update button.


How do I import discussion (or lab) section registration from Axess into my CourseWork site?

If you manage section registration of discussion, lab, or other non-lecture sections in Axess, you can pull that data into CourseWork. Then, changes in section membership will be reflected automatically in the CourseWork site. You will need to have the Instructor, Course Admin, or TA role to complete these steps.

NOTE: If the site was created by someone other than the instructor of record, the instructor will need to approve the site request before any additional rosters can be added.

  • Go to the desired course site and click Site Info in the left navigation bar.
  • Click the Add Roster(s) link at the top of the Site Info page.
  • Select the roster(s) you want to add to the site.
  • Click Continue, then Add Class Roster(s) to confirm.

You will also need the Section Info tool added to your site and set to Automatic Management to make use of this data.

  • If you don't already have the Section Info tool in your CourseWork site, go to Site Info > Edit Tools and add it.
  • Then, click Section Info in the left navigation bar.
  • Click the Options link at the top of the Section Info page.
  • Select the 'Automatically manage sections and memberships' option.
  • Click Update, then Automatically Manage to confirm.

What are the different ways in which students can gain access to my CourseWork site?

CourseWork v5 affords you flexibility in defining course site access. You can limit site access to course participants only OR allow anyone with a valid SUNet ID to join. If you limit access to course participants, students will only have access to your site if they are officially registered through Axess or if you add them to your site manually. If you give access to anyone with a valid SUNet ID, students can use the Membership tool in their My Workspace to join your site. See "How do I add people to my CourseWork site?" in our FAQ section for more details on adding site participants manually.


How do I add people to my CourseWork site? (e.g., auditing students, guests, teaching assistants, course admins)

Go to your CourseWork site, click Site Info in the left navigation bar, then click Add Participants at the top of the page. Enter the SUNet ID of the person you want to add in the given text box. You can add more than one SUNet ID at a time, one per line. Choose a role for each person. Select whether or not to send email notification to the participants being added, then verify information and click Finish.


How do I switch between student view and instructor view?

In CourseWork v5, there is no toggle available to instructors to see a student view. The major difference between student and instructor view is that only instructors and users with administrative privileges (e.g., course admin) can see the administrative links under each tool. For example, students will not see the Add, Merge, Options, Permissions links under the Announcements tool whereas instructors do see these links. 


Can I submit grades in CourseWork?

Grades you enter in CourseWork DO NOT get sent to Axess, the system used for submitting official grades. You will need to log into Axess and enter grades there to fulfill your grading obligation. Please see the this helpful guide on Recording & Submitting Grades in Axess for further instructions.


Can I make certain course content publicly accessible to users without a SUNet ID?

In CourseWork v5, content within the following tools can be made available to the general public:

* Announcements
* Materials
* Syllabus

The access designation can be set for each item separately when added via the web interface. To view your site’s publicly available content, go to http://coursework.stanford.edu, then click on Search Sites in the left navigation bar (BEFORE logging in). Search for your course site, then click on your course site’s title. NOTE: Make sure your course site’s access setting is set to ‘Publish.’ Otherwise, your course site will not show up under Search Sites.


How can I upload multiple files to the Materials tool (or upload/download multiple files in the Drop Box tool)?

CourseWork v5 utilizes a web protocol called WebDav to allow you to access your site’s Materials or Drop Box tool as a local folder from which you can drag and drop files in or out.

   1. Get the WebDav URL for your CourseWork site:
          * Login to http://coursework.stanford.edu
          * Go to your site
          * Click the Materials tool on the left
          * Click the "Upload-Download Multiple Materials" link at the top
          * Copy the SiteID for your site
          * Materials’ URL syntax: https://coursework.stanford.edu/dav/SiteID
          * Drop Box’s URL syntax: (same as Materials except add group-user after dav/) https://coursework.stanford.edu/dav/group-user/SiteID
   2. Make a WebDAV connection to your site’s Materials or Dropbox tool, following the instructions under Upload-Download Multiple Materials.
   3. Drag and drop files from your local desktop to your Materials or Drop Box folder to upload them to your site or download files from your site to your local desktop.


What is the maximum file size limitation for uploading files through the Discussion tool (CourseForum)?

There is a 12 MB limit per file upload via the Discussion tool.


What is the maximum file size limitation for uploading files through CourseWork?

There is a 40MB limit per upload request via the web interface. The upload quota in CourseWork v5 does not work on a file-by-file basis. It works on a request basis. This means that if you try to upload 5 files at once, the quota is applied against the SUM of these files.


For students (8)

Content items especially relevant to students.

Why can't I find my course sites?

