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SWAD / OpenSWAD user guide

What is SWAD / OpenSWAD?

SWAD (Social Workspace At a Distance) is a free educational platform that can be used to support face-to-face or blended teaching and includes social networking features.

SWAD offers teachers a space to host the materials of their face-to-face or blended-learning courses and to manage and communicate with their students. If you are a teacher you can create workspaces for your courses. If you are a student, it is possible that your teachers have already created the courses on the platform and in that case, either you have already enrolled in them or you have to apply.

Among other features, SWAD includes access to information about the courses (teaching guide, schedules, bibliography, ...), storage of documents (notes, presentations, problems, lab...), lists and record cards of students and teachers, social network, discussion forums, assignments, self-assessment of the student through interactive tests and individual consultation of grades. Some of its main features are also available as an Android application and will be available in a future app for iOS.

The SWAD platform has been developed and used at the University of Granada (Spain) since 1999, and since 2012 is offered free of charge to other educational institutions through the OpenSWAD.org portal.

How to start

If you have never used SWAD, you can create a new account for free and start using the platform immediately following these 10 steps:

1. Choose the web portal

The first thing to do is choose the right website:

The platform will be displayed in the language selected in the configuration of your browser, as long as it is between one of the 9 languages available. If you want to choose another language, you can do it in the upper right corner of the home page or in PROFILE > Preferences.

2. Create a new user account

At the bottom of the page you will see a box with the title "New on...? Sign up" and a green button labelled Create account.

3. Fill in some mandatory data

Once you have created your account, the platform will ask you for some minimal data to complete your profile. Filling them will take only a minute.

  • The first data that the platform will ask just after creating your account, in PROFILE > Account, is your identification number (ID, passport...). This information is optional, but it is advisable to fill it in because it facilitates the enrolment process of users in courses and the consultation of grades/marks.
  • You must then fill in the data marked with * in PROFILE > Record.
  • Finally, you must fill in your institution in PROFILE > Record > Edit my institution. With this, you have completed the process of creating your user account.

4. Send your photograph

We recommend that you go to PROFILE > Record > Upload photo and send a JPG file with your photograph, in that your face appear well illuminated in front position and the background behind your head is white or very clear.

5. Change your preferences

In PROFILE > Preferences you can change your preferences on language, calendar and dates format, layout, privacy and notifications.

6. Create new courses

Before creating a course, check if it already exists:

If you can not find your institution, centre, degree or course, you can create them:

7. Enrol in courses

When you have found or created a course, go to that course. You will know that you are in the course when you see the name of the course at the top center of the page and the first navigation tab is COURSE. Then click on the USERS tab and inside it in the option Sign up. Choose the desired role (student, non-editing teacher or teacher) and confirm your request. Your application will be reviewed by a teacher or an administrator within a time frame that can range from a few minutes to a few hours. You will be notified when your enrolment is accepted. If it has been around one day after no one has reviewed your enrolment application, repeat the application or contact the teacher or administrator by writing a message.

8. Accept your registration

When a teacher or administrator has reviewed your enrolment application and confirmed it, you will normally receive a notification of enrolment, provided that you have not disabled this type of notification in PROFILE > Preferences > Notifications.

To go to the course in which you requested your registration:

When entering the course, you will see a message asking if you accept the registration, with two buttons:

  • Confirm my enrolment (green)
  • Remove me from this course (red)

Press the green button to confirm your registration. In the upper right, in front of your photo and your name, you will see your role in the course.

9. Enrol students

If you are a teacher in the course, one of the most important tasks to do is to enrol your students in the course or ask them to apply for their enrolment in the course, since without students the courses would be spaces without utility in most cases.

10. Regular work in the course

From this moment, you should be located in the course and start using it normally.

If at any time you want to change your course, the most convenient is to use the drop-down menu at the top center, where all your courses are listed. You can also use PROFILE > Courses for the same purpose.

To learn more about everything you can do once your registration has been confirmed, see the tabs and options inside tabs section.

Hierarchical organization

SWAD can accommodate in a single platform one, several or even thousands of educational institutions. To do this, it uses the following hierarchical structure:

  • System
  • Countries
  • Institutions (universities, academies, organizations, companies,...)
  • Centres (faculties, schools, buildings,...)
  • Degrees (degrees, masters,...)
  • Courses (subjects)
  • Group types (lectures, practicals, seminars,...)
  • Groups (A, B, morning, afternoon,...)

The central element of this hierarchy is the course, which can register several teachers and students.

Roles

Each user has a role of student or teacher at each of the courses in which he/she is enrolled. In addition, some users may be administrators.

These are all available roles:

  1. Unknown: User not logged in
  2. Guest: User not belonging to any course
  3. User: Student or teacher outside of her/his courses
  4. Student: Student in current course
  5. Non-editing teacher: Teacher in current course without permission to edit
  6. Teacher: Teacher in current course with permission to edit
  7. Degree admin: Administrator of the current degree
  8. Centre admin: Administrator of the current centre
  9. Institution admin: Administrator of the current institution
  10. System admin: System administrator (also known as superuser)

Tabs and options inside tabs

The functionalities of the SWAD platform are organized in several groups or tabs.

Each of the tabs contains several functionalities or options, described below. The options in a tab are organized as a menu with icons and text, which can be displayed in a row at the top of the tab or in a column on the left side of the tab, depending on your preferences.

To reach an option, you must click on the corresponding tab and then on the option.

  • First tab, one of the following 6:
    • SYSTEM: Global configuration and administration of countries
    • COUNTRY: Management of institutions of the selected country
    • INSTITUTION: Management of centres of the selected institution
    • CENTRE: Management of degrees of the selected centre
    • DEGREE: Management of courses of the selected degree
    • COURSE: Information and documentation of the selected course
  • Second tab:
    • ASSESSMENT: Evaluation of students in the selected course
  • Third tab:
    • FILES: Uploading/downloading and management of files
  • Fourth tab:
    • USERS: Information and management of groups and users
  • Fifth tab:
    • SOCIAL: Social network, forums, chat
  • Sixth tab:
  • Seventh tab:
    • ANALYTICS: Statistics and monitoring of visits
  • Eighth tab:
    • PROFILE: Personal information of the user identified

Each of the options in each tab is detailed below.

SYSTEM

Global configuration and administration of countries:

COUNTRY

Management of institutions of the selected country:

INSTITUTION

Management of centres of the selected institution:

  • search institutions, centres, degrees, courses, users and documents
  • information about the selected institution
  • listing and editing centres of the selected institution
  • listing and editing departments of the selected institution
  • listing and editing places (headquarters or campuses) of the selected institution
  • listing and editing holidays in the places of the selected institution
  • academic calendar

CENTRE

Management of degrees of the selected centre:

DEGREE

Management of courses of the selected degree:

  • search institutions, centres, degrees, courses, users and documents
  • information about the selected degree
  • listing and editing courses of the selected degree
  • academic calendar

COURSE

Information and documentation of the selected course:

ASSESSMENT

Evaluation of students in the selected course:

FILES

Uploading/downloading and management of files:

USERS

Information and management of groups and users:

SOCIAL

Social network, forums, chat:

MESSAGES

Communication between users:

ANALYTICS

Statistics and monitoring of visits:

PROFILE

Personal information of the user identified: