Unit set up

Unit set up

There are many different factors to setting up a unit in iLearn. Through the iLearn system you can manage staff access, create, and edit calendars, add blocks, and format your unit page. Explore the links below to learn how to accomplish these different features effectively.


Blocks allow you to build your unit by adding different functions and activities to it. Blocks appear down the right hand side of the unit.

Available blocks include:

ActivitiesDisplays links to all available activities in the iLearn unit.
AnnouncementsDisplays links to recent announcements made.
CalendarDisplays a monthly calendar that can be used to highlight important dates e.g. assessment due dates.
CommentsEnables comments to be made and displayed.
Echo RecordingsDisplays a link to the Echo Center to access lecture recordings.
Unit ReadingsDisplays a link to unit readings.
HTMLIs a blank block that you can customise for your own purpose. You can use this block to display information particular to your online unit e.g. Unit convenor contact details.
PeopleDisplays a link to students participating in the iLearn unit.
Quiz ResultsDisplays the highest and/or lowest grades achieved on a quiz.
Random glossary entryDisplays an entry from the glossary. This changes daily.
Remote RSS FeedsDisplays links to feeds from external websites.
Test StudentsAllows you to create test student accounts.
Unit & Teaching evaluationObtain information about student experience of a unit.
UnitsDisplays links to all iLearn units you have access to.
Upcoming eventsDisplays future events in a summarized list. The number of days in advance is determined by the calendar _lookahead setting.
Voice AuthoringDisplays any individual audio recordings uploaded.
Voice EmailEnables Voice Emails to be created.

add block 2

Adding a block

  1. Click Turn editing on.
  2. Locate the Add a block block in the column on the right hand side of the screen.
  3. Use the dropdown menu to select the block you wish to add.
  4. The new block will appear in the right hand column of the unit.

Moving a block

  1. Click and hold your mouse on the Move icon Blocks2 in block you wish to move.
  2. A solid line will appear around the block.
  3. Drag the block to its new position and release your mouse.  The page will reload with the block in the space you have selected.

Editing a block

Once placed, you will need to edit your new block.  If you do not, the block will have no content and students will not be able to use it for the purpose for which it is there.

  1. Click on the Actions icon and select Configure.
  2. Complete the relevant fields that are displayed when you click on the icon.

Click Save changes.

Mass Actions Block

The Mass Actions block allows you to delete, move, duplication, hide and indent multiple pieces of information within an iLearn unit.  Once you have added the Mass Action block, the block appears down the right hand side of the unit when you Turn editing on.

Adding the Mass Actions block

  1. Click Turn editing on.
  2. Locate the Add a block block in the column on the right-hand side of the screen and select Mass Actions from the dropdown list.

  3. The Mass Actions block will appear in the right-hand column of the unit.


Perform an action on everything in a topic

  1. To perform a Mass Action on all the content within a topic click on Select all in section and select the topic from the dropdown list.
  2. Click on Outdent or Indent to move all the content in the section left or right.
  3. Click on Hide or Show to hide or show all the content in the section.
  4. Click on Delete to delete all the content in the section.
  5. Click on Move to section and select another topic from the dropdown list to move all the content into that topic.
  6. Click on Duplicate to section and select another topic from the dropdown list to duplicate all the content into that topic.

Perform an action on individual items

  1. To perform an action on individual items click on Turn Editing on and a box will appear next to all the content in the unit.
  2. Tick the items that you would like to perform the action on.
  3. In the Mass Actions block select the action you would like to take.  That action can be to either Outdent, Indent, Hide, Show, Delete, Move to section or Duplicate to section.

Deleted something by accident?

When you delete something it is possible to retrieve it up to 7 days after it was deleted.  After 7 days, the content will be permanently deleted.

  1. Click on Tools \ Unit Administration and click on Recycle Bin.
  2. Locate the file that you would like to restore and click on Restore.
  3. The restored item will be returned to your unit in the same location it was deleted from.

Calendar: Highlighting important dates for students

The calendar block can be enabled in your online unit to highlight upcoming events for the course. Events can be assessment due dates, session start dates, and other administrative dates that are worth noting.

Add the calendar block

  1. Click Turn editing on.
  2. Locate the Add a block block in the column on the right hand side of the screen.
  3. Select Calendar for Add…
  4. The calendar block will appear in the right hand column of the unit.

Calendar features

  1. Links to previous month and next month
  2. Monthly view block with significant dates highlighted
  3. New event button to add an event to the calendar
  4. Event key block showing event types
  5. Event details can be viewed by clicking on the start date of the event
  6. Preferences button to customize the calendar settings
  7. Export capability
  8. Individuals can enter their own User events

Event types

There are four event types defined for calendar: User, Unit, Group, and Global.

  1. A User event will only be visible by the user currently logged in (i.e. the person who created the event).
  2. A Unit event will be visible to users enrolled in the unit. Only users with the capability to manage calendar entries at the unit level can add unit events.
  3. A Group event will be visible to a particular Group (assigned from the Group event list).
  4. A Global event is visible in every online unit. Only users with the capability to manage calendar entries at the system level can add site events.

