The Student Login insights card is one of several insights in Achieve that can help you understand more about your students.
For instance, the Student Login insight card can help identify patterns of student engagement with the Achieve platform (e.g., help you identify students who are not entering into the Achieve platform in the first place).
After reviewing the Student Login insight card, if you find that some students may be disengaged or minimally engaged with the Achieve platform, these students may need additional support to appropriately seek help . Appropriate “help seeking” behaviors are important strategies that can help improve students’ learning.
“We must regularly ask, not only ‘What are you learning?’ but ‘How are you learning?’” (Weimer, 2012)
As you’ve probably noticed from firsthand experience, not all students seek help in the same way. For instance, some students seek help in order to learn (e.g., ask for hints but seek to solve the problem on their own) while others tend to seek help in order to obtain a correct or ready-made answer (1, 3, 4) .
Students who tend to be more concerned about performance may avoid seeking help or seek help in non-adaptive ways. In comparison, students who are focused on mastering concepts and self-improvement tend to seek help in more instrumental or adaptive ways and are less threatened by seeking help (4, 5, 6) .
If you’re interested in encouraging more adaptive help-seeking behaviors in your students, consider the following:
Encourage students to intentionally use feedback that is given to them. For instance, you could ask students to go back and try to re-solve a problem that they initially got incorrect then determine if and to what extent they need further assistance (7) .
Help students tolerate uncertainty. This can help students normalize occurrences of “not knowing” and help transition such occurrences into desirable intellectual challenges (8) .
Promote learning and adaptive help seeking behaviors by providing students with explanations rather than direct answers (7) .
Help students be metacognitive about their learning. Students who have stronger metacognitive skills seek help more effectively or adaptively (9) .
Ensure you are clear and explicit with students about what skills or knowledge are needed to perform a given task, successfully complete an assignment, etc. You may ask yourself “What is the task that I want my students to do?” and “What do students need to know to do it?” (4) .
Help-seeking can be associated with personal “costs” for some students. Be aware of this and try to establish classroom norms for help-seeking behaviors (e.g., rules or procedures by which students can obtain help like asking peers or interrupting lecture to ask a question) Consider leveraging technology to reduce “costs” of seeking help (4) .
Build a learning environment where students have permission to identify confusions (11)
Keep in mind, help-seeking usually requires some degree of social skills that students may need help to master. For instance, prosocial skills can be beneficial for help-seeking. But students may need some guidance in the skill of asking questions (10, 12) . Your students can use the following steps to help them ask questions:
Become aware that you need to ask a question or get help.
Decide what you would like to know more about.
Decide who to ask- someone who has the best information.
Think about different ways or words you could use to ask the question.
Decide on the right time and setting to ask the question.
Ask the question.
Weimer, M. (2012,). Deep learning vs. surface learning: Getting students to understand the difference. Retrieved from: https://www.lander.edu/sites/lander/files/Documents/About/Offices_Departments/academic-affairs/whiteboards/whiteboard-12dec.pdf .
Huet N., Motak, L., & Sakdavong, J. (2016). Motivation to seek help and help efficiency in students who failed in an initial task. Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 584-593.
Newman, R.S. (2002). How self-regulated learners cope with academic difficulty: the role of adaptive help-seeking. Theory into practice, 41, 132-138.
Karabenick, S. A., & Berger, J. (2013). Help seeking as a self-regulated learning strategy. In H. Bembenutty, T. J. Cleary, & A. Kitsantas (Eds.), Applications of self-regulated learning across diverse disciplines: A tribute to Barry J. Zimmerman (pp. 237-261).
Karabenick, S. A. (1998). Strategic help seeking: Implications for learning and teaching. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Karabenick, S. A. (2003). Seeking help in large college classes: A person centered approach. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 28, 37-58.
Webb, N. M., & Palincsar, A. S. (1996). Group processes in the classroom. In D. C. Berliner & R. C. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 841-873). Simon & Schuster Macmillan.
McCaslin, M., & Good, T. L. (1996). The informal curriculum. In D.C. Berliner & R.C. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 622- 670). Simon & Schuster Macmillan.
Tobias, S., & Everson, H. T. (2002). Knowing what you know and what you don't: Further research on metacognitive knowledge monitoring (College Board Rep. No. 2002-03). College Board.
