Learn an alternative to Google Classroom in 5 min

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Getting Started with Schoology/Learn an alternative to Google Classroom in 5 min

I’m going to show you a way to seriously speed up your workflow, cut down on the headaches, and decrease time you spend on grading and organizing your coursework.  And it’s only going to take about 5 min to set up.

You’re probably wondering what I’m talking about.  It’s called a learning management system. I’m guessing most of your are familiar with them, but just in case your not.

A Learning Management System (LMS) is software designed to manage a class.  It can include ways to interact, track, and document your classroom activities.  

You may be familiar with Google Classroom, and that’s a great free option if you have access to it. If you’re on your own, however, and you want to get started quick, keep reading.

lucywearingGuysClothslearning yet another software can be daunting if you don’t like having to learn new programs.  It must seem like everyday someone is telling you to learn some new app or software.   Its enough to make anyone go a little crazy.  This time is different though, an LMS  can save you a lot of time and help you be organized with very little work.

Imagine being able to have all multiple choice assignments graded and recorded instantly.  Imagine having all of your student’s work with you (on your tablet, phone, or computer) available at any time.  No more big stacks of papers.

The learning management system we’re going to use is called Schoology.  If you’re familiar with programs like it, you’ve probably already heard of it.  A lot of schools are using it, and as a solo educator it’s free to you.

Getting everything all setup is only going to take about 5 min.  The majority of your time will actually be spent crafting your assignments.  We’re going to cover test/quizzes here and the fastest way to be up and running.  

When your done with this tutorial you’ll be able to tell your students where and how to sign in, and they’ll be able to do your homework/quiz/test right then.

I could talk a lot about Schoology’s pros and cons, but I want to get you up and running as quick as possible. So let’s begin.

  1. New Account:  Your going need a new account for yourself, so open another browser window and go to www.Schoology.com.  Once your there click on the “Get Started” button.schoology_Q1
  1. We’re going to go with the free basic version, so click the orange button that says “Create Free Account”.  I’ve never clicked the “Request More Information” button but, if you’re interested in Schoology for your entire school this button might be helpful.

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  1.  Next you’re going to click the “Instructor” button.  When your students come to the website they’re going to do this too, but they’ll click “Student”.

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  1.  Registration is extremely quick and easy, so it should only take a few moments.  After you fill out this initial form it will ask you for more information , but it’s not necessary and you can click to “Skip it”.

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  1.  That’s it, your account is setup. Wasn’t that painless?  As easy as that was, creating your assignment is just as easy.
  1.  This is the screen you should be seeing now.  Verifying your account is something you only need to do if you’re working with kids under 13.  At this point you can create your class. After your class is created you can create tests and assignments.  If you need to you can verify  your account after.  Go ahead and click on the “Courses” drop down menu in the menu bar.

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  1.  Now click create.

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  1.  This is where you give your course a name, subject area, and level.  You can also give it a section if you have multiple sections of the same class.  When you’re done click “Create”.

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  1.  You should be looking at the courses view now.  The access code in the bottom left corner is what you will need to give your students so they can join your course.

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  1.  Next you’re going to click the add material button, then select add Test/Quiz.  You shouldn’t think of this only as a test or quiz, but a graded assignment where you explicitly state the questions.  It can be homework as well.

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  1.  Once you’ve selected add Test/Quiz there’s some info you’ll have to fill out. Go ahead and fill out the information for name, due date, and pts.  Give it a category name if you’d like.  Leave factor, scale and advanced alone for now, it’ll make more sense when you look at the grade book.

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  1.  Now you can add questions of whatever form you like.  The choices that have clear answers will be auto graded and the open ended questions can be graded by you with any device.  You can access your course through the Schoology app or a web browser like we did here.

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Parting Notes:

I found a couple of things non-intuitive about the interface. The quickest way to your quizzes and tests is the Materials tab on the left.  I probably would have called it something else to make it more clear.  One of the most frustrating things is that in order to grade the assignment, you need to go to the results tab and then click view attempts.  This is where you can view what your students have entered.  

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Here is a link you can send to your students with instructions about how to sign up with Schoology.

If you want to get the grades to show up in the Schoology grade book and potentially use their grade book for your class, leave a comment. If enough people are interested, I’ll make a post about that as well.

 

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