Add an event in the calendar

  1. Locate the calendar block and click on the month link.
  2. Click on the New event button located above the current month block.
  3. Assign Type of event from the available options. For a group event you will need to assign a Group event i.e. the name of the group the event is applicable to.
  4. Enter a short Name for thenew event.
  5. Enter a Description of thenew event.
  6. Select the Date and a Duration (if applicable).
  7. Click Save changes.

Highlighting a topic or week

Highlight topic allows you to highlight a week/topic in your unit so that students can easily keep track of which information and activities are current.

Highlight topic is shown by the lightbulb icon on the left hand side above each topic after editing is turned on.

To highlight a week/topic:

  1. Click Turn editing on.
  2. Search for the week/topic you wish to highlight.
  3. Click on the Lightbulb icon above the topic to highlight the week/topic. You can only highlight one week/topic at a time.

Managing staff access to iLearn

You can add or remove other teaching staff to your iLearn space via iTeach.



If you cannot find the person you are trying to add to your iLearn space, they may be new to the University and their account may not be ready. Please raise this as an access issue via OneHelp under the iTeach category (Learning and Teaching Systems > iTeach).

If you have student tutors, they would normally have two accounts – staff and student. They should be using their staff account to access the iLearn space as a tutor. You can only find individual staff via iTeach.

Access iTeach:

  1. Log into iTeach.
  2. Enter your MQ OneID and Password.

To add or remove staff:

  1. Click on My iLearn spaces and locate the iLearn space where you wish to add or remove staff.
  2. Click Edit under the Actions column.
  3. Locate the Teaching Staff section and click Edit. This is now a repeat of the steps found in Activating an iLearn space.
  4. In the Staff Name field, enter the staff member’s name. You will notice that the system will try to predict the name you are entering. Once you find the right person, select by clicking on their name.
  5. Assign Role from the available options.
  6. Click Add Teaching Staff and the staff member’s details will appear in the list above.
  7. Click OK .
  8. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Update this iLearn space.

Student Tracking Reports

The reports and participants menus allow you to track student access, activity and other useful statistics in your unit. The menu you will see in the reports sub menu will depend on the report context and the permissions of your current role.

Participants - to check the last access of students in a unit:

  1. Go to the Navigation block.
  2. Select the unit you wish to look at by clicking on the small arrow next to the unit heading.
  3. Click Participants.
  4. Last access column shows the time elapsed since a user has accessed that particular unit only.
  5. Assign Inactive for more than from the available options to check for users who have been inactive for that specified period of time.

Participation report - to check students’ participation in specific activities or resources:

  1. Go to the Tools block.
  2. Select Reports.
  3. Click Unit Participation.
  4. Assign Activity module from the available options.
  5. Assign Look back from the available options to check the activity within a certain timeframe.
  6. Assign Show only from the available options to limit the users shown to a specific role (eg student).
  7. Assign Show actions from the available options to look at users’ posts, views or both to track viewing of activities as well as participation.
  8. Click Go.

Activity report - to check and compare the views of activities:

  1. Go to the Tools block.
  2. Select Reports.
  3. Click Activity report.
  4. This report allows you to see the views on specific activities (this is all views not just students’) as well as the last access by anyone to the activity or resource.

Statistics - to view statistics on unit access and activity:

  1. Go to the Tools block.
  2. Select Reports.
  3. Click Statistics.
  4. This report allows you to see a number of unit statistics. Assign Report type from the available options depending on the roles and activities you wish to view statistics for.
  5. Assign Time period from the available options you wish to view statistics for.
  6. Click View.

Course activity logs - to view in-depth logs of course activity:

  1. Click into a resource or activity in your unit such as a quiz or assignment.
  2. Go to the Tools block.
  3. Select Logs.
  4. This will display the list of logs for that particular resource or activity. You can then use the available options from the drop-down menus to search the logs for other resources and activities in your unit.

Switch Role to Student: Viewing your unit as a student

You are able to temporarily switch to and from any of the other roles available. There are five different roles:

  1. Convenor
  2. Lecturer
  3. Tutor
  4. Student
  5. Observer

This is particularly useful to test your unit from the studentview.

To change to a student:

  1. Go to the Tools block.
  2. Select Switch role to…
  3. Click Student.

Test students: Testing your unit as a student

You will be able to access a student view of your iLearn unit by using the Test Student block interface. This is handy for testing the look and feel of your unit as a student, as a student within a group that you have setup, and test functionality of activities.

To add the test student block:

  1. Click Turn editing on.
  2. Locate the Add a block block in the column on the right hand side of the screen.
  3. Select Test Students for Add…
    test 1
  4. The Test Students block will appear.
    test 2
  5. Click on the Create new test student link to add a test student.
  6. A link to login as the test student will display within the Test Students block.
    test 3
  7. To add another test student, click on the Create new test student link again. There can be at most 3 test students enrolled in your unit.