Goldstein, A. P., & McGinnis, E. (1997). Skillstreaming the adolescent: New strategies and perspectives for teaching prosocial skills. (Revised ed.). Research Press.
Tanner, K. D. (2012). Promoting student metacognition. CBE - Life Sciences Education, 11, 113-120.
Gall, S. N. (1981). Help-seeking: An Understudied Problem-Solving Skill in Children. Developmental Review, 1 (3), 224-246.
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Goal-setting and Reflection Surveys in Achieve include questions related to metacognition and self-regulated learning.
Metacognition represents an awareness of one’s own knowledge. When students practice metacognition, they are able to monitor and control their thinking processes (1 ). Being metacognitive can help students self-regulate their own learning more effectively (e.g., setting goals, regulating behavior).
Students may actually need stronger engagement skills, such as self-regulation, to learn effectively in today’s computer-based environments ( 2). Thus, instructors may need to provide assistance or “scaffolds” to help students regulate their own learning (3).
Fortunately, metacognitive skills and self-regulation behaviors can be taught (4). If you’re interested in supporting your students’ metacognition and self-regulated learning processes, consider asking students to complete the Goal-setting and Reflection Surveys in Achieve .
In addition, the following supports or scaffolds can be used to help students engage in self-regulated learning (5):
Provide students with guiding questions
Encourage student study habits using “plan ahead” prompts
Help students reflect using “look back” prompts
Teach students to use tools like concept maps or templates to help structure information as they are studying or learning
Provide students with higher-order questions and content-related goals
You can also consider encouraging students to ask themselves the following questions in order to prompt more metacognitive thinking (6).
While students are planning how they’ll approach a learning task, they can ask themselves:
What am I supposed to learn? What prior knowledge will help me with this task? What should I do first? What should I look for in this reading? How much time do I have to complete this?
As students are monitoring their understanding or performance, they can ask themselves:
How am I doing? Am I on the right track? How should I proceed? What information is important to remember? Should I move in a different direction? What can I do if I do not understand?
When students complete a learning task, they can ask themselves:
How well did I do? What did I learn? Did I get the results I expected? What could I have done differently? Can I apply this way of thinking to other problems or situations? Do I need to go back through the task to fill in any gaps in understanding?
Meichenbaum, D. (1985). Teaching thinking: A cognitive-behavioral perspective. In S. F., Chipman, J. W. Segal, & R. Glaser (Eds.), Thinking and learning skills, Vol. 2: Research and open questions. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Winters, F., Greene, J., & Costich, C. (2008). Self-regulation of learning within computer-based learning environments: A critical analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 20 , 429-444.
Azevedo, R., & Hadwin, A. F. (2005). Scaffolding self-regulated learning and metacognition – Implications for the design of computer-based scaffolds. Instructional Science, 33, 367-379.
Halpern, D. F. (1996). Thought and knowledge: An introduction to critical thinking. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Devolder, A., van Braak, J., & Tondeur, J. (2012). Supporting self-regulated learning in computer-based learning environments: Systematic review of effects of scaffolding in the domain of science education. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 28, 557-573.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education. (2011). Just Write! Guide . Scanlon.
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How can you leverage the Time-on-Activity data provided in two of our most used insight cards on the Achieve Dashboard to help students better self-regulate their time?
Time plus energy equals learning. There is no substitute for time on task. -Chickering & Gamson (1987)
“Time on task” metrics typically try to capture the amount of time students spend attending to or actively engaging in course-related or learning-related tasks (2; 3).
Research suggests that time on task is positively related to student learning in computer-based environments (4; 5; 6). But students may need support to learn good time management skills or habits (1; 7; 8).
Educators can leverage technology to help students better self-regulate their time. For example, instructors can use Achieve insights to review student time on task and then intervene by sharing resources or study suggestions, encouraging students to spend additional time, etc. as they deem appropriate. Goal Setting and Reflection Surveys in Achieve can also help students set goals and reflect on their time spent doing on-task behaviors like studying for class.
Beyond amount of time spent, the quality of time spent also influences academic performance (9). To help students engage in quality time-on-task behaviors, instructors may consider the following (10; 11):
➢ Thoroughly explain the demands of the task (e.g., assignments, homeworks, projects). Students often struggle to appropriately assess the demands of the task at hand (7).
