Getting a mental model of how Learn deals with files

One of the most common things lecturers do with Learn is upload files and make them available to students. However, it’s easy to misunderstand how Learn deals with this process. This page explains how a common misunderstanding comes about, and then presents a more accurate model.

1. Say you’ve got files on your computer that you want to put on Learn:


2. It’s a common misunderstanding to think that you’re uploading the files directly to your course page, like this:


3. You’re actually uploading them to a behind-the-scenes area called the Content Collection:


4. The file you see on the course page is a link to the file in the content collection, like this:


Or this:



What does this mean?

For one thing, it means deleting uploaded files from the course page doesn’t delete them from the Content Collection.

In other words, if you click delete here:


…you’re only deleting the link to Prof XYZ’s slides. The file will still be there in the Content Collection.

To illustrate this, we can go to the Content Collection via the left-hand navigation here:


And the file will still be there:


This means the Content Collection can turn into a real mess unless you give it some attention every now and again.

Getting an accurate mental model of how Learn deals with files is also important if you want to upload multiple files simultaneously.