To log in as a test student:

  1. Click on the link to a test student.
  2. Click Continue.
  3. You have now logged in as the test student.
  4. If you wish to return to your normal role, you will need to log out of iLearn and log back in.

Adding a Unit and Teaching Evaluation Block for Online Surveys


Evaluation of learning, teaching and curriculum is an integral component of the University's quality enhancement framework and accountability obligations. The findings of evaluation processes inform our assessment of where we are succeeding and where we have opportunities for improvement.

Student feedback can play an important role in this process, enabling convenors, teachers, and planners and leaders obtain information about the student experience of unit and teaching at a number of levels, linking it to reflective practice, action and quality enhancement.

At Macquarie, surveys are created by the Teaching Evaluation for Development Services (TEDS), part of the Learning & Teaching Centre. Surveys are initiated by requests made by unit convenors, lecturers, and tutors. TEDS uses a software program called EvaSys to create and manage the surveys.

Once a survey has been created, it can be linked to your unit by adding the Unit & Teaching Evaluation block.

How to add a Unit & Teaching Evaluation block

  1. Click Turn editing on.
  2. Locate the Add a block block in the column on the right hand side of the screen.
  3. Use the dropdown menu to select Unit & Teaching Evaluation.

  4. The Unit & Teaching Evaluation block will appear in the right hand column of the unit.


Students View

Once the survey has been connected to the unit, the link to the survey will appear in the block. Your students simply need to click on the link to complete the survey.


AttentionUnless you are a student enrolled in the unit on Student One, you will not be able to see the link even if you have changed your status to student in iLearn.

Activation and de-activation

The block will become visible to the student once you activate it but, until the start date of the survey it will show “You have no outstanding surveys…”. For this reason it is recommended that you not activate the link until the survey start date otherwise it is unlikely to catch the attention of the student even when the survey is live.

Students will continue to receive notification emails at the commencement of the survey and a reminder email, sent approximately a week before the survey closing date, for students who have not yet completed the survey.

Attention Once the link is set up you will be able to view it when you access iLearn as “student”. As your own email address is not in the survey system as a student the link will show that you have no active surveys. However, the link will be live from the students’ point of view.

Unit Format: Formatting the weeks/topics in your unit

Your unit is divided into different sections with the layout determined by the unit format you have chosen. There are three most frequently used formats: topics, collapsed topics and weekly formats.

Topics format

The topics format organises the unit into different numbered sections. You can edit the title and number of topics. Topics can be added throughout the unit as needed. Topics in this format cannot be collapsed.

Collapsed topics format

The collapsed topics format is the same as the topics format above, however each topic can be collapsed and expanded by either clicking on the arrow located on the left of each topic or by clicking anywhere on the topic heading bar. This feature allows faster navigation and a neater finish to your unit, particularly if each topic contains a lot of content.

Weekly format

The weekly format organises the unit into weeks with dates. You can select the start date and the number of weeks you require. (Note the system does not allow for the mid-semester break). Weeks can be added throughout the unit as needed.  You can change the unit format as many times as you like.

To set your unit format:

  1. Click on the Tools block.
  2. Select Edit settings.
  3. Click to expand Unit format and Appearance.
  4. Format – Select your desired format from the dropdown list.
  5. Number of sections – Select the number of weeks/topics you would like in your unit. You can come back and change this at any time.
  6. Unit layout – Choose whether you want students to have the option to display just one section per page. If you do, choose Show one section per page; otherwise, choose Show all sections on one page. 
  7. Force theme – If you would like your topics to be numbered, select your faculty name_numbered (e.g. arts_numbered) from the drop-down list. If you do not want numbered topics, select faculty name_unnumbered.]
  8. Click Save changes.

How do I change the number of weeks/topics in an iLearn unit?

  1. Go to the Tools block and select Edit settings.
  2. Assign Number of sections from the available options.
  3. Click Save changes.

How do I delete weeks/topics from my iLearn unit?

  1. Click Turn editing on.
  2. Move the week/topic (you wish to delete) to the end of the list by using the Move icon.
  3. Go to the Tools block and select Edit settings.
  4. Change the Number of sections from the available options. To remove the last week/topic you will need to reduce the number by 1.
  5. Click Save changes.

When you return to your unit’s home page you will notice the week/topic will have disappeared. If the week/topic contained any unit content then these will show up in an invisible week/topic called Orphaned items. You can choose to ignore these or move them to an available week/topic for use.

Topic 0

Topic 0 is the first section that appears in the list of sections in your unit. This is a permanent section that cannot be removed.

Topic 0 can contain elements such as a heading, a welcome message, an image, announcements, unit guide, or anything else you want your students to see first when they land on your unit page.

