I have exciting news this week for teachers. Our development team is putting the finishing touches on Question Banks, and they'll be releasing this update in the next few days. Today, I'd like to give you a preview of the new features, and show you some tips on using Question Banks to manage your My Big Campus schoolwork.
Using Question Banks
A Question Bank is simply a collection of questions that you can import into a new or existing Schoolwork. In fact, it's even simpler than that -- any Schoolwork you've already created can be used as a Question Bank for other Schoolwork. You'll find Question Banks as a selection under Add New Question.
Adding Questions from a Question Bank
You can browse Schoolwork or Standards to find questions to add to a test. First, I'll show you how to import a question from an existing Schoolwork.
- Add a new question, and choose Question Banks as the question type.
- Select Schoolworks, then search or browse to the schoolwork item that has the questions you want.
- Click to select a schoolwork, then click to select a Question Group.
- Click Add to copy a question to your test.
Note: You can change the number of points associated with the questions before adding it to a new test.
Adding Questions by Standard
If you've applied standards to individual questions in your Schoolwork, you can browse by Standards to search for matching questions.
Note that you can also browse your saved Favorites to go quickly to the standards you need. You'll get a list of all questions associated with the selected standard, in all your Schoolworks.
Tips to make the most of Question Banks
- Remember that you can import questions from any of your existing Schoolwork.
- Use Question Banks to create multiple copies of the same question, then create variations of the question text or answers -- no more retyping questions and answers.
- Organize questions by subject area, grade level, unit, or question type.
- Remember that you can distribute Schoolwork to your colleagues in Bundles -- a great way to make sure all the important curriculum is covered.
Question Banks will be live on My Big Campus within the next few days. I'm looking forward to reading your tips and questions related to the subject of this blog -- just leave a comment.
As we prepare to move all users to the new Schoolwork interface, we'll be taking some steps to help the process along. With the next update to the My Big Campus software, scheduled for Friday evening, March 1, everyone will find themselves "opted-in" to the new interface. In today's blog, I'll discuss what that means to students and teachers.
What Students will see
Students were migrated automatically to the new Schoolwork interface when we first deployed it back in September 2012. Whether your teacher created tests in the old interface or the new one, you can see all your schoolwork from a single location. Nothing will change for students as a result of the upcoming software update.
What Teachers will see
This update only changes your default interface to New Schoolwork -- you still have full access to your old quizzes and assignments. You'll find them under the Return to Old Schoolwork button at the top right of the Schoolwork dashboard. When the update goes live, all your existing templates will be imported automatically into the new interface, and you'll find them in your Schoolwork dashboard.
If you have old quizzes and assignments you'd like to keep using, make a template and transfer them into New Schoolwork prior to June 30, 2013. After June 30, your old schoolwork will no longer be available, so start planning now to convert any schoolwork you want to use again next term. To make this easier, we'll be adding a button on the Templates tab to import all templates into the new Schoolwork interface.
While you'll still be able to continue working in the old interface until the end of June, we encourage you to take advantage of our free training webinars and self-guided training modules so you'll be ready for the final switch at the end of June 2013.
I encourage you to explore the great features you'll find in the new Schoolwork interface. Here are the highlights:
Academic Standards & Reports
- Attach Common Core and state academic standards to any or all questions in a test, then measure how well your classes and individual students are meeting the standards.
- Determine at a glance which students are in need of extra assistance with a standard.
- Automatically see suggestions for Bundles to share with students who need help meeting a specific standard.
- Add frequently used standards to a list of Favorites, then apply them quickly and easily to Schoolwork and Bundles.
- Use custom standards entered by your district or corporation.
- First, there's no longer a distinction between Assignments and Quizzes. All Schoolwork will now consist of any combination of file uploads, essay questions, true/false, multiple choice, multiple-select, and fill-in-the-blank.
- We've streamlined the Add New Schoolwork interface and made it look and work much like Bundles, with tabs for Description, Questions, Standards, Assignees, and Student View.
- Instead of separate Schoolwork and Templates, we've created a single Dashboard where you can create, re-use, edit, and re-assign schoolwork.
