Friday, August 14, 2015

Schoology Tips & Tricks - Update #1 - Gradebook, Student View, and More

Happy Friday!

I hope all of you enjoyed you first week of school. This year as we roll out Schoology I plan on sending out weekly Top 5 lists based on emails, feedback, and help tickets. Below are the 5 Schoology Items You Need to Know for the of August 17, 2015.

1. Configuring Schoology Gradebook
One of the very first things you need to do is configure your Schoology gradebook with categories and weights (if you use them). All gradebook configuration is done by clicking on Gradebook followed by Grade Set Up. Amanda also created this handy screencast that will walk you through the steps.

2. Adding Items to the Gradebook
Once you have your gradebook all set up you can start inputting grades for assignments. Any Assignments, Quizzes, and Discussions will automatically appear in your gradebook from when you created them in your course materials page. If you have items you would like to add that don't necessarily have a digital component just choose "Add Grade Column" from the dropdown menu in the gradebook. Additionally, check out the Gradebook portion of the Schoology Instructor Guide. You will find it quite helpful.

3. Setting Up Online Discussions
A few of you have asked me how to set up online discussions. These are great tools for facilitating online conversations, have students preview and discuss a video or article, and even as a forum for submitting work and getting feedback from peers. The Discussion section of the Instructor Guide has lots of step-by-steps for setting up discussions including how to enable them so that a student must post before viewing any one else's content.

4. Tools for Viewing as a Student
Often it is handy to see what things look like from a student view. You have two options for making this happen depending on your instructional goal.

  1. View Course As - Just below the course icon photo there is a Course Options dropdown menu. Here you will see "View Course As" and you will be automatically taken to a menu where you can select one of your students and view the class as if you were that person.
  2. Demo Accounts - Each academy has their very own demo account. You can use these for creating screencasts, tutorials, or other helpful resources where you really need to "embody" a student account. The login information for these was sent in an email on August 13th. It should still be in your inbox.

5. Customizing Your Schoology Profile
Schoology profiles are a wonderful tool for modeling positive digital footprints for all of our students. I know that many of you have started exploring the NCS Schoology Profile Guidelines and Launch Guide, but take a few minutes to build out your own profile. Include a professional photo, biography, and description of why you are passionate about teaching. Amanda even created a handy screencast for doing this!

Bonus Item! Advisees
Did you know that you can easily see how an individual student is doing in all of their classes? Click on Advisees on the left side of the screen (just above App Center), type in a student's name and click through the tabs across the menu (Current, Calendar, Grades). This is available to all teachers and administrators.

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