Week/Topic heading and summary

Your topic name can be customised to reflect the theme or content for that week or topic.  This makes it easier for students to navigate the unit. The summary text prepares students for the activities within each week/topic. You can also include links, images and other multimedia using the HTML editor. The summary appears on the unit page under the week/topic name.

To edit a week/topic heading and summary

  1. Click Turn editing on.
  2. Click on Edit and select Edit section.  
  3. Un-tick Use default section name.
  4. Enter a Section name.
  5. Enter the Summary you would like to include using the HTML editor.
  6. Click Save changes.

How do I restrict access to a topic by grouping?

This feature allows you to restrict access to the contents of an entire topic to a particular grouping you have created within your unit. For example, you might have different activities for internal and external students in your unit and create topics devoted to each group. This feature is also handy in co-taught units where different resources and activities must be released to postgraduate and undergraduate student groups.

To restrict access to a week/topic by grouping:

  1. Click Turn editing on.
  2. Click on Edit and select Edit section.

  3. Click to expand the Restrict Access heading.
  4. Click Add restriction and assign a grouping name from the Grouping restriction.
  5. Click Add restriction again and add restrictions for, Date, Grade, Group, User profile, Restriction set (if required).
  6. Click Save changes.

Summary of iLearn Roles

There are different roles that can be assigned in iLearn. These roles exist in one of three defined contexts: unit, category, and system. This information sheet is designed to inform iLearn users of the varying grade and type of functionality each role possesses.

Within a unit context, roles are defined by the level of control each role has to create/modify content and participate in an iLearn unit.

iLearn Convenor

Convenors can:

  • edit unit content including the ability to add/edit content
  • modify some unit settings
  • edit unit structure and layout
  • import content from other units
  • change the delivery language of the unit and view the resulting unit
  • deliver courses
  • interact with students
  • assess student work
  • enrol tutors or Lecturers via iTeach

When an iLearn unit is set to be read-only (at the end of a session) then this role reverts to Lecturer (read-only). See below for further details.

Note that: the Convenor role does not automatically designate a person the iLearn Convenor role. It has to be added in iTeach through the My iUnits Tab.


Lecturers can:

  • edit unit content including the ability to add/edit content
  • modify some unit settings
  • edit unit structure and layout
  • import content from other units
  • change the delivery language of the unit and view the resulting unit
  • deliver courses
  • interact with students
  • assess student work

Lecturers cannot:

  • backup units
  • enrol users (via iTeach)

When an iLearn unit is set to be read-only (at the end of a session) then this role also reverts to read-only with the following capabilities.

Lecturer (read-only) can:

  • view all unit content and activities, including any interactions between other members of the unit (such as discussion forum posts), assessment task submissions, and Gradebook

Tutors can:

  • deliver units, which have already been set up by a Lecturer or Convenor
  • interact with students
  • assess student work

Tutors cannot:

  • edit unit content, settings, structure, or layout

Markers can:

  • deliver units, which have already been set up by a Lecturer or Convenor
  • interact with students
  • assess student work

Markers cannot:

  • access the gradebook

Students can:

  • participate and view activities including any interactions between other members of the unit (such as discussion forum posts)
  • view all unit content
  • view their assessment task submissions, and their results in Gradebook if the lecturer has allowed this

Students cannot:

  • edit unit content, settings, structure, or layout
  • view the class Gradebook

When an iLearn unit is set to be read-only (at the end of a session) then this role also reverts to read-only.

Students (read-only) can:

  • view all unit content and activities, including any interactions between other members of the unit (such as discussion forum posts), their own assessment task submissions, and Gradebook entries.
Observer – Read Only

Observers can:

  • view all unit content and activities

Observers cannot:

  • view any interactions between other members of the unit (such as discussion forum posts)
  • view the Gradebook

Within a category context (e.g. faculty, department, centre), roles are defined by the level of access to iLearn units each role has (or requires to have) as determined by their work needs.


Executives can:

  • view all unit content and activities, including any interactions between other members of the unit (such as discussion forum posts), assessment task submissions, and Gradebook

Supporters can:

  • view and edit any unit within a category without needing to be an enrolled member of the unit
  • see any student contributed content and grades

Supporters cannot:

  • enrol users
  • create units

Managers can:

  • view and edit any unit within a category without needing to be an enrolled member of the unit
  • see any student contributed content and grades
  • enrol users
  • create units
Learning Designers

Learning Designers can:

  • add in LTI tools into iLearn spaces as well as login as users for support.

Within a system context, roles are defined by the level of support that is required to be provided to iLearn users by the University.

iLearn AdminiLearn Admin has the equivalent permissions to Managers, but also with the ability to edit the front-page content, the My iLearn page, manage categories and manage units

What Not to Do in iLearn - What to Do Instead

This list has been compiled as a source of information to assist you with your unit design. What Not to Do in iLearn highlights some of the common design mistakes made and how you can avoid making them yourself.

