Three Quick Tips from Nanci Meza to Start the School Year Right
This is one from the vault, but it's still good, though the Notifications icon is now an envelope, not a gear. Originally Posted on CCSD's Instructional Technology Blog
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As we embark on a new school year filled with new students, new adventures, and new gradebooks, don't forget about the tools and resources available to you in Schoology. Here are three helpful tips to support you as you get back into the swing of things.
Quick Tip 1: Personalizing Your Course Profile
One of the best and easiest ways to personalize your course is to change the profile image. To do this, hover over the image in the upper left hand corner of your course and click Edit Image. This will allow you to add a new image by selecting it from a place you have previously saved it. Google images is a great place to start. Just be sure to use the image Search Tools to change the usage rights to something other than the default which is "Not filtered by license." You can also use a picture of your classroom, your pet, your favorite sports team, or some other image that helps parents and students get a sense of you, your course, and the year ahead.
You may also want to consider having your syllabus posted for the students and parents who are already familiar with Schoology, or those who happen to fall into it by accident. As with most things, the more places you can make this available the more likely it will be seen. Updates are a great place to share a syllabus, welcome letter, or newsletter for parents. To do this, type your update, select "Add a link" or "Add a file" and find the document you'd like to share. Then click "Post".
Another place to add your syllabus would be in the materials section of your course. You can do this in two ways:
- Add the document directly by going to Add Materials and then Add File/Link/External Tool. You can also add a folder to house it with other like items by clicking Add Materials and then Add Folder.
- Embedding the document from a third-party service such as Google Drive. To embed a Google doc, go to the document and click File, Publish, and then copy the embed code.
Go to your Schoology course, click Add Materials, Add a Page, Insert Image/Media, From the Web, Media, paste the embed code, and click Upload Media.
Quick Tip 2: Customizing Grading Categories
In order to get the most bang for your teacher buck, you'll want to set up your gradebook in Schoology before you start creating assignments and assessments. To set up your gradebook, click "Gradebook", and then "Grade Setup" underneath. This is where you can add your categories (homework, assessments, classwork, awesomeness, etc.). Schools that have four quarters to work with may want to consider setting up four quarter categories for the same subject. The benefit of this setup is that a teacher can then narrow their gradebook view to a specific category and time period. See the image below.
Teachers who also utilize PowerSchool for their gradebook may want to consider using the same categories in Schoology that they have in PowerSchool. For more information on using the PowerSchool app in Schoology, check out this video.
Quick Tip 3: Customizing Schoology Notifications
As your students and parents begin to access Schoology, you may find yourself buried in more email than usual. One way to help manage the email explosion is to change your notifications in Schoology. Each user can set notifications for the types of information they would like to receive from the groups and courses they are enrolled in. To edit your notification settings for your course(s) and or group(s), click "Notifications" and select the updates you would like to receive. To change your general notifications, click on the dropdown arrow next to your name and select "Notifications". This will give you the option to change your general settings. Check out this help article from Schoology for more information.
And there you have it: three (hopefully) helpful tips to get you started with Schoology for the year ahead!
Nanci Meza is a District Technology & Learning Coach for Cherry Creek Schools in Colorado. After teaching English for six years, Nanci now supports both teachers and students through instructional and technological training. You can learn more from Nanci on the CCSD Instructional Technology Blog or by reaching out to her on Twitter (@NMezaTechLearn).