How to Use Linked Sections (Enterprise)

Follow

Linking Your Sections

If you use Schoology Enterprise, you have the option to link the sections of any course together. Course section linking is a great way to manage all sections of a course more efficiently.

When sections are linked, they all share the same set of materials and grade setup. This means you only need to create materials and set up your gradebook once, even when you teach multiple sections of the same course. Linked sections also have toggles you can use to switch between each section instantly, so you can keep the sections separate while enjoying a more streamlined workflow.

The linked sections feature was designed to improve the instructor's experience. Your students will continue to see and experience Schoology in the same way they always have.

Important Notes about Course Section Linking:
  • Depending on the settings in place at your organization, this feature may not be available.
  • Schoology strongly advises against linking or unlinking sections once school has started, as it results in loss of grade data for child sections. When you begin linking sessions together, the master section is the one that you link other sections to. Those sections that are linked to the master section will set aside any existing materials, grade settings, and data. The child linked sections then replace any existing materials and grade setup with that of the master section.
  • If you need to unlink your linked sections at any point during the school year, be aware that if you separate two linked sections, only the master section retains the materials, setup, grades, and data. Scroll down to Unlinking Sections for additional information.
  • When you link or unlink sections, student assignment submissions in the child section(s) are not recoverable. As a safeguard against losing grade data for child sections, you are prompted to download a CSV spreadsheet file containing all the grade data for child sections. See the Gradebook File Download when Linking or Unlinking Sections instructions below for details.

Requirements for linking sections of a course:

  1. The sections must be within the same Course.
  2. The sections must be associated with the same grading period.
  3. Enrollment must be unique across the linked sections. There cannot be any overlap in the students.
  4. The sections must have the same Course Admins.

How to Link Sections

If you are a course admin who has the Link sections permission enabled by your system admin, and your sections meet the prerequisites outlined above, you can link your existing sections together by following these steps.

There are three different ways to create linked sections: 

  1. Click your Courses drop-down menu and and select My Courses

    LinkingExistingSectionsCallOut.png

    Steps 2-7 demonstrated below:
    LinkedSection.gif
  2. In your list of courses, click the gear icon to the right of the section you consider to be the "master section". If you have materials in both courses, the "master section" is the one that holds the materials and grades you would like to continue to use between the two sections. 
  3. Select Link Existing Sections from the dropddown.
  4. Select the section(s) to link and click Next.
  5. As a safeguard against losing grade data for child sections, you must select to download a grade export file for each section being linked. See the "Gradebook File Download when Linking or Unlinking Sections" instructions below for details.
  6. Select the file type to download:
    • As a Standard CSV spreadsheet.
    • As a CSV file that you can use to import into other systems, such as an SIS.
  7. Click Download and Next.
  8. Click Link Sections.
  9. A warning message displays: 

    "Materials from (section name) will not be copied into: (section name). Once complete, the sections will share: grade setup, materials, and course profile (of the destination section). Member enrollments will still belong to their respective sections." 

    This means that the section for which you clicked the gear icon will be the master section–the linked sections will now all have access to and use the materials in that master section. This includes Course Materials and items in your Grade Setup (such as Grading Categories, Rubrics, etc). However, the original rosters of students when the sections were separate will remain the same after you link the sections.

  10. Click Link Sections. 

If the requirements for linked sections are not met, the other section(s) will be grayed out. If you hover your mouse over the grayed-out section, you will see a tooltip explaining the cause of the issue.

Screen_Shot_2018-06-21_at_12.10.52_PM.png 

Creating a New Course with Linked Sections

Alternately, you can create linked sections while creating a new course. To do this:

  1. Click your Courses drop-down menu and and select My Courses
  2. Click the option to Create Course on the top right of the My Courses area.
    Note: If you do not see the Create Course button, it may be because your System Admin has not enabled the permission to create new courses for your role.
  3. In the Create Course menu, press +Add  to add a linked section to the new course and section you are creating.
  4. When the form is complete, click Create to create the new course with a master section and linked sections.

If you are unsure about how to fill in the Section Code field, check with your System Administrator to ensure your naming convention is consistent with other courses at your school. You can also learn more in this article on section code vs. section school code.

Screen_Shot_2018-06-21_at_10.47.41_AM.png

Adding a New Linked Section to an Existing Course

You can also create new sections that are linked to an existing course from the Course Options area of the existing section.