Simpler Management and Creation
- Make use of more question types, and you can use all of these in a single test, in any combination.
- Add anonymous surveys to the list of possibilities for using schoolwork.
- Use the rich text editor for question stems, with support for accented characters, symbols, and formatting.
- Attach files, images, documents, videos, and bundles to individual questions.
- Add standards to questions for detailed academic reporting by standard, student, or group.
- Import ExamView tests saved in Blackboard format.
More options when assigning, reusing, and reassigning schoolwork
- Select new options: password-protected tests, maximum time allowed, re-take threshold, number of attempts to allow, and opportunity to resubmit for a higher grade.
- Show or hide results and correct answers upon submission.
- Assign to a school, a group, or to individual users.
- View class averages for schoolwork directly from the dashboard.
- Get grading done faster with new workflow.
- Automatically grade quiz-type questions in an assignment.
Got questions about the switch? Let me know in the comments.
It's been another busy couple of weeks for the My Big Campus development team. Among the minor fixes they've been working on, they released a few new features that will make My Big Campus even friendlier and easier to use.
You can "favorite" your frequently-used standards, and apply them to schoolwork questions.
Click the red "heart" next to a standard to add it to Your Favorites, then open the Select Other Standard list to load Your Favorites list.
You can also access Your Favorites from Academic Reports.
There are a couple of updates to Calendar Events.
The first change is one many of you have asked for. You can now specify start and end dates for recurring events. This change applies to existing events too! The default expiration is one year.
The second change applies to group, school, and district events. Our users let us know that they wanted a way to disable email notifications when creating a whole calendar year or season of events, so we've added a checkbox at the bottom of the event form for this.
We've also enhanced the Bundles interface.
When you're editing Bundle content, you can now upload new files directly to the Bundle. Click Upload Files to add images, documents, or other files from your computer.
We've also changed the "Share" button so its purpose is more obvious. This button creates an "embed code" that you can paste into the HTML code of a webpage. You can still share Bundles within My Big Campus in the usual ways, on wall and discussion posts, schoolwork, and group resources.
Finally, we've made it easier to apply custom Policies to My Big Campus users.
You can now apply a custom Policy to an entire MBC group, as well as to individual users. Note that the policy will apply to non-student group members as well as students, so take care when adding or removing permissions. Use the Manage Policy Priority tool to restore appropriate permissions to individual staff users as needed.
As always, I welcome your suggestions and feature requests. Leave a comment to let me know what other features you'd like to see in My Big Campus.
While I was digesting my Thanksgiving turkey and catching up on all the ball games over the long weekend, our development team was hard at work on Academic Reports, the promised next phase of Schoolwork. Our team is currently working on training materials to help you understand and use Academic Reports. Watch the MBC Trainers group, and the MBC Orientation Center topic, for more information.
Meanwhile, here are some quick tips to get you started.
Attach standards to your Schoolwork questions
The first step is to make sure your existing Schoolwork has standards attached to all of the questions you want to measure -- standards attached only to the test are not used in these reports. However, results are retroactive -- you can add standards to tests your students have already submitted, and see results immediately.
Create your first report
The next step is to create your first report. Click Academic Reports in the grey navigation bar, select the report type (individual student, or group report), select your standards, give your report a name, then create the report. A group report will look something like this:
Tips to help you use Academic Reports effectively
- Notice that you can "drill down" by clicking a student name, to see individual reports by standard.
- Easily spot which students are meeting your learning goals, and which ones may need extra help with certain concepts. Proficiency results are color coded: scores from 0 to 59% are red, 60 to 74% are yellow, and 75% to 100% are green. We plan to introduce custom proficiency ranges in a future update.
- Another benefit to teachers and students is Adaptive Learning. My Big Campus automatically locates published Bundles with the associated standard, so you can branch and share them with students who need extra help to master a subject area. In a future update, students will be able to access their own academic reports and access supplemental resources directly.
- Yet another is the ability to group related standards in a Learning Target. This simplifies the task of creating multiple reports that use the same set of standards if you teach multiple sections of the same class. The resulting report will be a summary view of all the standards in the Learning Target.
