Background Lesson Generation

Lesson series are generated in the background.  You will see your dialog will close near immediately, and a quick notice will flash over the course, telling you that the work has started.

In a few seconds you should see an alert, telling you the work is complete, and your row will update automatically:

The alert has some important information:

  • How many lessons were created
  • Date of the end of the series
  • A button to jump to the end of the series
  • An x icon to dismiss the alert

Background generation helps with overall system performance, and is enabled for series creation and updates.

Happy Planning 

Adding Courses To Students

To add courses to students, click on the courses label in top-left corner of the planning grid:

or select add from the courses menu.

This brings up the Add Course dialog:

Note: for new students, the dialog pops up automatically.

To add a course, take these three steps:

  1. Enter a course name and a subject name.  Scholaric will try to match existing courses and subjects for you automatically.  If it does find a match, you can select these names from a drop-down menu.
  2. If you'd like to add the course to multiple students, check the checkbox next to their names.  The student whose grid is displayed is automatically checked and disabled - to force that student to get the course.
  3. Finally, hit the Add button in the lower right corner of the dialog.

Hitting add performs a number of actions for you, including:

  1. Create the course, if it does not exist; otherwise, find the existing course by name.  If the course does exist, the entered subject name is ignored. 
  2. Create the subject, if it does not exist; otherwise, find the existing subject by name.
  3. Add the course to each of the selected students.

The new course is then displayed and highlighted for you, and a message indicating the results is displayed in the dialog.

Note: the dialog remains open so that multiple actions can be taken quickly.

The Scholaric Challenge

At the Midwest Parent Educators Conference, Scholaric was put to the test.  A new user signed up, set up a course and wanted help entering a complex repeating lesson.  It is a useful case study to explain what Scholaric can do, and how to go about analyzing.

The facts have been changed to protect the innocent...

"My Math program has 25 lessons, each of which are divided into 6 parts, a, through f..."

Okay, no problem Scholaric handles that.

"...but we do 2 parts per day..."

Sure, Scholaric does that too.

"...AND we are on lesson 7, and have already done parts a and b of it..."

That's a lot to consume, but we want to generate

Lesson 7 parts c-d
Lesson 7 parts e-f
Lesson 8 parts a-b
Lesson 8 parts c-d
Lesson 8 parts e-f
Lesson 9 parts a-b
Lesson 9 parts c-d
Lesson 9 parts e-f
...

and so on.  

Breaking this down, it first is a nested sequence, an outer numeric sequence {7-25} and an inner alphabetic sequence {a-f}:

Lesson {7-25} parts {a-f}

But that would be one part per day.  To do 2 parts per day, we need to use the group operator * (increment it two times per day):

Lesson {7-25} parts {a-f*2}

The only problem is that the first lesson must be Lesson 7 parts c-d, not Lesson 7 parts a-b.  I can't just change the inner sequence to parts {c-f*2}, because Lesson 8 must start with parts a-b.  This is accomplished through seeding, using the colon:

Lesson {7-25} parts {a-f*2:c}

This way, the inner sequence is a-f, but starts with c-f.

Happy Planning

Menus - updated look and feel

Some changes to the navigation menus are here, in part to make room for transcripts.  The old menus looked like this:

The new menus look like this:

The changes are small, but significant:

  • The title of Scholaric with the student's name are moved up a level
  • The menu options have slid over to the left
  • The current page is indicated with a white underline 
  • The switch-student menu is moved into the navigation area on all screens
  • Clicking on the student's name activates the switch-student menu

It is still the case that clicking on Scholaric takes you to the dashboard.

Group Weighted Grading

Scholaric offers two group-weighted grade formulas:

  • Group-point weighted - a grade is calculated from a set of weighted lesson groups,  which themselves will be graded by a point-weighted formula.
  • Group-equal weighted - a grade is calculated from a set of weighted lesson groups,  which themselves will be graded by an equal-weighted formula. 

In short, each group is scored, and the grade is a weighted average of the groups.  The difference between the two is how the score for the group is calculated.  

For example, for Astronomy, you may specify these groups:

  • lessons: 30%
  • tests: 50%
  • observations 20%.

Group-Weighted Grading Terms

Below, the following terms are used:

  • Group-weighted Grade Type is a grade type which uses group-weighted grading.
  • Lesson Group is a name given to a group of lessons which will be graded as a whole and assigned a weight.
  • Weight is the value that a group is given, determining how much of an impact a group has on the final score.

Setup of Groups and Weights

These group-weighted grade types require an extra step of setup - defining the lesson groups for a course and their respective weights. This can be done for any course using either group-point weighted or group-equal weighted grade types.  First, you must make the course use that grade type:

Note that a menu to change grade type now appears on the course menu in the planning grid. Once the course uses a group-weighted grade type, the menu changes, allowing you to edit the group weights:

The report card has this capability as well, but in either case, the course must have a group-weighted grade type.

