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Frequently-Asked Questions about Using CTools


Click for answers:

 I can't find the tab for my class!

How do I add a tool after I've created my site?

How do I give an external user access to my site?

Why aren't I getting CTools announcements and email?

Why can't my students see my site?

Where can I find information about the newest CTools tools and features?

I'm having trouble with my browser's back button.

What is the difference between a course site and a project site?

How do I set up a course site or project site?



 I can't find the tab for my class!

Students, any classes you have registered for in the current term will automatically show up as a course site tabs (links) when you log in to CTools (unless the instructor is not using CTools).

Two common misconceptions:

1. In order for students to access materials for a course, each student has to create a course site for that course. Only instructors can create course sites and students registered for the course are automatically granted access to the instructor-created sites.

2. Students must join a course site for a class they've registered for. Once registered, a student is automatically added to the official course site for that class.

If you do not see the tab for a course site you are looking for, it's usually because:

A) The site's tab is not visible because it's in your CTools "drawer," which is the panel that appears when you click More Sites on the blue banner across the top of the CTools screen (see tabs in the drawer here).

B) If you recently registered for the class, there may be a delay of up to 24 hours before the change in the registrar's database is reflected in CTools. If you need immediate access to the site, you will need to have your instructor manually add you to the site.

C) The site has not yet been created or the instructor has created the site but not published it. You will need to check with your instructor about these possibilities.

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How do I add a tool after I've created my site?

Adding tools is part of the process of creating a course or project site. You can also add and remove tools after your site has been created, whether you have published your site or not. Click here for step-by-step instructions on adding and removing tools after a site has been created.



How do I give an external user access to my site?

External users need to set up a friend account prior to using CTools. Site owners can then add them to their sites. This process is explained here: Friend Accounts



Why aren't I getting CTools announcements and email?

Typically this happens because of one or both of these reasons:

Sender -- When the sender created the announcement, he or she did not choose the option to have it generate an email notification. (See Step 8 in these instructions for creating announcements.)

Recipient -- You (the recipient) have set your announcement notification option so you will not receive emails designated as low priority. (Look here for information about setting your notification preferences. Be sure to scroll down to see all the notification options.)

These solutions also work if you experience notification email problems for new resources, syllabus changes -- wherever you can send notifications in CTools.

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Why can't my students see my site?

This is usually because the site has not been published (look here for information about publishing a site after it has been created), or because the site's tab is in their "drawer," which appears when you click More Sites in the blue banner across the top of the CTools window. (Look here for more information about tabs and other reasons students might not be able to see your site.)



Where can I find information about the newest CTools tools and features?

Information about new tools and features can be found as follows: click Help at the bottom of the left-hand menubar to open the Online Help and then click CTools Version 2.9 in the help's table of contents.

Also, information about new tools can be found under either Standard Tools or External Tools in the Online Help's table of contents, and, with most tools, you can click the Help button in the upper-right corner of the main window while you're using a new tool to see the help for that tool.

Around the time of an upgrade, there are also links to information about changes on the CTools gateway, and in "messages of the day" on the Gateway and in My Workspace.

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I'm having trouble with my browser's back button.

Please don't use your browser's back button.

In CTools, the back button won't always render the desired results. Please use the navigation buttons in CTools (e.g., Next, Cancel), instead.

Exception: Your browser's back button does work in the Online Help Guide.

CTools also has a reset button to the left of the tool's name when the tool is open. Clicking this button will return you to the tool's first (home) page.



What is the difference between a course site and a project site?

Because they are intended to facilitate communication and learning between students and faculty instructors, course sites are more restrictive in terms of access permissions within the various tools. In contrast, in keeping with their collaborative nature, tools access/permissions on project sites are generally available to all site members. Some tools that are designed strictly for course sites (e.g., Assignments) are not available on project sites.

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How do I set up a course site or project site?

There are two ways to access the site creation feature: click the little guy with a gear icon in the upper right of the CTools banner, or go to My Workspace if you're not already there. Click Worksite Setup in the icon's drop-down menu or in the left-hand menubar in My Workspace. Select the type of site you would like to create, and follow the on-screen setup steps. (Note: Only instructors can set up official course sites.) Additional information about setting up sites can be found in the Online Help: Setting up and Publishing a Site

























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