With all of the features that Schoology boasts as a learning management system (LMS), you can be well on your way to creating some exciting learning opportunities.
You can also be well on your way to something else ...
With all the bells and whistles and features, it's easy not to know where to start -- and to doubt whether you're using it effectively and efficiently.
If you've felt that way before, thankfully, you're not the only one. We've got your back.
Recently, we asked subscribers to the Ditch That Textbook email newsletter for their best Schoology tips and tricks. They had a lot to say!
Below are 20 tips that can save you time and help you level up your Schoology game in class.
What are your best Schoology tips? Please share them in a comment at the end of the post!
20 Schoology tips to save you time
Use a custom picture! Yes, this might be a *cutesy* thing for some, but I have found it so helpful when I need to direct my students about where to go. I simply have to say "go find the rainbow" or "look for the yellow word algebra" when talking to my students and I have found it actually makes a huge difference!
For my advisory students (7th grade) it is often hard to know what assignments they have outstanding from their other teachers. I use the workload planning in my advisory (homeroom) course to help my advisory students to keep track of their workload and also to reach out to teachers if it seems overwhelming.
Take time to set up assignment folders for each week and review what is in the folder with students. Don't assume they will look on their own. Also, review the information with paras that may be assisting you. Paras have very good ideas on how to modify assignments and projects for our Sped students. And, get feedback from students. What did they like and what didn't like; and what did they understand and what was confusing. This will help you develop your Schoology student work and folders; and may increase participation by using student input.
In the "Course Options" (under your course profile pic), choose "View Course As" to see what a student sees on your course page. This resolves a lot of "I swear I submitted it," or "I couldn't find it," or even Completion Rules problems.
I use Schoology because my district directed us to use it this year over Google Classroom. While there are some features of Classroom I prefer (I find assignments easier to grade on Classroom) I do like that I can lay out my folders and subfolders very clearly for each unit. I color code the units as well. I also like that you can pin an announcement to the top so that it stays there.
Color code everything! Especially with long-distance learning, it is so important to make sure everything is organized and easy to navigate for our students. We assign a color for everything!
- Red Folders: Current Content in the current unit
- Purple Folder: Content already covered (as soon as we finish and move onto the next LEQ, we change it from red to purple)
- Yellow: live lesson recordings
- Green: study guides and vocabulary
This makes it easier to tell students where to find things (For example, Red unit folder, red LEQ folder, scroll down to the assignment at the bottom). But it also makes it easier for staff and parents to find assignments, resources, and tools as well!
When using assignments created with G Suite, you can see into the students' documents as they are working! You can also type directly into their documents, offering help or corrections as needed. I'll even type questions in them for students to answer about their work if they aren't likely to respond to a verbal question. This is great for formative checks and to see who might be stuck, struggling or disengaged, particularly in a distance learning environment.
Utilizing the Add Assessment tool gives a lot of options for interactive quiz questions. It's better than the Add Test/Quiz if you are looking for a variety of question types, like drag and drop, reordering, or drawing. It will also grade the assessment for you and you can sync the grades to Power School.
To add materials to a specific location in your course (rather than at the default location, which is the very bottom of the page), hover over the gray line between items where you want your new assignment/resource/whatever to be added. The gray line will change to a green dotted line with a plus sign. Click the plus sign, and the full "Add Materials" menu will appear. Your new item will be created where the green line is, instead of at the bottom of the page. While it is true that you can drag items to the location you prefer, this tip eliminates that step and is especially useful if you have a LOOOONG list of materials, since now you won't have to scroll to the bottom of the list to find your new item in order to drag it to where you want it.
Never start over! Reuse your content from a previous time you taught a class! At the end of a course, save it to your resources. Then the next time you teach that class, simply import it from your resources.
Please note: Nothing will be hidden when you first import it, so be sure to hide your exams or anything else you don't want students to see right away! An easy way to handle this is to create a folder called "Storage" and drop in anything you don't want available right away. Make sure that folder is unpublished and everything inside will be too!
Use rubrics to make grading easier and faster. -Debra Moyer
Link your "like" courses to save time. -Kris Campea
Use the power of the "Page" feature to add a playlist for your students. It is a one-stop for students to get all assignments and links. You can even voice record to help students understand the playlist.
FOLDERS! Keep it simple & clean. I use one folder for each week. We are blocked scheduled so each day gets a subfolder. Students know EXACTLY where to look each day, especially if they miss our Zoom class. There is no guessing...day of the week is all they need!
On Schoology, post events as Classwork with your agenda (bulleted list, links, files, etc).
The other tip is to use Schoology for Flipping for Mastery, a flipped classroom model where the unit is built in its entirety and students work at their own pace. The folders in materials can hold everything needed, you can put a completion setting so they have to do something in order to see the next step, you can un-publish future folders so they can't see them yet, and then use badges to show completion for each lesson!
When making blank Google Docs, Slides or Drawings to share with students to work on and turn in, add the semester to the end of the title so it's easier to find when you attach it in your assignment. For example, Animal Research Sp 21 so that it is differentiated from all the Animal Research slides from last semester that show up when trying to attach it.
In order to make the course more inviting and kid friendly, use Google Slides to create banners that for each subject hyperlinked with access to necessary readings and sites.
Modify the settings in Schoology to students must post before seeing other student responses. This will ensure an original response. Then students can return to the post and reply on their first post with new information.
Teachers can now use Google Assignments within Schoology. This allows them to save feedback comments to use over and over. Saves a ton of time! (Link: Assignments by Google for Education)
I'm not sure I have a best tip yet as I've only been using it 5 months. I really miss Google Classroom. One thing I like is Schoology's assessment feature. They have many different ways to build test questions.
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