Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Creating Assessments In Schoology


As educators, we are constantly assessing our students.
In the 22 years that I have been in district 113,
the word assessment has come up so many times and in so many settings
that it is evident that it is critical to what we do. We need to be doing ongoing
assessments to adjust our teaching, to determine how and when to
differentiate for our students, to help give feedback and communicate
how our students are progressing. To many, the word assessment means “test”
and sometimes that is true. It is a tool that has to do with how we evaluate our
students’ learning and alter our teaching.
As I continue to work with teachers in each subject area, I can see that teachers
give assessments in so many different forms, shapes, and sizes. Fortunately,
Schoology can handle the wide variety of options and has robust tools to suit many
different needs. Here are the basic steps to get you started.

Start off in your course, sandbox course, or resources. If you are going to use
the assessment right away, go ahead and start in your current course. Click Add Materials
and then go to Add Assessment.

A box will pop up prompting you to name the assessment and set some parameters,
such as when it will be available to students, points, category, etc. Here is one that
I am currently creating for Biology Survey.

After you click the blue Create button, you will be on the Set Up page.
This is where you can enter instructions that the students will see. You also have
many settings to choose from including if you want there to be a time limit, if you
want students to be able to go back and edit their answers before submitting,
and if you want questions to be randomly ordered.

Then, click Questions to begin writing assessment questions. You have the typical
options such as multiple choice, true/false, and fill in the blank; but you also have
some interesting choices like label an image, drag and drop, and highlight hotspot.

As you create questions, you will also enter the correct answer and give certain
parameters at the question level. For example, you can have the options in a
multiple choice question shuffle for each student. When you are done with the
question, you can click Preview Question to see how it will look to your students.  
When you have it looking the way you want, click the blue save button.

To see an overview of all of the assessment question types, check out the

Once you publish to your students, you will be able to see all of the data right
there on the same screen by clicking Student Attempts. No need to enter grades
into the Schoology gradebook or calendar, when you publish to your students it will
show up there automatically.

Have you experimented with assessments in Schoology?
Come and join a pd session or a lunch and learn and share what you have done!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Adding Assignments / Sandbox Course
Enter Sandbox:

Practice With Schoology At Your Own Pace

Teachers are busy people with a lot on their plates. Those of us in Instructional Technology know that and it is important to us that you all have time to get ready for the Schoology adoption at your own pace. Some teachers will have more time in the summer. Some will want to use breaks. Some are ready to get going right now. Wherever you are on the timeline, you don't have to wait for our help to start learning Schoology. There are a lot of resources available to you right now. You can find them anywhere in Schoology's Help Center, or you can simply search for a topic in Google. You'll very likely find other teachers who have had the same questions you have.

If you have done nothing at all with Schoology so far, you can get started with a few of the basics whenever you want. First, you can log into our District 113 Schoology account at any time. Simply go to lms.dist113.org and log in with your Gmail credentials.

Once you are in Schoology, you will see a tab labeled Courses:

All of your courses from this year have been created in Schoology. However, if you aren't ready to start building in your current classes, you can build in your Sandbox:

One of the courses already created for you is called "Sandbox Course." There are no students associated with it. It is 100% playground area. You can practice with any of the tools we have in our Schoology Suite, and, one of the things we'll show you at the end of the year is how to take everything you've uploaded this year and repurpose it for the Fall.

If you are struggling with the concept of how to get started on Schoology, you might try the YouTube Video below called "First Steps with Schoology." It is actually indexed so you can watch any of the topics in isolation. The video covers the 5 main steps to begin with Schoology:

1. Set up your first course 2:45 2. Organize and Share Materials 19:00 3. Create Interactive Activities 34:45 4. Schedule Work in the Calendar 52:45 5. Track Work in the Gradebook 57:00

If you'd prefer to learn by doing, you can complete the Schoology PD Course called "Extend Your Classroom to the Cloud." If it isn't in your Course drop down already, you can search for it in courses. In total, although you can decide how much time to dedicate to the course, it takes about two hours to complete the self-paced course.

And of course, you can contact Lisa or myself at anytime for a little help getting starting. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Feb. 27- Entering Grades in Schoology
Entering Grades in Schoology


GUEST POST BY HOWARD CITRON - DHS Instructional Tech Coach

One of the most important aspects of Schoology for us teachers is that it allows us to keep our grade book in the same place that we will house our entire set of classes and curriculum. The idea of students having a one-stop-shop for all of their classes was unquestionably the biggest draw towards a Learning Management System, such as Schoology, but lest we not forget the teacher. While we understand the learning curve that goes into understanding a new program, the long-term efficiency benefit should be recognized during this learning period.

The hardest part of this entire process is the creating of the assignment, which you, of course, have already learned how to do in the link above. Once you have created the assignment, you go ahead and just enter the grade into the empty grade box. This part is just like entering grades in Infinite Campus, except now you won’t have to go to a different website to enter grades.

