Table of Contents Setup Tips

What is a Table of Contents?

When creating a Portfolio, users are required to select a Table of Contents, which provides the Portfolio with a specific structure for navigating to their Assignments/Key Assessments. Users will then add content (files, text, etc.) to the Portfolio and submit work for assessment via linked Assessment Instruments.

One way to approach the organization of a Table of Contents is to group together related critical learning tasks either by course number or their relationship to a standard, benchmark, or transition point in the curriculum. The goal is to make clear to the student where their work should be situated in the Portfolio.

Planning to Integrate Chalk & Wire with your Learning Management System (LMS)?

IMPORTANT NOTE: If your institution plans to integrate your Chalk & Wire assignments/key assessments with your Learning Management System (Moodle, Blackboard, Sakai, etc.) it is strongly recommended that you DO NOT duplicate an assignment/key assessment across multiple Tables of Contents in your Chalk & Wire system.

Listing the same assignment/key assessment in more than one Table of Contents means you will to have to create more than one assignment/key assessment activity within this course in your Learning Management System. Students will then have to select the one that applies to them. This can lead to confusion for your students and/or the submission of work via the wrong Table of Contents.

If you have a number of assignments/key assessments that are common to multiple program areas, it is advised that you create a separate Table of Contents for these shared courses and assignments/key assessments. All students that take these courses, regardless of program area, will use this Table of Contents to submit the work. This way, you will only have to create one activity for each assignment/key assessment in your Learning Management System. Furthermore, if any changes are required to the directions or to the assessment instrument in Chalk & Wire you will only need to make these changes once in this Table of Contents, instead of across all Tables of Contents that contain this assignment/key assessment.

Develop a Draft

Develop your draft of each Table of Contents as a simple outline in a word processor or spreadsheet first. This will allow you to arrange and rearrange the elements quickly, and to test the titles you give to the main sections and sub-sections with others. Show it to colleagues and also to students. If asked to put a specific assignment into the Portfolio, are they able to quickly identify the location in your draft outline where it should go? If not, revise until they can do this.

Remember, above all, this Table of Contents is not for you, but for the students and observers of their work, who usually do not possess your expert vocabulary or in-depth understanding of the inter-connectedness of the concepts inherent in your field.

Limit Section Levels

While Chalk & Wire supports an infinite number of layers of sub-sections in a Table of Contents, bear in mind that the more layers you have, the more difficult it may be for users to locate the correct sections to add their work to and submit from. It also adds to their frustration when Table of Contents sections are not linked to Assessment Instruments and are simply used as placeholders for creating subsections. We strongly urge you to develop Tables of Contents that have only two levels: main sections and their related sub-sections where work will be attached/placed.

Keep Section Labels Short

Keep the section labels short, but descriptive, to facilitate navigation of the Portfolio. It is recommended that main sections not be longer than two to three words, sub-sections only slightly longer. Assessment Portfolios (those used for data collection only) should reference the course or Assignment name. Section names in Developmental Portfolios should reference the Outcomes that they apply to.

Consider Size

If the Table of Contents has a very large number of main-sections consider breaking the Portfolio into several Portfolios. This will make the requirements look less daunting, and may well reflect natural partitions of the program either in content or sequence of delivery.

Provide Resources

You should have resources readily available diagramming or indicating somehow to the students where their work needs to be situated in the Portfolio structure. A far superior course of action is for Portfolio creation to be an integral part of the curriculum, so that both the students and faculty understand the process and the underlying rationale.

Accessing Information and Resources

Consider what page specific, on-screen instructions, organization of titles for text entry, and access to supporting resources a user might need to increase their understanding of what is required. On the Portfolio page, we can automatically show the Instrument linked to that page and any related/linked Outcomes so that the student can see how they will be assessed, and can understand the ultimate goals of the Assignment. In addition, you can add special instructions, titles, questions and even resources to the work page using our “frame” building tool provided in the TOC edit screens for administrators.