Topic Zero

What Not to DoWhy Not to Do ItWhat to Do Instead
Keep your Topic Zero frozen in timeYour bio and detailed welcome message may be great for Topic Zero in Week 1, but by Week 10 students are probably getting a little tired of scrolling past it.Hide the intro label after the first couple of weeks (so you can unhide it again easily next time the unit runs), or construct a concise introductory message that will stand the test of time.
Leave unused icons and content in Topic ZeroTopic Zero is your unit's reception desk. Leaving stuff lying around will make it look like a site under construction.Think of Topic Zero as your welcome area - it needs to be clean, efficient and welcoming.
Do the double logoIncluding a Macquarie or Faculty logo in Topic Zero just repeats what is already displayed at the top of the iLearn pageInclude an image that represents your unit.

Visual Design & Layout

What Not to DoWhy Not to Do ItWhat to Do Instead
Upload a bunch of content within a single TopicA large amount of content in one Topic will lead to endless scrolling. This can be annoying and overwhelming for your students.Try using other resources to nest content. For example an iLearn Book or iLearn Pages.
Use fluoro coloured textOn a white background, fluoro coloured text is hard to read. 
Attempt to align content to the middle by indentingContent display differs from computer to computer, so this won't work and can make iLearn content hard to read.Use centre alignment.
Leave placeholders showingLeaving visible placeholder images and text from your Faculty iLearn template is the easiest way to make your your unit look disorganised and it's confusing for students.Replace, delete or hide.
Use extra large font size for paragraphsThe normal font size is normal for text. If you increase the text size, you will lose space to read the content properly.Paragraphs of text should be in paragraph format. Headings (not paragraphs) should be formatted using the preset heading types Heading 1 to 6. Using these heading types will help you achieve a consistent look.
Create an icon (e.g. Lecture) in a Label and hit EnterYou end up with the icon repeated, which doesn't look good.After you have created an icon, ensure the Styles option is returned to Styles. Refer to the HTML Editor: formatting content quick guide for more information.
Create a long list of links or filesIt can make it hard for students to find what they need.Use logical headings to group files or links under.


What Not to DoWhy Not to Do ItWhat to Do Instead
Leave students in the dark about how to contact youIf you don't let students know your preferred channels and times for contact, you'll make a lot more work for yourself answering unwanted emails or checking Forum posts. Plus, access to teaching staff is an area that scores low in student evaluations.You don't have to be available 24/7, just be clear on when you are available, how best to contact you and how often you check online forums.
Keep the smiley face as your profile pictureIt's the same smiley face that your students will have if they can't be bothered uploading a profile picture. Need we say more?Camera shy? If you don't want an actual picture of yourself, personalise your profile with another image that represents you.
Use a Dialogue to send out what is really an AnnouncementWhen you create a dialogue and select All Participants, iLearn will open up one dialogue per student. This is perfectly fine if you would like to engage in an individual conversation with each of your students. But you will end up with x number of individual dialogues that you will need to reply to and close (where x = number of students in your unit).Make an Announcement instead. Announcements are for broadcast messages, whereas Dialogues are for one-to-one conversations.
Use the first Forum post to provide detailed instructions for how to use the ForumWhen an iLearn unit is copied, user-generated data, including all Forum posts, will not come across into the new unit.If you have detailed Forum instructions that you may want to re-use next time the unit runs, include them in the Description when you set up the Forum. This also applies to some other iLearn activities. Refer to the Reusing activities quick guide for more information.
Set up a Single Simple Discussion Forum type for groupsSingle Simple Discussion Forum type doesn't work with groups.Try using another Forum type for example a Standard Forum for General Use. You will be able to use groups with this Forum. You may also want to give your students some guidelines on keeping the Forum on topic.

Images and Video

What Not to DoWhy Not to Do ItWhat to Do Instead
Copy and paste imagesThe image is carried across as a link and depending where the image sits whether it is accessible or not will be transferred to the users (also depends on users' access). This could happen to any content in the unit - even in Quizzes.Upload the image.
Insert an image without checking the file sizeUsing unedited images - such as those transferred directly from a digital camera - may result in large files that are unsuitable for web use. No matter how you resize the image on the web page itself, users have to download the full file. This can lead to long download times and your iLearn site slowing.Where possible try to reduce your image file size to under 100kB. Resize images using an image resizing tool before uploading.
Use images that take up a lot of space on screenImages that take up too much space compared to the rest of the information give the illusion of missing content, and can also destroy the layout of content on the screen.Resize images using an image resizing tool.
Insert an image without entering a clear descriptionImages without descriptions can't be read by screen readers, so are not accessible to some users.Include a description of what the image represents e.g. "graph representing Australian PIB in 2011" OR "photo of convener first name last name"
Upload large videosAs does large images give the illusion of no content on the screen, so do large videos uploaded to iLearn.Allow users to download the video instead of embedding videos, or have both options.