Where this process can really make lives easier is through the process of students internally submitting assignments within Schoology. For those LMS/Google Classroom vets, it is this process that will lighten your load and allow you to provide more effective feedback in a much more efficient manner. Within each grade box, there are a number of icons that you can use to simply the process of entering grades using Schoology. The icons we will see in each grade box are the “submitted” icon, “comments” icon and “exceptions” icon. Let’s discuss each below:

Oh, were you also wondering, “how am I going to enter things that are excused, incomplete or missing?!”

Schoology has you covered there as well:

“Wait, what if I want to enter completion grades for everyone on an assignment?” Schoology has that covered as well. Not to mention, it has the ability to mark all empty grade boxes as excused, incomplete or missing. The last thing to take note of in our miscellaneous section below is the “View Statistics” function. This is an impressive feature that really allows you to dig deep into how well your students did on an assignment.

Personally, my favorite parts are the ability to annotate on a document that has been submitted through Schoology, as well as give me the opportunity to do this with my computer or with my mobile device. The Schoology app allows for almost all of the functionality of the website. I can be at my child’s baseball/soccer/basketball/hockey game, and I can get all the grading done I would’ve gotten done but without the stack of papers and pen. Whether it be on my phone, tablet or computer, the consistent functionality between devices is refreshing and feels like the future has finally arrived.

Good luck Schoologying this week! We hope you’ve found this tutorial “Coology!”

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Class Announcements and Course & Group Messages in Schoology


One of the questions we always have to deal with at the beginning of the year is, "What's the best way to create an email list for my students?" Well, next year when we all use Schoology, we won't need to ask that question anymore. Messaging your entire class is built into to program itself. 

Schoology provides two different levels of classroom messaging. First, "Class Announcements" are important enough to appear on the student home page in the "Recent Activity Stream" and on every page of the course. Course and Group Updates appear in both the "Recent Activity Stream" and on the "Update" page of your course, or home page of your group.

Let's start with Updates. They are simple. Simply navigate to your course, click on the Update link, and post a message:

The Update will appear at the top of the list of classroom or group updates. It will also appear on the student home page. If you've joined any groups or have been a part of any classes, you also know that you will also receive new updates in your email. (Yes, text message and social media updates are available as well.)

If you want to raise the stakes on a classroom update, you can make it a Class Announcement. That marks the message as important and makes it a little more visible for students. To do this, click the icon that looks like a thought bubble with a plus sign in it before you click Post. 

You'll see a drop down with three choices in it. The last one is a bell. If you click that, it will change the Update to an Announcement. Then the announcement will appear at the top of each class page until you remove it:

When you are ready, simply click the "x Remove" link that appears under your Class Announcement.

Here's a short video that runs through this process:

Course Announcements from Schoology on Vimeo.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Adding Assignments in Schoology


Some of the most frustrating words that I hear as a teacher are "I didn't know what to do". I have planned, organized, color-coded, copied, explained, and demonstrated how to complete the assignment and yet it never fails, there is always at least one student who announces that they lost their assignment, they weren't sure what to do, or they didn't understand the instructions. Instead of shaking my head in frustration, I have decided to add my assignments digitally in Schoology.  

Now, I'm a huge fan of "less-paper" and not necessarily "paper-less". I believe in blended learning and using the appropriate materials for the task, which means sometimes my assignments are digital and sometimes my assignments involve turning in a physical thing, such as a piece of paper. 

The good news is that in Schoology, you can enter assignments in one place and they will automatically show up in the students' calendars as well as in the grade book.  One thing that has been so interesting to me in this position is seeing how everyone goes about a similar task in a different way. That being said, there are many ways to add assignments in Schoology. Here are the simple steps to help get you started.

Here are the basic steps to create an assignment.

Once you are in your course, use the Add Materials button. You can also find this button within a folder


1. Click Add Materials
2. Select Add Assignment
3. Fill out the details: 
  • Enter a description such as directions that the students need to complete the assignment. 
  • Set a due date to put the assignment on the calendar. It will also show up on the Upcoming area and will send overdue notifications if the student does not submit by the due date. 
  • Select a grading category. If you don't choose one, it will default to Ungraded and will not appear in the grade book. 
  • Select a Scale (THSD113) is the scale for the district, or create a Rubric.
4. Take a look at the Advanced Options that you can turn on or off. Hover over the icons to see what they are. 
  • Individually assign to a specific student or group
  • Align learning objectives (more on this later for our SBG fans!)
  • Lock in order to prevent students from submitting. You might want to do this after the due date has passed.
  • Enable submissions if the assignment requires the students to turn something in.
  • Publish to students or hide from their view if you're not ready for them to see it yet.
  • Grade statistics will show the statistics for the assignments to students
  • Enable comments so students can comment on the assignment
  • https://gyazo.com/3d652a3be227a0c77621de9dac8734f0

5. Click Create

Did you forget something? That's ok. You can always go back in and edit. 

Want to see how it's done? Here is a short video showing the basics of creating a Schoology assignment in your course...

Ready for more? Here's Part 2, which shows additional options. 

You can click here to watch the rest of the videos from the Schoology help center. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

2/6 Adding Course Materials: Folders, Files, and Links
Adding Course Materials:
Folders, Files & Links

@joe_edtech / @LisaBerghoff

It's not a secret. One of the reasons I love Schoology is that I am a control freak. I don't want a sequential stream or timeline. I want to put all of my materials in folders, organized the way I want them organized. In a Schoology classroom, that kind of organization is easy. 

