Check Out the New and Improved Parent Interface, QTI Imports, and More

Contributed By

Dylan Rodgers

Content Strategy Manager and Editor in Chief of the Schoology Exchange

Check Out the New and Improved Parent Interface, QTI Imports, and More

Posted in Schoology | August 02, 2013

While you're gearing up for the fall (or spring) semester, we thought we'd introduce you to three features we've been working on to improve your experience as educators, administrators, and, most importantly for this release, parents.

The New Parent Interface

As educators, and possibly as parents yourselves, you understand the incredibly important role parents play in their children's education. Knowing this, we've been working like mad all summer to redesign our parent interface and provide them more effective ways to support their children. We've done this mainly by improving the way they receive information.

Here's a quick look at some of what has changed:

Parent Home Page

Parents now have an easier way to view what's going in class for one or more children at a time. The My Children page (now simply called the Parent View) used to be just another part of a parent's left side navigation on their user profile. Now their user profile and their parent view are separate.

Parents can switch between their personal and parent views using the Account Menu (the downward facing arrow in the top right corner).  While in their parent view, they can see the activity from all their children in the same school or each one individually using the dropdown menu next to the Account Menu. Everything viewed in the parent view, other than messages, pertain strictly to their children.

Note: Just as before, if you're a parent with children in schools overseen by different system administrators, you'll have multiple personal and parent profiles. This means that you will only see the children associated with one account in the parent view. You can use the Account Menu to switch between accounts and view your children in the other school.

Below is the menu to switch children in the Parent View (left) and the Account Menu allowing parents to switch between their Parent and Personal views along with switching between school profiles (right):

And here's what the Parent View looks like with some new features in red:

Parents can view all the same information as before along with some new information in a much more accessible way.

  • The Student Activity feed now shows Updates, Submissions, Comments, and Grades.
  • On the right above the Upcoming area, parents have an active feed to quickly view student's grades and attendance.
  • Parents can also view their child's activity by their Enrollment in courses and groups using the toggle at the top of the center column.

Some of what parents have access to is determined by permission and privacy settings.

Extended Course View

Parents have always been able to view the Updates page of their children's courses. With this release, they now have "view only" privileges of an entire courses or group with the same basic view as a students. This way they can be better informed in many ways, including the quality of their child's interaction in class.

Parents can see updates, discussions, course materials, and more. They can even view their child's submissions in the Doc Viewer to see all the comments and annotations. Keep in mind that the course admin can dictate what student information parents can see using some new privacy settings. Depending on the settings, parents will only be able to view their own child's name, picture, and activity as shown in these four options:

We've have also made it easier for parents to message course administrators from their course profile and members area. Instructors, you can now send mass messages to all the parents of your students at once.

Parent Digest

One of the coolest aspects to this redesign is our new Parent Digest. Parents can now receive automated email digests of all the activity and important information regarding their children's education. This way, they don't have to continually log into Schoology.

With the ability to customize when and how often they receive their email digest, Parents now have an even more streamlined way to stay informed and active in the education process. The digests can be customized in the notification settings of the Parent View. Check out this snapshot of what the parent digest can look like below:

The full digest includes:

  • A activity breakdown for each child
  • Course summaries complete with recent assignments and assessments, grades, attendance, and comments.
  • A snapshot of what's Upcoming
  • A look at the Recent Activity Feed

One great part is that if the parent wants more information, then they can click any of the blue links and go straight to what they want to know.

Permissions and Privacy

Now that you know how this feature update can increase what parents have access to, I wanted make sure you know that, as course and system administrators, you ultimately have control over the sensitive information of your students.

Using permission settings, system administrators have the ability to turn off parents' ability to view grades, attendance, and submissions of their children. You can also set the default for the parent digest.

There are also new privacy settings in courses and groups allowing course administrators to control what information parents and "visitors" can view. There are two basic options:

  • The ability to make student names and profile pictures anonymous.
  • The ability to hide comments and posts.

These settings, of course, act differently for parents than they do for visitors, so make sure to go to your course or group privacy settings and hover over the clue tips to learn more. You can also read about them in our help article.

Linking Multiple Schoology Accounts

Until now, if you were associated with multiple systems (schools or districts with different Schoology system administrators), then you had to log in separately for each of your accounts. Now, there is no longer a need for that!

You can now link multiple Schoology accounts by navigating to your Account Settings, clicking the "Link Account" button, and entering the other account's login credentials. After the accounts are linked, you can switch accounts via your Account Menu (the downward facing arrow in the top right corner of the page). You can also unlink your accounts at any time.

Parents with children in multiple schools or districts with different system administrators can now sign in once to monitor all their children.

QTI Imports

Another standard from IMS Global Learning Consortium encouraging cross-platform compatibility—LTI Integration and Common Cartridge to name two others—Question and Test Interoperability (QTI) enables you to export questions and assessments from one system that supports the standard and use them in another.

Well, Schoology now supports QTI imports. That means that if you have QTI questions and assessments that you've been dying to use in Schoology, you can. Simply import them into your resources using the Import/Export menu, and you'll be assessing your students in no time!

To learn more about the QTI standard, visit IMS Global's QTI page.

* * *

And that's everything for this round of updates. We hope that these feature updates make your lives as instructors, administrators, and parents a little bit easier.

Make sure to check them out and let's us know what you think. And if you have any questions about them or any others, our Support Team is ready to help you via the community forum. And remember that more details and step-by-step information can be found in our Help Center.

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