zyBooks integrate what previously came from textbooks and homework systems (and for some classes, programming assignment systems too), in a fully-digital and configurable product. This relatively new model poses new challenges, including which content can and cannot be hidden from students.
Students who purchase/subscribe to a textbook generally expect to have access to the full textbook for the entire term. They want the option to read ahead, which has learning benefits, and gives students "agency" over their learning -- an important educational principle. As such, zyBooks generally does not support the hiding of content sections from students. Of course, an instructor can configure a zyBook, and in doing so move some content sections to Unused, but that is intended to be done once before the term -- students never see content in Unused so don't feel "loss", as they still see a "complete" set of chapters for their course.
A few instructors have asked for easy ability to "unveil" chapters to students during a term. But, doing so prevents students from reading ahead. And, students see hidden chapters (or a book with just one chapter) and get upset when they paid for a "textbook" but don't have full access to it. In fact, several years ago one of our engineers introduced the feature for instructors to block chapter access to students, and when some instructors used that feature, students got *extremely* upset (a case of humans' well-known "loss aversion"). Given the pedagogical benefits of reading ahead, the importance of student agency, and the fact that students get upset having paid for "textbook" content they cannot access, we do not provide easy ability to unveil chapters -- in this sense, a zyBook is like a traditional textbook, in which the student can access all chapters.
Instructors also ask if they can hide specific Challenge Activities (CAs) within sections. Our model of CAs is different from traditional homework systems, which might create a large pool of problems from which instructors select a subset to best match their selected content sections and to reduce cheating. Instead, our model is to create just the right set of CAs suitable for homework and integrate those directly into content sections, thus freeing instructors from the selection task, and enabling us to analyze and continually improve the CAs. Plus, we are aggressively seeking to create CAs that generate randomized problems, thus decreasing cheating as well. However, we are still considering the possibility of allowing instructors to remove certain CAs. And, if you only want CAs completed in a certain week or hour or other time window, when you run an "activity report" you can specify a start time, in addition to an end time.
However, instructors *can* hide sections that they authored themselves. This is largely because such sections may still be in draft form, may be used as low-stakes quizzes that should only be available at certain times, etc.
Also, instructors *can* hide sections that are "Lab Activities" (aka zyLabs). This is because those are usually programming assignments, and releasing such assignments too early tempts students to outsource their programming to friends or contractors. It is also because those labs may be in draft form. And because those labs may be used as quizzes or exams.
Note: The "Unused" chapter (invisible to students) does not maintain the original chapter grouping or ordering of the content sections moved there, because Unused is essentially a trash can. If you change your mind, you can move a content section from Unused back into a normal chapter, but such instances are expected to be rare.
How to hide/unhide a zyLab
In the top right corner of every zyLab there is a toggle to set a zyLab's visibility.
What do students see?
When a zyLab is hidden the zyLab section will remain in the chapter structure with a label that says "Hidden". We do this to maintaining the section numbering within the chapter.
When a student navigates to a hidden zyLab, they will see the following.
Can zyLabs be hidden in bulk?
At this time zyBooks does not offer a way for instructors to hide zyLabs in bulk. The zyBooks support team can hide all zyLabs in a zyBook as needed. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know which zyBooks you would like to hide zyLabs in if needed.
Can I schedule a zyLab to be revealed at a specific time in advance?
Yes! We recently introduced a new feature that explains how to schedule zyLabs, you can read more in our help article, Can I set a start date and end date for a zyLab?