When I began using Schoology last year, I wasn’t a big fan of the “assignment” feature. I preferred to share my resources individually, and I always posted homework as updates, not assignments. This year, I have realized how versatile they can be, and it has changed the way I have shared resources and collected student work. Here are a few reasons why I love Schoology assignments.
Reason #1: The Formatting Options
Have you taken time to explore all of the formatting when you create a new assignment? There are so many options! When you write the description for your assignment, you can format the text like you would in Microsoft Word or a similar program, but you can also insert tables, mathematical equations, web links, images, and video directly in the instructions. If you click on the “Switch to HTML” tab, you can even edit the HTML code to embed just about anything with an embed code. It’s like creating a website just for your assignment.
Reason #2: The Attachments
You may or may not already know that you can attach website links, files, and audio/video resources to your assignments. Last year, I used to create a folder for my science labs. Inside the folder, I added the various resources students would need to successfully complete the lab. Now, I attach all of those resources directly to the assignment itself. It makes it much easier for students because they know everything they need is right in the assignment.
Some of the resources I have shared this year with my assignments include:
- The handout itself (usually a PDF to be annotated in Notability)
- The rubric (even if you created a grading rubric, it’s hard for students to read on an iPad.)
- PDF versions of reading articles to extend learning
- Links to websites, simulations, and my own blog posts with further explanations
- Links to a Google spreadsheet with class data tables
- Links to Google forms (useful for student feedback or when students have to sign up for a project topic)
Reason #3: Allowing for Multiple Submissions
Most of the time, you probably only want students to submit an assignment once. However, there are times when multiple submissions are useful. When some of my students were revisiting measurement skills earlier this year, I created an assignment where they could provide evidence of their learning. If they made more errors, I left comments for them and prompted them to measure a different item and resubmit.
There are other times when you may want students to submit different artifacts to the same assignment. For example, I will be creating a “test retake” assignment for my unit test later this week. In order to retake the written test, students will make test corrections, work on an additional review question for the specific concept(s) they wish to revisit, and have their parents sign a retake contract. Different students will need to pass in different things, depending on what they want to retake. This “test retake” assignment will be the digital dropbox for all of these things. I will be able to read through all of their materials and provide feedback at my leisure, opposed to having to get it all done during class or lunch.
Reason #4: Individually Assign
I admittedly have never used this feature, but I see it being very helpful for teachers. It allows you to share an assignment with a smaller subset of students. The assignment can be shared with individual students by typing their name(s) into the “Assign to” field, or you can type in the name of a grading group you created to share it with all students in that group. I have four grading groups (G, O, L, and D) that represent my four science classes. As you can see below, this assignment is currently being assigned to just my “G” class.
If you have students who receive modified assignments for one reason or another, this would be a great way of sharing the assignments with just those students. It’s seamless and private. It would also be useful for a class like Honors Biology with Research Methods. Since there are days when some students in the class are working on a Biology assignment while others are working on their science fair project, the teacher could create a grading group for just the science fair students and use it to give them their assignments.