Summer's almost here. Is your school ready?
It's that time of year already: time for teachers and admins to start thinking about what to do with groups, assignments and quizzes. It's also not too early to plan how to manage My Big Campus users over the summer break.
Many students now in their final year of high school will want to retain access to content they created in MBC, to supplement college applications and resumes. Admins should keep this in mind before they consider deleting user accounts and content for students who graduate at the end of this term. We're working on a special portal for Alumni that will allow graduating students to preserve their digital portfolios. I'll have more information for admins and students as the project develops.
What to do with your Groups
Next, let's talk about group maintenance. One of my colleagues at My Big Campus put together a video that gives you an overview of the maintenance process. With this tool, teachers can retain and reuse the group content they want to keep (resources, pages, discussion stems), while clearing out responses, comments, and members.
Teachers should plan whether to reuse their existing groups, or create and populate a new group for classes that repeat each term. In both cases, admins can use SIS imports to set the group title, group owner, and add or remove group members. Here are some tips, if you're using SIS imports to update group rosters:
- In the "memberships.csv" file, if the field unique_sis_group_id matches an existing group, the import will remove all existing users (except the group owner) from the group, and replace them with the list of users in the CSV file.
- Use "groups.csv" to create new groups or update an existing group with a new group owner. Specify existing group ID to overwrites group settings for existing groups; new unused group ID to create a new group.
Reusing Quizzes and Assignments
The next big deal for teachers is being able to reuse assignments and quizzes. The Schoolwork Templates feature makes it very easy to build a repository of schoolwork that you can fine-tune and deploy as needed. Here's another video on that topic.
We've got an upgrade to the Schoolwork module in development now, for release early this summer. You'll have more question types available for Quizzes, and importing will be supported. Watch my blog for more details as the new release takes shape.
Updating student records
This one's for IT admins: It's not too early to plan and test your SIS import process for adding and updating student records for the upcoming term (this article explains how).
- Some schools clear out their Active Directory and start again with the new school term, but that doesn't mean you should delete student accounts on MBC; a SIS import with the new login tied to the existing student IDs and screen names will allow students to keep their MBC logins, and their online files and other data.
- For students graduating to another school in your district, a SIS import can relocate them quickly. Consider also what to do with students who leave your school or district over the summer break. MBC staff can also, on request, move students to another school if they're changing districts.
- Export your graduating senior class from your SIS to a users.csv file, and hang onto that file. When we deploy our Alumni portal, we'll be able to use that to place grads in the correct school and year.
Stay in touch with your professional peers
Got a question, looking for best practices, or just want to extend your professional learning community? Use EduTalk, and the staff-only Topic groups on My Big Campus as professional lifelines during school breaks. Search the Bundle Exchange for lesson plan ideas, standards, and media for your classes.
Allow student access during the break: pros and cons
On the horizon for My Big Campus
If you're curious about how my team and I will be spending our summer vacation, take a look at the Product Roadmap in the MBC Orientation Center. The Roadmap is based on your feature requests, along with other input from the MBC community. We have regular staff meetings to discuss and schedule future development of My Big Campus, and we're eager to hear your wishes, ideas, and even frustrations. Any questions or suggestions that I can bring to our team for discussion? Let me know in the comments.