What Not to DoWhy Not to Do ItWhat to Do Instead
Neglect to show the file sizeFile size should be provided so students can decide whether to download or not. Some students may not have large bandwidth.Write the file size next to the file name e.g. Lecture 1 Handout (25MB)
Upload files as Word, Excel or PowerPointSharing PowerPoint, Word, Excel or other files types can sometimes be difficult for participants who may not have that particular software.Where possible, try to upload files as a PDF to share with participants. Adobe Reader is free software readily downloadable so accessible.
Using a mixed method approach to presenting assignment informationUploading one piece of information as a Page, another as a Label, and the next as a PDF for example, makes it unclear that the files are all part of the same set of information.Be consistent with file types. Decide which type you're using, and why!


What Not to DoWhy Not to Do ItWhat to Do Instead
Just call your Quiz 'Quiz'Giving vague names to iLearn Activities and Resources can cause students to submit the wrong assignment or complete the wrong Quiz by mistake. It can also make it difficult to identify which activity is which in Gradebook.Give the activity a specific name. Quiz should be renamed Week 5 Quiz: XXX (topic or chapter numbers) for easy identification.
Duplicate a QuizUsing the Duplicate button will duplicate the Quiz activity. However, the questions that are associated to that Quiz actually live in a question bank. This means that if you try to edit the questions in the new Quiz you are actually also editing the question in any other Quiz that is using those questions.Create your new Quiz from scratch.
Disallow Late submissions in TurnitinIf the default setting for late submissions in Turnitin is set to No, this means that students can no longer submit anything after the due date/time. This causes angst and frustration for students.Set this setting to Yes. Turnitin will mark any late assignments red in the Turnitin submission inbox and each assignment has a timestamp that allows convenors to gauge just how late the assignment was submitted.
Set up a Restrict Access Date in lieu of a Due Date when first setting up a Turnitin AssignmentThis means that students can no longer access the Turnitin link after the due date. Firstly, this means that students can no longer submit after the due date. Secondly, it means that students cannot access their feedback (where papers have been marked using Feedback Studio.)The correct way of setting up the assignment is to use the Start/Due/Post date function once the tool is setup.
Use Quiz for Essay Type submissionsQuizzes have a Paragraph question type that allows participants to enter a body of text as their answer. Attempts over 2hrs are problematic and attempts will time out.Try to set expectations for the paragraph question by instructing participants to limit their words to a short paragraph. Set the Quiz to under 2 hours to help avoid the time out. Limit the number of paragraph type questions as they require manual marking. And finally if possible try using the Turnitin or Assignment submission activity instead of the Quiz for these types of questions.

Unit Design

What Not to DoWhy Not to Do ItWhat to Do Instead
Have inadequate signposting in your unitAmbiguous or inadequate signposting and instructions for students mean that their learning pathway isn't clear. This wastes time, causes undue stress, and can lead to student disengagement. Staff will be burdened by unnecessary emails or phone calls from students to clarify 'what it is they need to do'.Labels can be used to indicate the learning pathway. Include a call to action in the file names that are uploaded, URLs, labels etc. For example, rather than entering Assignment 5 in the Name field, write something more descriptive e.g. Click here to access and submit assignment 5.


What Not to DoWhy Not to Do ItWhat to Do Instead
End your iLearn session by closing your browserIf you close iLearn this way without logging out, you risk letting unauthorized users into your unit.Always log out. Hover your mouse over your name on the top right of the screen and click on the Logout.

iLearn Style Guide

The iLearn Style Guide contains guidelines to help you make your iLearn unit user-friendly and accessible for all students, and to assist you to comply with copyright obligations. For ‘how-to’ instructions, please refer to the appropriate iLearn Quick Guide as indicated.

Introducing Yourself

Your profile, communication, contact details.

iLearn Profile

Personalise your iLearn profile by uploading an image that represents you, as this helps to create social presence in the unit. A small version of your profile picture will appear next to your forum posts.

More help:  Profile: managing your personal information and email notifications

Communication Channels

Devote some prominent space to letting students know the best way to contact you. Be clear on the times when you are available, whether you prefer email or the Dialogue tool, and how often you check online forums.

Teaching Staff Contact Details

Include contact details of the teaching staff active in the unit. One way of doing this is by creating a Teaching Staff Block on the unit home page.

More help:  Blocks quick guide

Teaching Staff Contact details

Topic Layout

Topic Zero

Unlike other topics, the top section of your unit (Topic Zero) is not collapsible. Minimise the need for students to scroll by keeping your Topic Zero concise and free of clutter. Remove unused content and consider moving some content to lower topics.

Make sure your Topic Zero content is current. If you include a welcome message at the start of the course, consider making this a label or a block that you can hide after the first couple of weeks.

Be aware that a large banner image can take up valuable screen room. The recommended maximum size for a banner image is 800 pixels wide and 200 pixels high, or for another image in Topic Zero, 400 pixels wide and 300 pixels high.

Do not use a University or Faculty logo as a banner image as that is already built in to the page; choose an image that represents your unit.


