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Release conditions allow you to create a custom learning path through the materials in your course. When you attach a release condition to an item, user cannot see that item until they meet the associated condition. For example, you could attach a release condition to the second topic in your course's content area that would hide that topic until users viewed the topic before it. Or you create a condition that required users to view a content topic before gaining access to a quiz, or one that required them to post a message to a discussion topic before they could see a content module.

If you attach multiple conditions to an item, users must meet all conditions before they can access the item. For example, you could require users to visit three content topics before gaining access to an associated quiz.
You can put release conditions on the following items:

  • Checklists
  • Content modules and topics
  • Custom widgets
  • Discussion forums and topics
  • Dropbox folders
  • Grade items and categories
  • News items
  • Quizzes
  • Surveys

Once a user meets a release condition, the condition is cleared for that user and cannot be reset. For example, you attach a release condition to a discussion topic requiring user to achieve more than 60% on a quiz before they can access that topic. If a user receives 72% when he or she takes the quiz, then you later change the user's score to 55%, the user can still access the discussion topic.

Table of Contents

1. Setting up release conditions

You set up a release condition from the edit page of the item you want to restrict. For example, if you want to attach a condition to a content topic, you would go to the edit page for that content topic and create your condition from there.

1.1. To attach a release condition

  1. Go to the edit page for the item you want to attach the condition to and locate the release conditions area which is usually at the end of the web page. (See the documentation for the appropriate tool for help editing items in that tool.)
  2. Click Create and Attach.
  3. Select the Condition Type and complete the Condition Details.
  4. Click Create.
  5. Click Save if applicable.

1.2. Reusing conditions

If you've already created a condition and want to apply the same condition to another item, you can quickly select the condition from a list of existing conditions in your course using the Attach Existing button. This saves you entering the criteria a second time.

When you attach an existing condition from another item to a second item, the two conditions are not associated in any way. If you change the condition on either item or remove the condition from either item it has no affect on the other. To attach an existing condition

  1. Go to the edit page for the item you want to attach the condition to and locate the release conditions area.
  2. Click Attach Existing.
  3. Select the condition.

    To narrow the list of conditions, choose the tool the condition is based on from the View Conditions for list.

  4. Click Attach.
  5. Click Save if applicable.

1.3. Removing conditions

  1. Go to the edit page for the item you want to remove the condition from and locate the release conditions area.
  2. Click the Remove Condition icon for the condition you want to remove.
  3. Click Save if applicable.

To remove all the conditions from an item, click the Remove All Conditions icon at the top of the list of conditions, then save.

2. Special considerations




Content - All Content Topics Visited

This condition requires users to visit all modules within your course. You cannot specify only a single module. If you want to create a condition that would make a tool available only after a user has completed a specific module, create a condition using the Content Topic Visited option and require that they visit the last topic within the applicable content module.

Discussions - Discussion Messages Authored in Topic

If messages posted to the selected topic require approval, this condition is only satisfied once messages are approved.


3. Best practices

3.1. Set up conditions before users access the course

Create all of your course materials and set up your release conditions before the course opens to users. This gives you a chance to check for mistakes in the conditions or for circular, contradictory, or unnecessary conditions. If you add new release conditions after users have accessed the course, users may be confused by resources disappearing. Since conditions cannot be reset, you also risk having users meet conditions before your resources are ready (e.g., accessing a content topic before it is finished).

3.2. Avoid unnecessary conditions

Each condition you associate with a tool takes additional time for the Learning Environment to process. Using as few conditions as possible to set up a learning path minimizes the amount of time that users spend waiting for pages to load.

For example, say for your second week of class you have set up a content topic, a quiz, and a dropbox folder. You want to require users to read the topic before taking the quiz, and you want them to read the topic and attempt the quiz before submitting the week's assignment to the dropbox folder. On the dropbox folder, you only need to attach the condition that users attempt the quiz; you know they will have to read the content topic before they can take the quiz, so there's no reason to add this condition to the dropbox folder as well.

3.3. Avoid circular references

A circular reference makes it impossible for users to satisfy a set of conditions. For example, if you set the condition that users must view a content topic before they can access a dropbox folder, and then set a condition that they must submit a file to the dropbox folder before they can access the content topic, you have a circular reference. Users can't satisfy either condition without satisfying the other one first, so they can't break into the circle.

Circular references are more likely to occur with long chains of conditions. For example, a content topic that depends on a quiz that depends on a dropbox folder that depends on a checklist that depends on the content topic.

3.4. Avoid impossible conditions

Ensure that your conditions are not impossible for users to satisfy. For example, a condition that users must achieve greater than 100% on a grade item would be impossible (unless bonus marks are available for the item). If users are unable to satisfy a condition, they will be unable to access the content or tools to which the condition is attached.

3.5. Avoid contradictory conditions

Contradictory conditions occur when two or more conditions that cancel each other out are associated with an item. For example, the conditions "User must achieve greater than 49.9% on Grade Item 1" and "User must achieve less than 50% on Grade Item 1" are contradictory. Users could not satisfy both conditions at the same time, so they would not be able to see the item associated with these conditions.

4. Scenarios

4.1. Release content based on learning ability and course performance

You can include additional content in your course specifically for users who need extra help and release this content to users who score below a specified threshold on a quiz or grade item. Alternatively, you could release a special dropbox assignment to course users who attain a high score.

4.2. Release content in stages

To reveal content topics to users only after they have read prior content, attach release conditions on the later topics or modules that require users to view earlier topics. This can provide a clear path through the material and prevent users from becoming overwhelmed by a large table of contents at the start of the course.

4.3. Customize content for groups within a course

If your course has group projects and you want to provide different instructions or resources for each group, you can create separate content topics or modules for each project and attach release conditions based on group enrollment. Group members working on one project will see content related to their work without being distracted by content not relevant to them.

4.4. Use a checklist to organize activities

You can create a checklist that lists the activities users should complete throughout the course. For example, a checklist for the first week might include reading the course's introductory content, posting a message to an introductory discussion topic, and submitting a list of learning goals to a dropbox folder. You can set release conditions based on users checking off items from their checklist. For example, you might release a news item on your course's home page once users check off that they have completed the first week's activities.