➢ Provide rubrics, criteria, or examples and model desired skills, where appropriate. This gives students an idea of what it looks like to have mastered given knowledge or skills.
➢ Scaffold or guide students through more demanding learning outcomes or goals. Students may need assistance, and improvement-oriented guidance, as they practice using new knowledge or skills.
➢ When they’re ready, give students opportunities for independent practice . Engaged time-on-task is imperative during this time when students are working on tasks without assistance from instructors or peers.
1.Chickering, A. W. & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin, 3-7.
Carroll, J. B. (1963). A model of school learning. Teachers College Record, 64 , 723-733. 3. Prater, M. A. (1992). Increasing time-on-task in the classroom: Suggestions for improving the amount of time learners spend in on-task behaviors. Intervention in School and Clinic, 28 (1), 22-27.
Cho, M. H., & Shen, D. (2013). Self-regulation in online learning. Distance Education, 34 (3), 290-301.
Krause, U.-M., Stark, R., & Mandl, H. (2009). The effects of cooperative learning and feedback on e-learning in statistics. Learning and Instruction, 19 (2), 158-170.
Wellman, G. S., & Marcinkiewicz, H. (2004). Online learning and time-on-task: Impact of proctored vs. un-proctored testing. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 8, 93-104.
Ambrose, S., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & M. K. Norman, (2010). How learning works: 7 research-based principles for smart teaching . John Wiley & Sons. 8. Pascarella, E. T. & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How college affects students: A third decade of research, Volume 2 . Jossey-Bass.
Romero, M. & Barberà, E. (2011). Quality of e-learners’ time and learning performance beyond quantitative time-on-task. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12 (5), 125-137.
Marzano, R. J. (2007). The art and science of teaching: A comprehensive framework for effective education. ASCD.
Popham, W. J. (2009). Instruction that measures up: Successful teaching in the age of accountability. ASCD.
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In Achieve, we offer a series of Goal-Setting and Reflection Surveys that instructors can assign to students. What is the benefit of these surveys? Here's a great response from one of our researchers at Macmillan Learning:
Goal-setting and Reflection Surveys (GRS) are intended to promote self-regulated learning behaviors. GRS is foundational to life-long learning (1) .
GRS occurs when students can regulate aspects of their thinking, motivation, and behavior during the learning process (2) . In practice, this can look like:
Students setting their own achievement goals for the course or semester;
Students selecting which study strategies they will use (e.g., time management, collaboration, self-testing);
Students reflecting on their self-confidence and whether they are on- or off-track in terms of what they hope to achieve;
Students monitoring progress and revising study plans when necessary.
Applying GRS strategies in online learning environments has been shown to help students improve time management, metacognition (3) , and engagement in course assessments (4) . Overall, students who are more self-regulated tend to be more persistent and higher achieving (5; 6; 7) .
Using Achieve , instructors can help students hone their self-regulation skills (5; 2; 8; 7) .
Kurbanoglu, S. S. (2003). Self-efficacy: a concept closely linked to information literacy and lifelong learning. Journal of Documentation, 59 (6), 635–646.
Pintrich, P. R. & Zusho, A. (2002) Student motivation and self-regulated learning in the college classroom, in: J. C. Smart & W.G. Tierney (Eds) Higher Education: handbook of theory and research (pp. 55-128). Agathon Press.
Broadbent, J., & Poon, W. (2015). Self-regulated learning strategies & academic achievement in online higher education learning environments: A systematic review. The Internet and Higher Education, 27 , 1-13.
Kizilcec, R. F., Perez-Sanagustín, M. & Maldonado, J. (2017). Self-regulated learning strategies predict learner behavior and goal attainment in Massive Open Online Courses. Computers & Education, 104, 18-33.
Pintrich, P. R. (1995) Understanding self-regulated learning . Jossey-Bass.
Robbins, S. B., Lauver, K., Le, H., Davis, D., Langley, R., & Carlstrom, A. (2004). Do psychological and study skill factors predict college outcome? Psychological Bulletin, 130 , 261–288
Zimmerman, B. J. & Schunk, D. H. (2001) Self-regulated learning and academic achievement: theoretical perspectives . Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Schunk, D. H. (2005). Self-regulated learning: The educational legacy of Paul R. Pintrich. Educational Psychologist, 40 (2), 85-94.