Other Topics

Use a meaningful section name for each Topic or Week. Include a short summary to prepare students for the activities within each topic or week.

Keep the layout consistent across Topics or Weeks. Order content and instructions logically. If you have a long list of links or files, group them and use headings to make them easily scannable.

Replace, delete or hide any unused images, text or icons from the iLearn template.

Make sure that you hide Topics you are not using and be aware that orphaned activities are not necessarily hidden from students.

More help:  Unit Format: Formatting the weeks/topics in your unit


Adding Content

File Uploads

File Size

Always show the file size and the format, e.g. Lecture 1 Handout (PDF, 25MB).  Some of your students may not have large bandwidth, and they should know the size of a file before downloading it. Currently the default setting in iLearn is for this to be displayed automatically; this should not be changed.

More help:  File: uploading content

File Formats

Sharing PowerPoint, Word, Excel or other files types can be risky, as some participants may not have that particular software. Where possible, try to upload files in the universal format of PDF.

Create accessible PDFs by converting directly from software like Word, rather than by scanning printed material.  You can partly test whether a PDF is accessible by selecting text with your cursor and copying and pasting it. If you are unable to copy or paste the text, the document is an image PDF and cannot be read by text-to-speech software.

Note: While you can create PDFs from Powerpoint, the images may not be accessible and content could be out of order. It is preferable to use a word processor-based PDF for your lecture notes.


When uploading files, the fundamental copyright question to ask yourself is: “Are you the author of this work?” If the answer is ‘yes’ then you may use your work freely. If the answer is ‘no’ then you need to attribute the author and source of the work using your preferred referencing system. In the case of material sourced from the internet, the URL is sufficient if you can find no other citation for the material. If the work was sourced from electronic journals or electronic books from the Library then you need only provide the citation and URL link to this material (preferably the Digital Object Identifier or DOI).

Using eReserve is required under the provisions of the Copyright Act Digital Amendment 2000 and is best practice. Using eReserve also means that you don’t have to become a copyright expert, as library staff can check and source the material and make sure that it aligns with the various requirements for different types of material such as images and text, sound and recordings.



Image Description

Provide a good description for your image that gives alternative information if a user for some reason cannot view it. A word like "photo" or "graph" alone is not a helpful description.

More Help:

Image Format and Size

Upload images properly in an image format such as jpg, gif or png. Image data should not just be copied and pasted into labels and summaries.

Resize images and compress for use online before uploading; they should only be as big as they need to be. Uploading images in their raw state and resizing them in iLearn can result in very large file downloads.

Image Attribution

Attribute all images (even if they are your own) using your preferred referencing system.

If the image is from the Creative Commons site, check the licensing requirements at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/.
Include a caption with the attribution for each image, rather than relying on the Description field, which won’t appear if the image is printed.




In most cases, there is no need to select a font: the preset styles take care of that for you. If you do feel you need to change the font, choose a clear legible one. Verdana, Helvetica or Arial are recommended.

More Help:  HTML Editor: formatting content


Good use of headings makes it easier for readers to skim the page and find the content they need. Use the correct heading hierarchy to help structure your content. For all headings, select a heading style via the 'Paragraph' drop down menu in the html editor.

Use normal font size for paragraphs, and never make a whole paragraph bold or italic as this makes it harder to read. Also, don't turn paragraphs into headings just to make them stand out.


Colour blindness is quite common, so don't use colour on its own to convey meaning.

Black text on white background is easiest to read for those with average eyesight. In particular, don’t use fluoro or pale colours for text on a white background as they are hard to read. Use the preset colors in iLearn.


For maximum readability, align text on the left hand side. Only centre text in a heading and don’t attempt to centre align by indenting.


Keep paragraphs short. As a guide, online text should only be about a third the length of the equivalent printed information. Break up longer passages of text with white space, images or headings.


Use icons sparingly and consistently, for example to draw attention to particularly important information or features. Icons in headings can confuse users into thinking they are clickable.


Only use tables where necessary; in general that means when you need to display tabular data. Check that they read horizontally from left to right by using the ‘Tab’ key.


If creating your own videos, as a general guideline it is beneficial to have them formatted in the following way: maximum width of 640, maximum height of 480, MP4 H.264, AAC audio and Bit rates around 500kbps. Saving a recording in mono rather than stereo results in a file size half that of the stereo equivalent.

Provide transcripts for audiovisual material to ensure they are accessible. Bear in mind that audio content may not be accessible for those that are deaf or hard of hearing, however audio descriptions are useful for those with visual disabilities.

More Help:

All video and multimedia must be attributed. If the material is copyright protected then the University has a Screenrights licence (Part 5A) and an images / text licence (Part 5B) administered by the Copyright Agency Limited (CAL). These licences allow ‘works’ to be used for educational purposes in restricted ways, as it always depends on where the work was sourced i.e is it a commercial copy, was it recorded from TV or radio, is it still available commercially – the answers to these questions will decide what can and cannot be done with the video / multimedia in iLearn.

