Six New Features that Will Help You be a More Flexible Educator
Flexibility is an important part of life, especially when it comes to education. Those of you who are educators know you need to be able present information in numerous ways, change teaching styles to accommodate student needs, stay true to the curriculum, and still keep track of all that's happening.
Our goal at Schoology is to give you the ability to do what you want, to be creative, and to implement new ideas easily. Today, we have added five new features (and one coming soon!) that will help you be a more flexible educator, whether that means having more time or more platform capabilities.
New Features for Everyone
Rich Text Updates and Discussion Posts
We've all heard the old adage, "It's not what you say—it's how you say it." That is true in so many ways, which is why you and your students now have more flexibility in how you share your thoughts and ideas.
Updates (Personal, Course, and Group) and Discussion responses now have rich text options enabled. This includes:
- Text Formatting (Bold, Italics, and Underline)
- Bulleted and numbered lists
- Indent and outdent
- Expand/reduce text box window (in the bottom right corner)
These tools will help you and your students to express yourselves in writing more effectively. They can also be great learning tools. For example, students can practice citing works in Chicago, APA, or MLA style.
So when discussing the parallelism between the spice melange in Dune (Herbert 1965) and our modern dependence on oil, your students can reference any number of works in any style with confidence.
Reminders for Resubmitted Assignments
Reminders, those little notes in the top right corner of your page are quite useful when staying on top of grading student work. Well now, reminders are even more effective because they'll tell you when a student has resubmitted an assignment as well.
This way when a student needs to redo an assignment, you'll know exactly when they turn it in and you'll be able to view and grade it quickly.
Improved Support for Common Cartridge
We are constantly working to improve how Schoology works with third party tools and content, and we have just released an update that enables you to export assignments from Schoology as a Common Cartridge package. So now you can export all Schoology Resources—other than media albums and SCORM packages—in the Common Cartridge (IMSCC) format.
You can export resources from the same place you import them: the little downward facing arrow menu in your Personal Resources.
Replacing the Material Index Coming Soon
Based on the community feedback and support questions we've received, we are currently redesigning the Material Index in Schoology courses (see below). This new layout will make it easier to create and organize course materials. It will also allow you to create materials at the "root" level, meaning they'll appear outside of the folder inline without being filed away in the index.
The new materials layout will work in basically the same way as it does now, and your courses will still have all their content, settings, and student completion rules. The major difference is that any existing course materials currently not organized in a folder will be automatically placed in one for added functionality, as shown below.
You'll also have a Materials Filter (a re-imagined Material Index) available at the top of the page.
1. Current Material Index | 2. New Folder Layout
After the change is live, any time you create a new material and choose not to place it in a folder, the material will appear at the root level as shown below:
Why Would We Replace the Materials Index?
If you do not currently use folders to organize your materials and course structure, this relatively small change will have a big impact on you and your students. For instance, your materials will be organized in much the same way as before, but you can now take full advantage of folder benefits. This includes:
- The expandable tree structure for quick and easy course navigation and management
- The ability to create content inline
- Drag and drop reordering
- The ability keep materials organized when saving your courses to Resources
- Student Completion Rules for self-paced learning and progress tracking
- The ability to keep a large amount of materials organized and easily accessible
New Features: Enterprise Only
Ability to Set Your Institution's Default Language
System Administrators, you can now set the default language for your school, district, college, or university! This simplifies the setup and implementation processes, making it easier for educators and students who are new to the system to hit the ground running. It is also just another way to keep your learning environment consistent across the board.
To set a new default language, go to System Settings and scroll down to Default Language. Use the dropdown menu to set your institution's default language to:
- English (UK)
TIES SIS App Integration
If you use TIES SIS, then you can now automate data provisioning between Schoology and your SIS using our custom app. Our custom built app can save you and your faculty time by automatically transferring user, course, roster, and grading period data from TIES SIS to Schoology for an easier way to administrate large numbers of students let alone numerous schools.
If you want to integrate TIES SIS with Schoology, reach out to your Schoology representative to start setting it up.
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That's all we have for this feature push. The flexibility these updates provide will enable you to accomplish more on the platform. So take a moment and boldly go where no person has gone before with rich text updates and discussion posts. For all you language geeks out there, like me, this is going to be fun!
Also, feel free to let us know what you think here on the blog or on Twitter (@Schoology). And if you have any questions, please reach out to our Support Community or submit a request to our Support Team.