If you can't find your course site(s), here are the most common reasons. Please keep these in mind before submitting a HelpSU ticket.

  1. Not every course at Stanford has a CourseWork site, since the use of CourseWork is optional and at the discretion of the instructor. Please ask your instructor if CourseWork will be used for your course.
  2. There is a delay of at least a few hours between the time you register for a class in Axess and the time you are added to a CourseWork site. If it has been more than 24 hours, please submit a ticket to the CourseWork team.
  3. If you are a member of more than 4 sites, additional sites may be found by clicking the My Active Sites tab at the top right of the screen.
  4. If an instructor has said you can join a CourseWork site without signing up for the class in Axess, please use the following instructions for joining a site.

When I enroll in a course in Axess, will I be automatically added to a CourseWork site?

Assuming the instructor for the course has chosen to create a CourseWork site, you will automatically be added to the site if you have enrolled in the course through Axess. If you just registered, please allow up to 24 hours for the information to be reflected in CourseWork. If you do not see a site for your course after 24 hours, verify with the instructor that CourseWork will be used for the course before submitting a HelpSU ticket to the CourseWork team.


If I drop a course in Axess, will I automatically be dropped from that CourseWork site?

If you were originally added to the CourseWork site through Axess registration (i.e., you did not add yourself to the site through CourseWork's Membership tool), you will be removed automatically when you drop the course in Axess. Please allow up to 24 hours for changes made in Axess to be reflected in CourseWork.


How can I join a site without having to sign up for the course through Axess?

Some CourseWork sites are open to anyone in the Stanford community with a valid SUNet ID. If you can not find the course site you are seeking in the list of joinable sites, either the site is not set up to allow students to add themselves or the instructor has not created a CourseWork site.

To join a site:
  1. Go to My Workspace and click Membership in the left navigation bar.
  2. Click the Joinable Sites link at the top of the Membership page.
  3. To find the site you want to join, either browse the list of joinable sites using the navigation buttons on the right side of the page or use the search box.
    PLEASE NOTE: The search string must match the site title. If you want to join W08-PWR-2-29, then searching for "W08-PWR", "PRW-2", "PWR-2-29" would work (or use the whole site title). However, "PWR 2" would not work because there is no space in the site title.
  4. Click the Join link under the name of the desired course site.
  5. The course site will now appear as a tab in the site navigation bar (or will be listed under the My Active Sites tab if you already have quite a few course sites).
  6. You can also click on My Current Sites at the top of the Membership page to confirm that the course site is now in your list.

How do I view a syllabus without having to sign up for the course through Axess?

Instructors with CourseWork sites have the option to make their syllabi publicly available. There are two ways to search for syllabi.

  1. To find out whether a site has public content, go to http://coursework.stanford.edu and click on Search Sites in the left navigation of the gateway page (BEFORE logging in). Search for the course site, then click on the course site’s title. You should see a brief description of the course as well as any content that is publicly available.
  2. You can also search for syllabi at http://syllabus.stanford.edu.

My course has sections. How do I sign up for one?

Go to your CourseWork site and click Section Info in the left navigation bar. You should see sections listed here with descriptive information, such as meeting times, days, and locations. Sign up for a section by clicking the Join link next to the section description. The Join link will be replaced by the Member label to indicate you have successfully joined the section.

If you do not see Join links next to section descriptions or do not see the Section Info tool in your site, please ask your instructor about how section sign-ups will be handled.


How can I switch sections?

Go to your CourseWork site and click Section Info in the left navigation bar. You should see sections listed here with descriptive information, such as meeting times, days, and locations. The Member label will display next to the section to which you currently belong. Click the Switch link next to your preferred section to switch your membership. You may only belong to one section of each type available (e.g., 1 Lecture, 1 Discussion, 1 Lab). By choosing Switch you will be removed from your current section of that type.

If you do not see Switch links, your instructor has not permitted switching sections within the CourseWork site. You will need to ask the instructor about signing up for a different section.


How can I download multiple materials at a time?

CourseWork v5 utilizes a web protocol called WebDav to allow you to access your site’s Materials tool as a local folder from which you can drag and drop files.

   1. Get the WebDav URL for your CourseWork site:
          * Login to http://coursework.stanford.edu
          * Go to your site
          * Click the Materials tool on the left
          * Click the "Upload-Download Multiple Materials" link at the top
          * Copy the SiteID for your site
          * Materials’ URL syntax: https://coursework.stanford.edu/dav/SiteID
   2. Make a WebDAV connection to your site’s Materials tool, following the instructions under Upload-Download Multiple Materials.
   3. Drag and drop files from the Materials folder to your local desktop.