What is the difference between a Copy and a Reference?
Thijs Gillebaart avatar
Written by Thijs Gillebaart
Updated over a week ago

Exercises can be linked to multiple subjects. This allows the user to easily make a selection out of an existing list of exercises within a subject to create a course specific subject with a subset of the exercises without copying all the exercises. To do so, the user will be asked whether they want to make copies of an exercise or whether they want to reference to an exercise. In this article, we will explain the differences between copies and references in Grasple.
Let's first set the scene: you want to alter a subject to make it course specific, and you start by copying a subject. To do so, open the subject you wish to alter, click on the 'edit' button, and select 'copy' in the top right corner.

This will give you a pop-up screen with the following message:

As you can see, the default mode is that the new subject wil contain copies of the slides, and references to the exercises. But what does that mean exactly?
The copies are basically new items, with new IDs but with identical content. These items are completely separate from the original items, meaning that any changes in the original items will not be carried out in the new items.

On the other hand, a reference is simply a link to the original exercise. Meaning that the original exercise is still located in the original subject, but is linked to the new subject. This entails that any alterations in the original item will be visible in the referenced exercise in the new subject, too. You do not have edit rights to the exercise itself, but you can edit the set of exercises; you can add, remove, and replace exercises in your new subject.

Let's go back to the subject "Variables" in the screenshot. If you now press the green 'Copy Subject' button, you will get a new subject with copied slides and references to the original exercises. However, you can also opt to copy the exercises by checking the box in the pop-up message. By doing this, you create completely new and separate exercises (with new IDs). Generally, we advise against this, since it will break all the relations between the originals subject and your new subject.

Now the question is: when do you use a copy or a reference? In this article, you can read more about the different scenarios in which you will encounter the choice between creating copies and referencing to exercises, and what our recommendation is.

Any questions about this? Please feel free to contact us using the chat box in the bottom right corner of the webpage.

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