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Creating a Lesson Master


In this help page, we will look at creating lesson masters.

A lesson master is an object in JTLanguage that defines how a lesson will be layed out, in terms of which content items it will contain. It can also optionally define what the tree view displays for the lesson, and set other options for the lesson.

By referencing a master when creating a lesson profile, the created lesson will be set up with the content items and and other options set up in the master. Then, you just have to go in and fill in the actual content in the lesson content items. This will save you lot of time, as otherwise, you would have to create the individual content items.

These masters can also be used for courses, groups, and plans. In this case, the main idea is to set up content items that serve as placeholders for study items collected from lessons contained in the course or group. Note that the collected study items are not actually stored in these study lists, but are collected on the fly internally. If you don't need this feature, you can create your courses and groups without a master.

As an example, I'll walk you through creating a lesson master that will create lessons with three content items, a YouTube video lesson media content item, and words and sentences study list content items.

The Masters List

The "Teacher->Masters" menu path will cause the masters list page to be displayed. This page displays the masters you've created, and can also display other teachers' masters as well, selectable via the "Show master templates for teachers" drop-down menu.

Masters page
Masters list page.

The button links at the bottom are for navigation and various operations on the masters list.

Creating the Lesson Master Profile

We'll click the "Add master" button link at the bottom of the "Masters" page. This brings up a page for setting up the profile for the master.

Add master page
Add master profile page.

For our example, I'll call my master "John's Vocabulary Master", with a description string of "Creates a lesson with a YouTube video and Words and Sentences study lists."

I'll leave the other fields at the defaults.

The special "Target Languages" and "Host Languages" items in the language fields specify that when the master is used to create a lesson, group, or course, it will get the languages from the current profile. Alternatively, if the master will only be used for a specific language set, you could set up those languages there.

The "Markup Template" field could be used to select a markup template that specifies a layout for the main lesson page, which might be stored as a reference link to an existing markup template you created previously, or defined as a "(local)" template, meaning a local markup template is created and embedded into the master. The "Copy Markup Template" field will copy the referenced master to the local template.

The "Public" field determines if other users can see the master when listing the masters for the teacher.

Click "Save" to create the master profile. The main page for the master will be displayed, showing that no content or menu items have been created yet.

Empty Master page
Empty master page.

Adding Master Content Items - YouTube Video

A master content item defines how a content item will be created when using the master in a lesson, group, or course creation. You can use it to set up for the created content items the default content type and subtype, title, description, languages, markup template, and other options either in general or specific to the selected content type.

To add a master content item, click the "Add content item" button link in the master's main page. This will bring up a page for editing the master content item's profile.

Initial master content item profile page
Initial master content item profile page.

The master content item profile page that appears will show the content type and subtype for the last master content item you created, if any.

Don't be too intimidated by the complexity of this page. A lot of the time, after setting the content type and subtype, you can just leave the rest at the defaults and click "Save". When you change the "Content Type" field, the profile page will be redisplayed with the default options for that content type and subtype. The bottom part of the page, after the "Save" and "Cancel" button displays the master information, so you can see what you created previously.

We'll change the settings to set up the media item for our master that displays a YouTube video and references words and sentences study lists. I'll set a content type of "Video" in the "Content Type" drop-down menu field. This will cause the page to be redisplayed with defaults for a video media item. I'll also change the "Content Subtype" field to "Lesson", indicating that the media item has the purpose of representing the whole lesson. Note that while the value selected for content type can pretty important, as it informs JTLanguage about how to display and manage the content, the subtype chosen is not so important, but serves to differentiate between possible multiple content items with the main main type, and also as a descriptive label.

Displaying a YouTube video is not the default, so I need to also change the "Player source" field to "YouTube". Also, instead of the default of referencing "Text" and "Words" text content items, I'll change this field to "Words, Sentences", typing it in directly. These are the "key" values for these study lists, a string by which content items are identified. A default key is created for content items based on the content type and also possibly the sub-content type.

Video master content item profile page
After setting up the master content item profile settings for a YouTube video media item.

I'll leave the rest as the defaults and click "Save". The master main page will be displayed again, this time showing our created master content item for a Video media content item.