There's more information to come, in future blog posts, training webinars, technical notes, and help pages. If you have ideas, questions, or tips to share with your peers, let me know in the comments.
More and more school districts are adopting academic standards to measure student progress and teacher effectiveness. To meet this need, we introduced State and Common Core Standards as part of Bundles, to help teachers align their lesson plans and course content to academic standards required for their schools or districts. We also added Standards to the new Schoolwork interface.
These standards cover the core academic areas for Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Technology. In the months since we released these two features, we've had lots of requests to include standards other subject areas, such as Music, Art, and Physical Education. Because My Big Campus has to subscribe to a service that provides standards information, we could only offer the subject areas with the highest demand.
This limitation has now been removed. One of the updates that came out over the Thanksgiving weekend was the ability to add Custom Standards at the District level. District administrators can now add their own standards to My Big Campus, for teachers to use in Bundles and Schoolwork. While we work on adding FAQs, Tech Notes, and other training material for this and the Academic Reporting component of Schoolwork, I wanted to give you a brief overview of Custom Standards.
Adding Custom Standards
To add standards, log into My Big Campus as a district administrator, then navigate to the District tab on the Administration page. Click the District name, then choose Custom Standard. Click Add Custom Standard, then fill in the form. Click Save, and the standard will now be available to all teachers in your district, from the Select Other Standard dropdown list on the Standards tab in both Schoolwork and Bundles.
Using Custom Standards
You can attach custom standards to Bundles, Schoolwork, and Academic Reports. You'll find them under the Select Other Standard dropdown list.
I think the applications for Custom Standards go well beyond K-12 subject areas, such as Professional Development for teaching and non-teaching staff, and extracurricular activities. I'm interested in your questions, ideas and tips for how you plan to use Custom Standards -- let me know what you think in the comments.
I wanted to talk today about Bundles, and share a few tips for students and teachers.
If you're new to Bundles and would like a quick overview, these two blog posts will give you the basics:
Sharing your Bundles
There are lots of ways to share a bundle, and you don't need to be logged into My Big Campus to view a shared bundle.
- Attach your bundles to wall or discussion posts. Click Bundle below the text box to get a list of your Bundles, Click to select, then click Post.
- Both teachers and students can attach Bundles to assignments. Attach your bundles below the text box, then save.
- If you're a group member, you can also add your bundles to group resources. Go to the group resources tab, then click Bundle. Select from Your Bundles, then click Share Attached Items.
- You can "embed" a link to a Bundle on an external website (your blog, your personal website, or a school or district website). Open a Bundle, then click the Share button to get the embed code. Copy and paste the embed code into your web page editor, then save and publish the page.
- Copy and paste a link to the bundle from your browser's address bar into a message, discussion, or email.
Branching a Bundle
If you see a bundle you like, no matter where you found it, click Branch to save a copy of it in Your Bundles. Branched bundles are then yours to edit and share as you wish.
Branched bundles have a link to the original, with the bundle creator's name.
Publishing a Bundle
This one's for teachers only. You can add your bundles to the Bundle Exchange, for other teachers to view, share, branch, and modify. Note that you don't have to publish your bundles to the Bundle Exchange before you can share them – publishing just makes your Bundle available for other teachers to see and use from a central location.
If you change your mind about making your Bundle public, just edit the bundle and click Unpublish to remove it from the Bundle Exchange.
Searching the Bundle Exchange
This is also a teacher-only feature. The Bundle Exchange is like a free public library of Bundles that other teachers have created and shared with the entire professional MBC community, and it's the first place you see when you click Bundles in the left navigation menu.
Note the filter options at the top of the Bundle Exchange page:
- Explore. Look for Bundles linked to state and common core standards in your subject areas, or see all Bundles.
- Filter by Type. Show Bundles tagged by type: Lesson Plans, Professional Development, Modules, and more.
- Sort by: See popular, highest rated, or newest Bundles.
- Search: Find bundles by subject area, keyword, or tag.