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In Achieve, you can see all sorts of data about your students, which is great--except when you are overwhelmed by data. Here is one brief example of what you could do with information gleaned about your students from our research team here at Macmillan:
After viewing Achieve Insights for your course or students, here are some ways you can leverage strengths-based approaches to share feedback with students:
Help students identify talents or tasks performed exceptionally well (1).
Prompt students to consciously think about how to maximize performance in these areas of talent (1).
Encourage students to engage in more adaptive thinking around their performance by asking them to reflect on a time when they were successful; What strengths or talents did they use during that time? How did they use their strengths during that time (2)?
Focus student attention on resources available to them and their preferred future outcomes, rather than past histories or problems (3).
Promote healthy self-acceptance and internalization of the fact that everyone is fallible, nobody’s perfect.
Fredrickson, B. L., Tugade, M. M., Waugh, C. E., & Larkin, G. (2003). What good are positive emotions in crises? A prospective study of resilience and emotions following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11th, 2001. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84 , 365-376.
White, M. A., Waters, L. E. (2015). A case study of ‘The Good School:’ Examples of the use of Peterson’s strengths-based approach with students. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 10 (1), 69-76.
Warburton, D. E. R., & Bredin, S. S. D. (2019). Health benefits of physical activity: A strengths-based approach. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 8 (12) , 1-15.
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When you enter your Achieve course as an instructor, you are presented with options to add items such as quizzes, assignments, and readings; you can also build your own content directly into the course, upload your content from outside of Achieve, and link to other websites. It is important to keep accessibility in mind when creating or adding any type of content to your course.
Here are some tips from our accessibility team to keep in mind as you go through the course creation process:
Tips on Creating Accessible Courses
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As you may know, our student response system, iClicker, is included with some Achieve courses at no additional cost. What you may not know is that iClicker can be used to change the conversation in your classroom. Rather than hearing from just the handful of eager students sitting in the front row, iClicker empowers every single student in the class to participate. iClicker offers you a variety of ways to interact with your students. You can use a simple fill in the black to do a concept check before lecture. Multiple choice questions offer the opportunity for think, pair, share activities, where students answer on their own, then discuss results with their classmates, and respond again to reflect what they’ve learnedLearn how to use from each other. Anonymous questions allow for candid classroom dialogues without fear of judgment. These questions types and many more make it easier for you as an instructor to quickly evaluate student understanding, spark discussion, and engage the class as a whole. iClicker also makes it easier for your students to take an active role--students report that they are more confident participating in class and that the anonymity of iClicker makes them more likely to participate. Our Learning Science studies have shown that male and female students engage equally in iClicker activities. iClicker helps to shift the classroom conversation to include everyone, whether you are teaching in a huge lecture hall, an intimate symposium, or completely online. Interested in learning more about iClicker? Explore the iClicker Website Book a Demo Dive Into Learning Science Research Results
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Regular and Substantive Interactions? What’s that supposed to mean? It seems every new memo brings a new requirement for online teachers, so when the latest one required that our online courses verify the use of regular and substantive interactions, it was tempting to just shake my fist at a new “mandate” or complain about additional work. The other option, of course, was to really consider the design of my online writing class. Was I providing substantive interaction to my students? How do well-developed online writing courses – or any courses for that matter – naturally provide us with ways to interact with our students in ways that actually make meaningful connections with the content and with each other?
At its basis, the federal requirement that online courses provide “regular and substantive interactions” ensures that we aren’t just handing our students a package of material and wishing them good luck as they work through the class materials. At its best, it provides a menu of effective practices that are already embedded into our writing classes while offering the opportunity to add some new tools to our belt.
One characteristic of RSI is that the instructor initiates the interactions, and there are multiple ways we do this. We set up welcome messages, we create discussion boards, and we invite them to come by our office hours, but how can we initiate conversations without adding extra work for ourselves? Providing personalized feedback on an assignment is considered an instructor-initiated interaction, and how we choose to phrase that feedback can go a long way towards encouraging the students to interact with us. Instead of writing a comment about WHAT a student did in an essay, why not ask a question about WHY the student made a certain writing decision? Instead of asking students to write a reflective paragraph about their graded work, why not ask them to write a revision plan based on your feedback and bring it to their next conference? Make feedback an invitation to a conversation rather than the ending point of an assignment.