To create a new section that will be linked to an existing section:

  1. Click Courses on the top navigation bar.
  2. Select the section in the menu that you would like to make the master section.
  3. Click Course Options in the left column of the course page and select Edit Info.
  4. Click +Add in the top Section Name row to create new sections that are automatically linked to the current section. 

Screen_Shot_2018-06-21_at_10.48.20_AM.png

How to Use Linked Sections 

Linked sections share the same Materials and the same Grade Setup. All other areas of the course are separate, but as the Course Admin you can toggle among sections in each area. 

  • Making announcements and posting updates
  • Creating materials
  • Using Course tools
    • Course tools include: Gradebook, Mastery, Attendance, Members, Analytics, Workload Planning, and course-level Apps
  • Grading 

Making Announcements and Posting Updates in Linked Sections

When you link your sections together,  you can send updates to all of your sections within a course at once. When you create an update, by default, the post will go to all of your sections. You can click the x next to each section name if you do not want that section to see your post.

When you post an Update to linked sections, it will appear multiple times in your Updates area–once for each section you post to. However, the update only displays once for your students, for the section in which they're enrolled.

Screen_Shot_2018-06-21_at_12.14.00_PM.png

Creating Materials in Linked Sections 

Linking sections enables you to manage your materials in one place. When you click Add Materials after linking your sections, the items you add to your course are added across all of the sections. 

To create identical items across the linked sections, simply clicking Add Materials and fill out the create form of your desired material type. Enter the due date in the date field next to All Sections

Screen_Shot_2018-06-21_at_12.15.49_PM.png

Customizing Materials in Linked Sections

If you would like to differentiate the due date and availability of this item for each of your linked sections, click Select Sections to Customize below the Due Date field. Select the section(s) to customize and enter the Due Date for each section. If you would like to make an exception for one section to have its own due date (or time), click Select Sections to Customize and then check the desired section. Selecting a specific section will pull out that section's availability fields, and all the other sections are labeled Everyone Else:

 

If you would like each section to have its own due date, check Select All, as in the example below.

A Note about Availability of Materials in Linked Sections: If you publish items from the gear icon drop-down menu on the Materials page, you publish the item to all sections; you cannot customize availability. 

Screen_Shot_2018-06-21_at_12.18.47_PM.png

You will receive the message "Are you sure you want to publish [material title] for all linked sections?"

Click Publish All to add the material.

Using Course Tools in Linked Sections 

Courses with linked sections share the same Materials and Grade Setup. Everything else in your course, however, remains separate.

In your other Course tools — the Gradebook, Mastery, Badges, Attendance, Members, Analytics, and Workload Planning areas — you'll have toggles to switch among different sections. These toggles appear near the top left of the page.

For example, this screenshot of the Gradebook area in a course with linked sections shows the expanded drop-down menu you can use to toggle between linked sections in a course.   Screen_Shot_2018-06-21_at_12.27.59_PM.png

This same drop-down menu appears in the Mastery, Badges, Attendance, Members, Analytics and Workload Planning areas as well:

Screen_Shot_2018-06-21_at_12.32.57_PM.png

Grading in Linked Sections

Setting Up Your Gradebook

Grade Setup does not change at all once your sections are linked. This screen looks the same as it would if you did not link your sections, and all of the items you create here — grading categories, grad scales, rubrics, and the settings you apply to your gradebook — will apply to all of the sections within this course.

Administering Grades

You can grade your materials in Schoology from directly in the Gradebook, or from the item itself.

Gradebooks across linked sections remain separate. You can use the toggle tool and drop-down menu to move among the gradebooks for your different linked sections:

Screen_Shot_2018-06-21_at_12.27.59_PM.png

 

Similarly, you will see a toggle tool when grading from the item itself. Below you can see screenshots of this tool in the different types of materials:

Assignments:

  1. Open the assignment.
  2. In the Submissions column on the right, select a section to see its list of student submissions.

Screen_Shot_2018-06-21_at_12.29.49_PM.png

Discussions:

  1. Click the Discussion to open it from the Materials page.
  2. Use the toggle in the Discussion Toolbar at the top to switch among the posts in the different sections.