This is a list of all Bundles you own, including
- Bundles created by you
- Bundles branched by you
- Bundles where you are a Collaborator
If you're a teacher, you can see which Bundles you've published to the Bundle Exchange.
You can also delete Bundles from the list. Take care with this, because deleted Bundles are gone and can't be restored.
Collaborating on Bundles
This one's for everybody. Are you working on a team project? Add collaborators to your Bundle.
You can work on a Bundle together with members of your groups, or with everyone in a group. To add collaborators, edit your Bundle, then click Collaborators. Type a few letters of a username or group name, then click Search. Click + to add. Collaborators will then see the Bundle in their Your Bundles list, and they'll be able to open and edit the Bundle.
Tagging and Standards
If you're publishing or sharing lesson content, you can link your Bundle with any State or Common Core standards that apply. This makes it easier for teachers to find and use Bundles for their subject areas and grade levels in the Bundle Exchange. Edit your bundle, then click Standards in the left navigation menu. Choose your state, then drill down in the list of standards for the specific ones you want to apply to your Bundle.
Standards are available for the most important core subject areas, but we're open to requests for additional subject area standards – just let me know what you need.
To refine your Bundles even further, add keyword tags. This makes it easy for other educators to find relevant bundles. You can also use tags to add standards that aren't yet in our database.
Bundles and Copyright
One last thing: Sharing and collaborating are what My Big Campus is all about. For original content you created yourself, sharing is fine, and encouraged. In the United States, copyright ("right to copy") exists by default when a work is created, and need not be registered. However, you can place your own, original work in the Public Domain, or apply a Creative Commons or other public license that allows reuse with certain conditions.
Don't assume that anything you find on the Internet is okay to share without permission: read the fine print. If you're including content you didn't create, respect the copyright owner's wishes by adhering to any conditions they've specified when they shared their work. This can be anything from a simple attribution with a link to the source, to purchasing a license to reuse the work.
Copyright law provides for "Fair Use" in certain contexts, so be fair: the onus is on you to make sure you have the right to reuse anything you add to a Bundle.
If you have ideas or questions to share about using Bundles in My Big Campus, let me know in the Comments.
We've got an exciting new feature to talk about this week that my developers and I think will make it easier for teachers to create and share self-contained, standards-based lessons. We're calling this new feature "Bundles," and it's currently being tested by a hand-picked group of MBC educators. Here's some of what you'll see once testing is complete:
- A new way to collect videos, group content, documents and text into self-contained online lessons
- Alignment with State and Common Core Standards
- Reusable content objects from the National Repository of Online Courses (NROC)
- Sharing: with your own students, your school, district, or the entire My Big Campus educator community
- A Bundle Exchange, where educators can search for Bundles to use and adapt in their own curriculum
- User ratings and comments, and links to "like" your favorite bundles on MBC, Twitter, Facebook, and G+
- Branches: Take an existing Bundle and make it your own: adapt and remix, and share it again
What to expect
We're making some changes to the MBC user interface to replace Collections. Here’s what to expect:
- A new name: Bundles
- A new link: Direct access to Bundles (formerly Collections) in the left navigation bar
- New functionality: Bundles can include Group pages, State and Common Core standards, NROC content objects, and freeform text
- Sharing options: Publish your Bundles to the Bundle Market to share with other educators; adapt and remix Bundles shared by others
- Redesigned Your Stuff page: Collections will no longer appear on the Your Stuff page. You’ll now find them in Your Bundles
Get up to speed
We're hosting live Webinars this week for all interested educators, to walk them through the new features and explain some of the changes we're making to the My Big Campus interface. To register for a webinar, click the link for the day and time that works best for you.
For those who can't make it to either presentation, we'll be recording and posting a "highlights" video in the MBC Orientation Center topic.
Interested in a sneak preview?
We've opened up testing to all current MBC Coaches, and they're already busy developing their own Bundles for the Exchange. In time for launch, we need more testers, and more content. If you're an educator, and you're interested in helping us with this project, send a Conversation to our lead developers Ryan Bond or Carson McMillan..