Another characteristic of RSI is that interactions are frequent and consistent. This can be something as simple as laying out a clear communication schedule letting students know they can expect an email every Monday and Friday or posting weekly announcements. It can, however, also be providing more frequent feedback on assignments. No, we can’t grade more essays, but we can add more checkpoints to what we already assign, more scaffolding to larger projects. We can turn big projects into multi-step projects, especially if we stop defining “drafts” as completed essays and use drafts to check just one part of the project – the thesis, a synthesis of a source, body paragraphs without introductions or conclusions. These take less time for an instructor to check and present students with more frequent interactions at points where that feedback can still affect change in the final product.
Of course, our interactions must also be substantive, which simply means that we need to provide our students with actionable feedback. Telling them what is right or wrong with their work simply isn’t enough for students. Our feedback needs to direct students to the tools they need to build their skills. This can take the form of links to relevant textbook sections, interactive grammar tutorials, or even links to extra mini-lectures designed by the instructor. Sometimes, it’s not enough to lead the horse to water, we really do need to show them how to drink.
None of these concepts are new. They’re already available to us and many of us use them in our online and traditional classes already. New calls to document RSI shouldn’t be seen as additional work but as a way to highlight what we already do well and to reassess whether the way we offer feedback invites conversation or simply justifies our grades.
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We have had a bunch of new features release for both Achieve and iClicker and if you want to see them in action, join us for a webinar where you can see how the new stuff works, learn why we added new functionality, and ask questions of our experts.
Sign Up Today
Achieve is January 7th at 2pm EST
iClicker is January 20th at 2pm EST
We will record both, so if you sign up, you'll get the recording emailed to you automatically or you can always return to our recordings page to see what else we have for you.
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Dr. Amanda Norbutus, a Chemistry professor at Valencia College, has found that student success in her classes can be hindered by limited soft skills. It is not a lack of content knowledge but rather a lack of skills needed to succeed in the classroom. Norbutus has found 4 key strategies that professors can use to help students gain these necessary skills over the course of the semester. Office Hours and Problem-Solving Sessions It is important to make office hours count. Many students come to office hours unprepared. Instead, request that students attempt a problem before bringing it to office hours to be addressed. In order to help students learn important problem-solving skills, have them practice solving problems ranging from medium to complex to bridge between introductory examples in text and those used to test mastery in homework and exams. Study Modules and In-Class Study Tips Research has shown that stronger neuropathways get built when students take handwritten or typed notes. These neuropathways not only become easier to access but also longer lasting, allowing students to be more successful. Advise and encourage students to write in shorthand or abbreviations instead of writing everything out word for word. Have them practice these skills so that they can work to improve on this style of note taking. Student Goal-Setting and Reflection Surveys The student surveys in Achieve can help students learn new study habits and modify the ones that did not work for them through careful evaluation throughout the semester. Students are then able to reflect on their journey to help them optimize their study habits during the semester as opposed to latent regret or change after the semester. Academic Affirmations Students should be asked to manually write down academic affirmations and why they believed they would help them stay focused and on track during the semester. Academic affirmations can help students stay their path as they face deadlines, outside time conflicts and stressors, and semester fatigue. It also can stimulate a growth mindset, which aids students as they take on the class. To learn more, watch Dr. Norbutus’ presentation on Academic Life Skills here .
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Now that you've figured out the content you want in your course, you need to assign that content in a way that makes sense for you and your course goals.
First, you need to figure out when you want those assignments to be due, and I would recommend a consistent pattern so students aren't caught unaware. Many instructors use the due date and time of 11:59pm on Sunday, but certainly others make sure the readings and adaptive quizzes are done just before each class (so maybe 9:45am for a M/W/F class that starts at 10am) but have homework done the day after class (so maybe 11:59pm on T/R) and quizzes every other week on Sunday night. You need to do what makes sense for you and your teaching style--but again, I would advocate for consistency, wherever possible, that you can outline in your syllabus.
You also need to determine the settings for each assignment. Maybe for a quiz, you let students only take it 1 time, but for a homework, you let a student have 3 attempts. Maybe you drop the lowest 1 grade in the category quiz but the lowest 3 grades for anything in the category of homework, if you assign more homeworks. Maybe the adaptive quizzing is worth 25% of the students' overall grade in Achieve, 25% for homework, and 50% is for summative quizzes or tests. And, of course, you need to determine how much the work in Achieve counts toward the overall course grade. All of this info, of course, should appear in the syllabus as well.