Screen_Shot_2018-06-21_at_12.34.22_PM.png

Tests/Quizzes

  1. Open the test/quiz from the Materials page.
  2. Select the Results tab along the top.
  3. Use the section toggle at the top to switch among submissions for the different sections.

Screen_Shot_2018-06-21_at_12.35.21_PM.png

Assessments

  1. Open the Assessment from the Materials page.
  2. Select Student Attempts along the top.
  3. Use the section toggle at the top to switch among submissions for the different sections.

Screen_Shot_2018-06-21_at_12.37.30_PM.png

Unlinking Sections 

Once you've linked sections, you can also unlink them. However, when you unlink sections, the materials, grades, and data will remain only in the master section. There, Schoology does not recommend unlinking sections once the school year has begun or once student submissions have been made in the child section.

Note: When you link or unlink sections, student assignment submissions in the child section(s) are not recoverable. As a safeguard against losing grade data for child sections, you are prompted to download a spreadsheet file containing all the grade data for child sections. See the Gradebook File Download when Linking or Unlinking Sections instructions below for details.

To unlink sections:

  1. Click Courses at the top of the screen.
  2. Select My Courses..
  3. In your list of courses, click the gear icon to the right of the linked sections.
  4. Select Unlink Sections from the drop-down menu on the gear icon.

Screen_Shot_2018-06-21_at_12.39.01_PM.png
When you click Unlink Sections, you are prompted to select the section(s) to unlink, as well as the two options of what happens to the unlinked section(s). Make sure you are aware of the effects:
Screen_Shot_2018-06-21_at_12.39.52_PM.png

      • Unlink and restore original section — restores that section to the way it was before it was linked. If it was an existing section with data, that data that existed before you linked the sections will be restored.  Only the master section retains the materials, setup, grades, and data. In other words, any material created after linking sections will only be retained in the master section when you unlink. The child section will revert back to what it looked like before you linked the sections.
      • Unlink and move enrollments into an new section — moves the students enrolled in that section into a new blank course - without materials or any other data. This action cannot be undone. 
  1. As a safeguard against losing grade data for child sections, you must select to download a grade export file for each section being unlinked. See the Gradebook File Download when Linking or Unlinking Sections instructions below for details.
    Screen_Shot_2018-06-21_at_12.41.03_PM.png
  2. Select the file type to download:
    • As a Standard CSV spreadsheet.
    • As a CSV file that you can use to import into other systems, such as an SIS.
  3. Click Download and Next.
  4. Click Unlink Sections to complete the process.

Gradebook File Download when Linking or Unlinking Sections

When you link or unlink sections, the grade data for child sections is not retained–only the student grade data for the master section remains visible in Schoology. The child sections are restored to how they were before the sections were linked or unlinked.

For this reason, Schoology strongly recommends against linking or unlinking during the school year; but we also realize that sometimes you will have link or unlink sections. For this reason, we've added a safeguard to ensure that grade data in child sections is still available to Course Admins: requiring a download of the gradebook spreadsheet for each child section when linking or unlinking. 

Before completing the linking or unlinking process, Course Admins must choose from one of two downloads: 

  • Standard CSV:
    • Select this option to download a CSV file version of your gradebook. This spreadsheet is formatted similarly to how it is in Schoology, with the student names vertically and material titles along the top.
  • CSV for import into other system:
    • Select this option to download a CSV file with more detailed student data. This spreadsheet is separated by columns for mapping purposes to use to import into another system, such as an SIS gradebook. 

Grade Calculation Differences

There are several important differences in how grades are calculated between the two formats.

  Standard CSV CSV for import into
other system
Hidden or Unpublished Materials Are not included in Overall or Grading Period grade calculations. Are included in Overall or Grading Period grade calculations.
Factors Items with a factor are multiplied by that factor and then included in the final score. Items with a factor are not multiplied by that factor before being included in the final score.
Weighted Categories Do impact grade calculations. Do not impact grade calculations.

Be sure to consider these variables when deciding the file format to download.


Comments

2 comments

  • Avatar
    Erika Sponsler

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!! I am beyond thrilled at this ability! Now I can't wait for school to start in Sept!! Well, yes I can...but this does make me super excited!

  • Avatar
    Odessa Wood

    This was a good review of what I have been learning. Now I know that you help center has this information avaiable for me whenever I need a reminder.

Please sign in to leave a comment.

Powered by Zendesk