It is also important to note that there may be different copyright material in the same video, for example, the words could be separate from graphics or other visual images thus there are then two or more authors instead of one.

Lecture Recordings (Echo360 Active Learning Platform)

Creating teaching material with Echo360 Active Learning Platform can have significant copyright implications and requires you to have a clear understanding of the different types of intellectual property that may be being used in your lectures. Use the 'hold' or 'suspend' button when giving an Echo360 Lecture at times when you are using spoken voice, broadcast material, print and other works, music, movies and TV shows in your lecture.

More help:  Echo360 Staff Resources

Unit Guides

Your iLearn Unit must include a link to the publically available Unit Guide in the iTeach system.  Refer to the Unit Guide Policy in order to determine what has to be included in your Unit Guide and what can be optionally provided in ilearn.

More Help:

Linking to External Content

Ensure all links to external content are current and operational. If you are not the author of the content, consider your copyright obligations (see section on Uploading Files).

More Help:  URL: adding a weblink

Link from meaningful text so that users know where the link will take them and can skim the page more easily. For instance, use "download assignment 1" as the linking text. Don't just link from "click here" or "more" or from a URL itself.

When linking to websites outside your iLearn unit the default setting is for the link to open in a new browser window. For the sake of consistency, it is best not to change that, but it is also advisable to warn the user e.g. "Link to website (opens in new window)."

Setting up Activities

Giving Instructions to Students

  1. Clearly state the task and its specific requirements.
  2. Provide short, direct instructions in a numbered, logical order.
  3. Be consistent with each instruction, using the same sentence structure where possible.
  4. Only personalise instructions if this does not interfere with the
  5. Include an example if possible.
  6. Troubleshoot by including how to manage common problems or issues.
  7. Use diagrams to improve clarity where possible.
  8. Test your instructions and ask someone else to follow them without your help, before you give them to your students.

Make sure your students are aware of the iLearn Confidentiality and Privacy Statement, as well as the Acceptable Use Policy.

Labelling Activities

Giving vague names to iLearn Activities and Resources can cause students to complete the wrong activity and make it difficult to distinguish between activities in the Gradebook. Give each activity a specific name. A "Quiz" could be renamed "Week 5 quiz: XXX (topic or chapter numbers)".

Include a call to action in the file names that are uploaded, URLs, labels etc. For example, rather than entering Assignment 5 in the Name field, write something more descriptive e.g. “Submit assignment 5”.


Provide clear instructions. Use a label either above or below the Turnitin link to guide students. Use the Description field in order to provide all details relevant to this assignment (submission, assignment details, due date, word limit etc.). Ideally, students shouldn't need to seek information elsewhere. Provide a link to the Student Guide on using Turnitin. Provide your Rubric as PDF next to Turnitin link if applicable.

More Help:

Considering Future Re-Use

It is important to remember that when an iLearn unit is copied, the structure of an Activity will copy across to the new version, but all of the user data added into the activities by staff and students such as forum posts, glossary entries and database contributions, will not be transferred.

More Help:  Reusing activities by importing and exporting activity content

This only affects ‘Activities’ because they are designed to be learning tools for students to engage with and populate with content. Student-generated information is also considered private and therefore not transferred in keeping with the University’s Confidentiality policies. ‘Resources’ on the other hand (e.g. File, Book, URL etc) do not have user-generated data and are designed to be moved from one unit to another.

iLearn Unit Checklist

A quick check of how your iLearn unit measures up to the Style Guide.

Introducing Yourself

  • Preferred communication channels are defined
  • Contact details of teaching staff are provided
  • A current welcome message is included as a label or block
  • iLearn Profile image has been uploaded

Topic Layout

  • Topic Zero is concise, current and free of clutter
  • Topics are named and have a consistent layout
  • Unused or obsolete text, icons or labels are hidden or deleted

Adding Content

  • Link to Unit Guide is provided
  • Links to urls use meaningful text
  • Text is concise and broken up into chunks
  • A heading hierarchy is used to structure text
  • Preset fonts, text styles and text colours are used
  • Text is left-aligned
  • Images have a useful description
  • Images are sized appropriately
  • All external content and images are attributed (author and source)
  • Files are provided as accessible PDFs where possible
  • File size is visible for all files
  • Echo Block is enabled if required
  • Copyright implications of Echo material have been considered
  • Transcripts are provided for multimedia material
  • Video and audio is uploaded in the correct format
  • All third-party readings and materials are accessed through eReserve
  • Links to websites are functioning, relevant and up-to-date

Setting Up Activities

  • Clear, consistent instructions on how to use Activities are provided to students
  • Activities have been given distinct and specific names
  • Students have been made aware of Acceptable Use Policy and Privacy & Confidentiality statement
  • Description fields have been completed for Turnitin assignments
  • Ability to re-use Activities in future has been considered
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