(For more information on the assignment settings and gradebook settings, check out the links to the knowledge base.)
Good luck as you work through the details of creating all your assignments in Achieve!
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Starting each of your classes with an iClicker entrance ticket helps settle your students into class and frame their brains for learning. An entrance ticket is simply an open-ended iClicker question you ask students at the start of class. We’ve put together a deck of entrance tickets that can be used in any discipline . Simply ask one of these questions using an iClicker short-answer polling question while you and your students get ready for class. Asking questions like, “What was most memorable about our last class meeting?” doesn’t take much effort on your part, but it can have a large impact on your students. These open-ended questions encourage your students to think back and access memories of prior learning experiences, uniquely framing their brains for new learning experiences. Other questions can encourage your students to think about projects outside of class or upcoming exams. The results of these polls will also give you a unique running insight into what your students are learning, remembering and where they may need additional guidance. Habitually using entrance tickets will also help your students check into iClicker and ensure they are counted as present with iClicker Attendance . Lastly, try and end your class with an iClicker Exit Poll to easily bookend your classes with iClicker. With an iClicker Exit Poll, students are asked to rate their understanding of the day’s class. They also are able to ask if there is anything that they would like explained further. And bonus-- adding both of these activities to your lesson plans shouldn’t take away from your time with your students.
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When creating a new course in Achieve, you will often be presented with the option to start with a pre-built course or browse resources. Each of these options has pros and cons, which we will describe below. The help articles listed below will also give you some insight into next steps once you have decided whether to start with a pre-built course.
Start with a Pre-built course
Add resources to your course
Are a great starting point for beginner instructors who would like a default approach to organizing their course
Are organized into units according to the text on which your course is based
Have a wide variety of curated resources already added to the course based on what is typically used or recommended
Have even more resources available to add from the Content Library if you'd like to supplement what comes with the pre-built course
The items in a pre-built course are already added to your course and do not need to be added from the Content Library, but you can always remove them or add more. You can choose from the items added to your course which ones you would like to assign with a due date and points .
Bulk assigning may be more difficult in a pre-built course
If you would like to assign items in bulk in a pre-built course, you will have to find each of the items in the course and check the box for it. In some cases, it may be easier to find and select resources to assign in bulk when browsing resources in the Content Library because it has a search feature. However, if the item is already added to your course (as many will be when using a pre-built course), you will not be able to assign it in bulk using the Content Library. The checkboxes will be greyed out and not allow you to select the item for bulk assigning.
If you choose to Browse Our Library Of Content rather than Start With A Pre-Built Course, you will no longer have the option to use the pre-built course . Make sure this is the option you want before you select it. (If you choose not to use the pre-built course and later decide you'd like to try it, you can do so only if you create a new course.) Browsing resources rather than using a pre-built course allows you to:
Search for and add only specific resources to your course (You can type in a term to search for, or filter items by Chapter/Topic, Resource Type, or Recommended Use)
Easily create your own units and course organization as you add items to your course
Easily assign items or change their visibility as you add them to your course
If you're not sure, start with a pre-built course
A pre-built course gives you a starting point to work from when building your course. You can still add resources or remove any you don't like. You can also add or remove units and reorganize resources in the pre-built course. The only drawback of using a pre-built course is that it may be more cumbersome to assign items in bulk or organize items in your course , since you can't do it as part of the process of adding them.
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Now that you've figured out your Achieve course delivery method, you need to determine how you want to manager you sections. A Section Manager with sections is the easiest way to manage the content of multiple sections from one place-- the Section Manager. It’s also the easiest way to manage course sections of the same course taught by multiple different TAs/instructors. However, Section Managers do have certain limitations.
In Achieve, you can create course sections under a Section Manager. All of the sections are copies of the Section Manager course, and depending on settings you choose, they may inherit changes from the Section Manager.
How does a Section Manager work?
Section Managers do not allow the following actions. These actions would instead be taken in each course section.
Viewing assignment scores or completion information in the assignment list, gradebook, and reports
Creating due date exceptions or student-specific assignments
Creating groups of students
Performing LMS integration
How do the sections work?
