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Creating Group Types

Instructors and course managers can create groups, displayed as tabs, to help organize course content. How instructors and course managers create content and structure a course can determine the types of groups you choose to create and therefore how iTunes U populates the groups within a Course page.

Instructors and course managers can create the following types of groups within a Course page:

To create a Simple group:

  1. Make sure you are editing a Course page (click Edit Page in the Tools area).

  2. Click the Add icon in the tab controls section to create a new group.

  3. Type a name for the new group.

  4. Choose Simple from the Type pop-up menu.

  5. Click the Save icon in the tab controls section to save the new group.

A Simple group populates track content in a Course page when users explicitly upload tracks to the course in your iTunes U site.

To explicitly upload tracks to the course, click Upload And Manage Files in the Tools area of the Course page.

To create a Smart group:

  1. Make sure you are editing a Course page (click Edit Page in the Tools area).

  2. Click the Add icon in the tab controls section to create a new group.

  3. Type a name for the new group.

  4. Choose Smart from the Type pop-up menu.

  5. Choose one of the following from the Rules pop-up menu:

    • All. Indicates you want iTunes U to combine rules and search for tracks that match all the rules you define.

    • Any. Indicates you want iTunes U to search for tracks that match at least one of the rules you define.

  6. Choose the criteria you want to search from the pop-up menu.

    You can choose one of the following criteria: Title, Album Name, Artist Name, Comment, Course Description, Group Name, Course Name, Information, Keywords, Description, Lyrics, Kind.

  7. Type the criteria text you want to match. For example, you can create a rule with the criteria that “Title matches physics” or “Artist Name matches John Smith.”

    If you selected Kind as your criteria, choose Audio, Video, Audio or Video, or PDF from the pop-up menu to indicate the media file type(s) you want to match.

  8. Click the Add icon to add more rules and combine rules to refine your query, or click the Save icon to save the rule.

  9. Click the Save icon in the tab controls section to save the new group.

A Smart group displays tracks in a Course page by performing a search of your site for all tracks that match the criteria you specify. Because iTunes U performs a real-time search, tracks displayed in a Smart group can change each time users access the group.

To create a Feed group:

  1. Make sure you are editing a Course page (click Edit Page in the Tools area).

  2. Click the Add icon in the tab controls section to create a new group.

  3. Type a name for the new group.

  4. Choose Feed from the Type pop-up menu.

  5. Provide details about the new Feed group using the fields and options provided:

    • Feed URL. Type a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) 2.0 full podcast feed URL. To verify that an RSS podcast feed URL is unique, iTunes U checks the Globally Unique Identifier (GUI), and then checks the podcast title.

    • Security. If the podcast feed URL is protected by HTTP Basic Authentication, choose HTTP Basic Authentication from the Security pop-up menu and specify a username and password in the fields provided. iTunes U uses the credential information to authenticate both the podcast feed URL and the actual content when users attempt to download content.

    • Signature. To enable download authentication, choose Append SHA-256 Signature from the Signature pop-up menu. iTunes U appends a SHA-256 Signature to both the podcast and enclosure URLs. Specifically, iTunes U appends: time=${TIME}&userID=${USER_IDENTIFIER}&signature=${SIGNATURE}, where:

      • ${TIME} is the time, in seconds, when the URL was generated. Specify time as the number of seconds from the epoch (midnight January 1, 1970), normalized to GMT.

      • ${USER_IDENTIFIER} is the unique identifier (userIdentifier) passed to iTunes U in the identity string for the user who created the Feed group.

      • ${SIGNATURE} is the SHA-256 signature based on the string containing the first two arguments ('time=${TIME}&userID=${USER_IDENTIFIER}'), signed with the shared secret used in your transfer script.

    • “Check for changes.” To check the feed for updates on a daily basis, choose Daily from the “Check for changes” pop-up menu and provide an email address in “Feed owner email.” iTunes U uses the email address to report errors when the non-interactive check of the podcast feed URL fails for any reason. When these periodic checks fail 10 times, iTunes U stops checking the feed and no longer updates the group content.

      To manually update a podcast feed, edit the group and click Apply. iTunes U creates new tracks for new items, updates existing tracks, and deletes tracks no longer included in the podcast feed.

    • Status. Displays the status of the last attempt to update the group’s content from the specified podcast feed URL.

  6. Click Apply to save changes.

    • Click Revert to revert any changes you made since the last save.

  7. Click the Save icon in the tab controls section to save the new group.

  8. Click End Editing.

Note: iTunes U creates a copy of your RSS feed and automatically populates your Feed group track content based on the copy of the podcast feed URL and the details you specify. When users subscribe to the feed, they are subscribing to the copy, not your RSS feed directly. Because iTunes U uses a copy of your RSS feed, iTunes U cannot update Course page track content at the same time the RSS feed is updated. If you choose Daily from the “Check for changes” pop-up menu, iTunes U can update the Feed group content on a daily basis.



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