Five Simple Ways to Set Up Your Courses: The Back-to-School Essentials

Contributed By

Dylan Rodgers

Content Strategy Manager and Editor in Chief of the Schoology Exchange

Five Simple Ways to Set Up Your Courses: The Back-to-School Essentials

Posted in Pro Tips | September 13, 2016

No matter how long you've been using our platform, by this point in the year you must have spent some time building out your courses. And now that you are familiar with the basics, we thought it would be beneficial for you to see a few different ways of structuring your courses.

On Schoology, your courses are much more than content repositories—they're your virtual classroom experience—and the way you set them up determines how and with what tools your students can interact with all that great instructional content you've worked so hard to provide. So as you design and tweak your courses, take a little time to explore the possibilities.

And just to get your brain percolating, here's a short list of five simple approaches to course setup.

The Updater

The Updater approach is where you designate the Updates feed as the course landing page. In other words, Updates are the first thing anyone sees every time they navigate to your course. This puts emphasis on communication and works well in classes where plans change often or where students need to be consistently informed of the day-to-day plans.

You can set your default landing page to Updates by going to the Course Options directly underneath the profile picture on the left. Select Edit Privacy/Course Settings from that menu and then go to the bottom of the page.

The Chronos Plan

This approach refers to courses where the materials are organized in chronological order. The folders are labeled by week, month, quarter, etc. and help to organize the flow of the course for you and your students. Schoology also enables you to easily Publish/Unpublish individual materials or even Hide/Show entire folders (using the Availability function) so your students know exactly where to go every time.

Check out the Chronos Plan below:

Block by Block

Some educators prefer to segment their courses by block or unit rather than chronology. If you would eventually like to move to a chronological model, this is a great first step to get a feel for the timing of your lessons. It can also help students conceptualize their lessons individually and in the bigger picture.

The Multi-Subject Approach

Probably most applicable for educators at the elementary level, the multi-subject approach organizes everything by subject (Bet you didn't see that one coming!). Organizing your course in this fashion can streamline the navigation for your students and provide you an easy way to practice different instructional methods and track how your students respond.

For instance, the mathematics folder may contain more frequent assessments where as science contains more discussions and group-projects.

Notice how this example is a mix between Subject and Chronological organization.

Pace Yourself

Our last example of how you might set up your courses is the self-paced model using a tool we like to call, Student Completion. Using this tool, you can designate in what order you want your students to learn new concepts or start projects, select the criteria of completion, and even track your students' progress.

You can set Student Completion rules using the Options menu in the top middle of your course's Materials page.

Pacing themselves gives students a great lesson in time management and academic responsibility. This model also allows you to more easily discern how to tailor instruction for your students' learning strengths.

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Well, those are the five I came up with. What course designs do you use?

P.S: If this blog left you with a thirst for more Back-to-School Essentials, check out our Beginner's Guide to Using Schoology

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