The course sections under the Section Manager have two different permission sets: Restricted Access and Full Access. In general, Restricted Access is used when you want changes in the Section Manager to flow down into the sections. Restricted Access instructors have limitations on the changes they can make within the course, while Full Access instructors have complete control over the content. The differences between these section types will be covered in more and more detail throughout this article.
Is a Section Manager with sections the right set up for me?
A Section Manager with sections is the easiest way to manage the content of multiple sections from one place-- the Section Manager. It’s also the easiest way to manage course sections of the same course taught by multiple different TAs/instructors. However, Section Managers do have certain limitations.
You will not be able to integrate your Section Manager with an LMS or enroll students in it. You will only be able to set up integration with the section courses under the Section Manager once those have been created.
You will not be able to customize the name, course code, or course start/end dates for each section. This information will be inherited from the Section Manager.
You will not be able to edit Diagnostic activities once sections are created.
The alternative to creating a Section Manager with sections would be to create copies of a single course (not tied to a Section Manager). Functionally, this is almost exactly the same as creating Full Access sections. The only benefit of creating single course copies is that they can have unique course names and start/end dates, while Full Access sections can only inherit this information from the Section Manager. There are also drawbacks to using single course copies. A course coordinator can quickly add an instructor or TA to a Full Access section, but this is not possible for a single course copy. This would have to be done through Macmillan Learning Customer Support. Also, this setup only allows you to add content items you create to a single course, rather than all of your sections. See the table below for further comparison.
Comparison of section/course types
Below is a table with a brief comparison of the different section types under a Section Manager (Restricted Access and Full Access) vs. course copies that are not tied to a Section Manager. We'll cover the differences between Restricted and Full Access sections in more detail later in this article.
Restricted Access section
Full Access section
Course Copy (not tied to a Section Manager)
Who controls how content is organized in the section course?
Section Manager instructor
Full Access section instructor
Course Copy instructor
Who controls who has instructor access to the section courses?
Section Manager instructor
Section Manager instructor
Macmillan Customer Support
Can I customize the course info such as the course name, course code, start and end dates?
No, it’s inherited from the Section Manager
No, it’s inherited from the Section Manager
Newly created Files and Links from the Section Manager are automatically added to the section course
No, but you can add these manually
Newly created Assessments and Writing assignments from the Section Manager are automatically added to the section course
No, you can only add these to one course
Receives changes to the content of Assessments from the Section Manager
Receives changes to the content of Writing Assignments from the Section Manager
Receives changes to the Target Score and Topics for LearningCurve Adaptive Quizzes and Read & Practice assignments from the Section Manager
Receives changes to Diagnostic assignments from the Section Manager
Receives changes to the content of the course from the Section Manager
Section instructor can change the content in the section course or assignments
Section instructor can change assignment settings such as due date and points
*Full Access sections will receive changes to LearningCurve Adaptive Quizzes and Read & Practice assignments from the section manager only if the assignment has never been opened in that Full Access section.
For more instructions, go here to create a Section Manager and see how to manage those sections as well. (And, as always, talk to your local representative, specialist, or sign up for a training if you want more information about how these choices apply to you and your course goals.)
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So you’ve decided to use Achieve. Congratulations!
The first step is to figure out how you are going to deliver Achieve to your students. Will you have the bookstore sell codes, or have the students buy access online, or does your school offer an Inclusive Access program that you should join? Does your school require you to use an LMS--and if so, which one? Maybe you want to do what we call “deep integration” so students sign into the school LMS and see all their work for Achieve there. How do you determine this?
Your bookstore will know if there is an Inclusive Access course materials discount program on campus. Your local Macmillan representative might know as well. Start there. Your Macmillan representative will ALSO know if other people at your school are doing deep integration (so maybe it’s already set up on your campus) or inclusive access.
Talk to your bookstore and your Macmillan representative to figure out what makes sense for you BEFORE you even start creating your Achieve course.
And if you know already that you want to do LMS integration, here are a series of directions based on your LMS.
Blackboard Ultra: https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Table-of-Contents-for-Deep-Integration-with-Blackboard-Ultra
And if you know already that you want to do Inclusive Access, start talking to your Macmillan Learning representative now so we can make sure you’re all set up for the next semester.
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