Clicking on this brings up a new dialog:

The dialog shows all of the groups you have created, and creates one named Lessons if you have not created any.  For each group, you must supply a name, a weight, and indicate if it is the default group.

The weights must add up to 100%, or the displayed total will turn red and updates will be disallowed.  The picture also has a red weight for the default group, because the default group cannot have a zero weight.

To set the weight of existing groups, just enter the weight.  To add a new group, like Observations in the example, click the Add Group button.

With all groups weighted correctly, the last thing to do is select a proper default group.  With all this done, click the Update button.

Deleting a weight

When editing existing weights, the Delete button is enabled.  Clicking this resets the group's weight value to zero.  The weight will be deleted on the next update.

If there are no other courses using that group, and no lessons referencing the group, the group is deleted as well.

Assigning a Group to a Lesson

With the group weights set up, you can assign lessons to their groups.  For a group weighted course only, the lesson dialog shows a group field:

The selection control displays only the groups which have a weight for the course in the current period.  Scholaric automatically selects the group you labeled as default for this course.

Happy Planning

    Splitting and Grouping Lesson Sequences

    I have just released Scholaric with a new lesson planning feature that I call splitting and grouping.

    Previously, all lesson sequences incremented by a single value, for each day it was scheduled.

    Now with split and grouped sequences, we can alter this behavior where desired.

    Splitting a Sequence

    Lessons in a sequence can be split or divided, across multiple days, so that the same lesson appears for multiple scheduled days.  You might use this if you want, for example, a chapter of your book for a whole week.

    A split sequence is the equivalent of creating a sequence with one value for a number of days, then the next value for the next few days, and then the next value for the next few days...

    Split sequences are indicated by following the range with a slash '/' and the number of days to split the lesson across.

     

    The above split sequence generates lessons with the following pattern:

    Read and Outline Genesis Chapter 1
    Read and Outline Genesis Chapter 1
    Read and Outline Genesis Chapter 2
    Read and Outline Genesis Chapter 2
    Read and Outline Genesis Chapter 3
    Read and Outline Genesis Chapter 3
    Read and Outline Genesis Chapter 4
    Read and Outline Genesis Chapter 4
    ...

    and would result in 2 chapters a week, since the student has it assigned 4 days per week.

    Grouping a Sequence

    While splitting uses the same values in a range multiple times, grouping does the opposite - specifying multiple values from the range show up in a single day.  A group is useful to, for example, assign a certain number of pages from a range each day.

    A grouped sequence is the equivalent of entering a literal range each day, with each new range starting after the previous range ended.

    Grouped sequences are indicated by following the range with an asterisk '*' and the number of values from the range to include in each group.


    The above grouped sequence generates lessons with the following pattern:

    War and Peace Pages 7-16
    War and Peace Pages 17-26
    War and Peace Pages 27-36
    War and Peace Pages 37-46
    War and Peace Pages 47-56
    ...

    and would result in 30 pages per week, since the student has it assigned 3 days per week.

    Note that the range 7-100 does not divide evenly into sets of 10.  Scholaric detects this, and makes the final range smaller.  In this case it is 97-100.

    Happy Planning

    Advanced Lesson Sequences

    Scholaric now supports additional lesson sequences.

    In addition to numeric ranges like this:

    Lesson {1-10}

    You can now use alphabetic ranges as well:

    Section {A-G}

    lower case works too:

    Parts {a-d}

    Some of our series have two sequences nested inside each other, like a letter (a-c) within a number (1-5)

    Lesson 1 Part a
    Lesson 1 Part b
    Lesson 1 Part c
    Lesson 2 Part a
    Lesson 2 Part b
    Lesson 2 Part c
    Lesson 3 Part a
    Lesson 3 Part b
    Lesson 3 Part c
    Lesson 3 Part a
    ...

    To do this use

    Lesson {1-10} Part {a-c}

    These nested sequences introduce a new problem. For the above example, if you needed to continue (say you had limit of 10 lessons set), you will need to start the numeric (outer) range at 3, and the inner (alphabetic) range at b. But, the range of {b-c} applies only to the first sub-range for the rest, it needs to revert back to the full {a-c}, or you will skip Lesson 4 Part a.

    We need a new syntax to cover this case. This is called seeding, which starts your inner series at a point other than the first value in the range.

    Seeding is set by following your range with a colon and the seed value.

    Lesson {3-10} Part {a-c:b}

    This inner seeded sequence is b-c for Lesson 3, a-c for the rest.

    Happy Planning

    Print Scholaric Grid

    New this morning, you can print the Scholaric grid.

    This is in response to numerous requests from users, who want the grid to be their weekly printout.

    Please note that the second page does not have the same header as the first page, due to limitations in HTML printing.  Hopefully, that will change in the future.

    Happy Planning