If you already have a course, all of the instructions for this post are pretty easy. They all start in the same place. Go to your course and select "Add Materials" from the top of the page:


The most important thing for me is that I can set my course up in folders. My PD course is set up by topic, like this:

To add a folder, go to "Add Materials" and select "Add Folder" from the drop-down menu. The following "Folder" wizard will appear:

The only thing you have to do on this page is give the folder a title, but you have several additional options. For those of you a little more gifted for color and flair than I am, after you title your folder you can give the folder a color based on themes, standards, content, or just because you like things to be pretty. The "Description" you add, should you choose to do so, will be visible to students. If you choose to give the folder a Start Date, Schoology will create a calendar event for the folder. An End Date will simply remove the calendar from course calendar on a given day. 

If you set up your whole class in advance, the availability drop down gives you a lot of options for automating your class:

  • Published (Visible to students).
  • Unpublished (Hidden from students).
  • Publish on start date.
  • Published during date range.

  • Then click the blue "Create" button to finish.

    If you create all of your folders and then decide that you want to move them around, no worries. This portion of Schoology is drag and drop. Simply click and hold on the folder you want to move and drop it into the right position. However, you can always edit the folder, or copy it to additional sections of the course, by clicking the gear next to the folder on the right side of the screen:

    For those of you as crazy as I am, yes, you can have folders within folders. While there is a limit, it is a pretty big and ridiculous limit. I read "folders that have more than 100 levels of subfolders" in the help section and stopped caring because I know I'll never have that many subfolders. If you do, I think the message is - stop it.

    Files and Links

    OK, now that you have your folders, you'll want to add some items for your students to access. From the same "Add Materials" button you used before, choose "Add File, Link, or External Tool:"

    You'll get another pop up with those three choices in it:

    If you want to add a PDF, Word file, Excel file, movie file, or JPG, click the "File" button. 

    You'll click the "Attach Files" button and search for your documents saved on your computer. You have the option to align the item to standards, publish it/unpublish it for students, and add the same file to multiple courses at the same time. There is a 512 MB/file limit, but there isn't one in Google Drive. So if you have a larger file you want to share with students, add it to Google Drive and share the link to the file using the directions below.

    If you want to add a website, a document you have stored in Google Drive, or a YouTube video, click the "Link" button.

    You'll start by pasting in the link you want to share. Then you have the same options as you have with adding a File plus one. If you share a link, you can decide whether you want that link to appear inside of Schoology or in a new tab by itself. 

    There is one more little feature the "Add Link" wizard that I have always loved. And it is the option to pull the title of the resource directly from the URL. So, for example, I might want to add the story from CNN on the upcoming SpaceX launch. In the past I'd just share the URL:  https://www.cnn.com/videos/cnnmoney/2018/02/05/spacex-falcon-heavy-launch-elon-musks-tesla-mars-orbit-cnntech-original.cnnmoney/video/playlists/spacex/ . However, now I'll paste the URL into the "Add Link" wizard and click the two reversing arrows in the Title box and...viola:

    The title is added for me. Yes, I really am that easily amused.

    There final option on this menu item is to Add External Tool. This may be where we add textbooks, subscription database items, or other online tools. However, this is just complicated enough that it deserves a little further explanation. So it will be included both in a future FTT blog post and some future PD opportunities.

    Good luck and have fun building your folders!

    Monday, January 29, 2018

    Set Up Gradebook In Schoology

    One of the first things you will want to do when you access your courses in Schoology is to set up your gradebook. When you access your courses in Schoology by going to lms.dist113.org, you can select a course from the drop-down menu and then along the right side you will see where it says gradebook.

    When you click on Gradebook you will see all of your students and any assignments you have put in so far. When you enter an assignment, if you check that it will be graded then it automatically goes into your Gradebook, no need to enter it.

    Now that you have seen what the gradebook looks like, you will want to set it up so that it works for you.
    Right below Gradebook on the right side menu it says Grade Setup. When you click on Grade Setup your screen will look something like this.

    This is where you can adjust your categories, weights, quarter vs. semester grading, decide about rounding final grades, your grading columns, and settings for visibility.  You make the decisions about what this looks like for your class. Feel free to click around and see how it goes.

    Do you have rubrics that you use for grading? You can add those here. Don't worry, there are lots of places where you can add your rubrics, this is just one of them. When you click Rubrics in the upper right corner and then click Add, you can create and customize your own rubrics and use them to grade right in Schoology. 

    You can adjust every aspect of the rubric to make it meet your needs. When you are done, just click the Create button. 

    Don't forget to click the blue button to save your changes in Gradebook Setup. 

    If you are someone who likes written, step-by-step instructions. I would encourage you to check out the Schoology Help Center.  This will give you instructions along with images so you can just follow the steps.

    If you like video tutorials, here's one from a tech coach at another school who shared his video with the Schoology Teachers Group. 

    And if you want to learn alongside others in person, lunch and learns as well as sessions during the school day will be offered.

    Of course, setting up an appointment is always an option as well.