After adding the video item
The master page after adding the video media master content item.

The buttons to the right of the content item can be used for editing the master content item profile, inserting a new item before this item, moving the item up or down in the list, deleting the item, or adding a child content item.

Adding Master Content Items - Words Study List

To add a master content item for our "Words" study list, we'll click the "Add content item" link again on the master page. Note that if you wanted to insert the master content item before an existing item, you could click the (Insert) button. We could also later reorder items using the (Move up) and (Move down) buttons.

In the master content item profile that appears, we then change the content type to "Words", and the content subtype to "Vocabulary". This sets up defaults for the other fields, including a title and description, and a default key value based on the content type. Note that if we had multiple study lists with the "Words" content type, it would add numbers to the key value to make it unique in the lesson.

words master content item profile page
After setting up the master content item profile settings for a Words study list item.

I'll leave the rest as the defaults and click "Save". The master main page will be displayed again, this time showing our created master content item for a "Words" content item.

Adding Master Content Items - Sentences Study List

Adding the "Sentences" master content item is done just like we did for the "Words" master content item, except that we select "Sentences" for content type. The rest of the fields are left at the defaults.

Creating a Master Menu

The master can also specify what content items are listed in the tree control panel, their labels, and in what order they appear. This is defined by a list of master menu items, shown in the "Master Menu Items" section of the main master page.

Most of the time, there's no need to create a master menu. By default, the tree control will just display tree leaves for the content items in a lesson that support the languages set up in the current user profile. If for some reason you wanted to change what is displayed, such as the order or titles shown for the items, you could set up a master menu that defines the tree layout for just the lesson, group, course, or plan that references the master.

The manual process of creating a master menu is to add individual menu items using the "Add menu item" button link. This brings up a page letting you set up the text displayed for the menu item, and which content item to select, identified by the content item's key, content type and content subtype.

Add menu item page
Page for adding a menu item.

As a short cut, alternatively you could click the "Create menu from content" button link, which will create a menu based on the master content items currently defined. Then you could edit or rearrange it as needed.

I personally have never found a need to create a master menu, but the mechanism is there if you need it.

Setting Lesson Options

The master page shows a "Master Option Descriptors" fieldset. This is for setting up some additional options for a lesson. These options will show up in the "Lesson Options" page for individual lessons. Get to this page for the actual lessons via the "Lessons options" link in the "Lesson Information" panel in a lesson's main page.

At present, the only default option descriptor set up is the "OtherTeachersCanEdit" option, which sets the initial state of the option of this name in the lessons, groups, or courses created with the master. The available values for this option are "Yes", "No", and "Inherit". "Inherit" means that the setting of this option in an ancestor node determines the value. Note that there is also an option for this in the Home->Settings page for your current user profile that can override this for all your courses.

You could add additional option descriptors for options that you could check in a markup template for the lesson main pages. Otherwise, there is no other use for these descriptors at present. Additional default options might be added in the future.

Copying Lesson Masters

The "Copy master" link at the bottom of the master page takes you to a page where you can select and copy from an existing master, either one of your own, or that of another teacher. Copying from other teachers' masters is allowed, but don't do so if the master has something relatively unique that might be considered as intellectual property, such as a special markup template layout. Don't check the "Public" checkbox, if you really don't want your master copied, but I encourage you to be open with such content.

Importing and Exporting Masters

The "Import" and "Export" button links at the bottom of the master page or the masters list page let you import or export lesson masters. You can use this to backup or restore masters. It's probably a good idea to backup your masters.

Creating Masters for Groups, Courses, and Plans

There is no difference in creating masters that can be used in Groups, Courses, or Plans. However, you might want a slightly different master content item list. For example, in masters for Groups, Courses, and Plans you might only want study list items that collect the child study lists. Otherwise you could use the same masters for Groups, Courses, and Plans that you use for Lessons.


In this page, we've taken a look at what a master is and how to create one. Take a look at the masters created under my "JTLanguage" account for some additional examples. Do this by selecting "JTLanguage" in the "Show master templates for teacher" drop-down menu field of the masters page.

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