How do I align existing courses to new domain terms and grading periods?

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Two actions are required in order to align an existing course with the domain defined grading periods.
  • Align / Add domain defined grading periods in the course settings

  • Assign the root folders in the course syllabus to grading periods

This article guides teachers who have existing courses that use course specific grading periods to re-align the course to use school/domain defined grading periods.

NOTE:  If the course has masters and derivatives, be sure to make these changes in the master course and not the derivative sections.

 View this tutorial via video.

Below is an example course with two grading periods (Semester 1 and Semester 2) and four activities.  Two of the activities are associated with the first grading period (Semester 1) and two of the activities are associated with the second grading period (Semester 2).

When terms and grading periods are defined in the school domain, a new drop down menu appears in the upper menu bar.  When the course is opened, the existing course defined grading periods will be listed.  Users can toggle between the grading periods using this menu.  If this menu is not visible in the course, it means that either grading periods were not defined in the school domain or that the course has been set to not use grading periods.

STEP ONE: Adjust Course Settings

To update the course so that grading periods are aligned to those defined in the school domain: from the course editor, click the "wrench" icon and select "Course settings".

When the course settings page is opened, the system will replace the "School year" field with the current school year (defined in the school domain by the Echo Administrator).  If not, select the current school year.  If the drop down menu for the school year is not available, the Echo Administrator hasn't set them up in the domain yet.

The system will also replace the existing grading periods with the new domain defined grading periods.  The first grading period in the course will be replaced by the first grading period defined in the domain.  The second grading period will be replaced by the second grading period defined in the domain, etc.

In our example course, the "Semester 1" grading period was replaced by "Domain Sem 1".   The "Semester 2" grading period was replaced by "Domain Sem 2".

In most cases, this is all the teacher needs to do.  Activities that were aligned to the course defined grading periods will be aligned to the new domain defined grading periods.

In some cases, the automatic replacement doesn't reflect how the assignments in the course were associated.  For example, the course defined "Semester 2" might be first on the list and get the new "Domain Sem 1" label.  In those cases, users can edit the grading periods to match the course activities.  To edit the grading periods:

  1. In the Grading Periods control panel, click the grading period name to open the edit window.
  2. Use the drop down menu to select the correct domain defined grading period.
  3. Click the "Done" button to save
  4. To reorder the grading period, click the small arrows in the bottom of the Grading Period panel.  This will open a new window.  
  5. Use the down and up arrows to reorder the grading periods.
  6. You may be prompted to update the enrollment start/end dates to match the updated course. Select Yes. Click "Done" to save

NOTE: Clever integrated schools select NO, as this is managed by the sync process


STEP TWO: Update Folders and Activities in Syllabus

Once the course settings are saved with the new grading periods, teachers must update their root folders (the top folders in the course syllabus) so that Echo knows which grading periods they belong to.  Only the root folders (the top folders in the course syllabus) need to be assigned a grading period, sub folders cannot be associated with a grading period and inherit the root folder's settings.

Because previously the folders were not associated with a grading period, the system assign all folder to the first available grading periods.  This may temporarily cause items to display in the incorrect grading period of the gradebook.  This will usually be resolved as soon as the folders are assigned a grading period.

To assign a folder to a grading period, open the folder's settings

Helpful Hint: To make changes to several course items at once, use the Bulk Update feature in the Activities tab of the course editor.


Here are some additional guidelines for consideration:

  1. It is not necessary to assign all items a grading period. Teachers only need to update the root folders in their course.  The folder's visibility in the Syllabus and Table of Contents pages is filtered by the Grading Period Selector at the top of those pages.
  2. Ungraded items and sub-folder do not have a grade period setting.  All items and sub-folders will appear under the root folder when the root folder is displayed.
  3. Graded items still have the option to select a grading period that is different from the parent folder.  In that case, the item will continue to be displayed in the syllabus and table of contents under the parent folder.  But in the gradebook, the item will be filtered by the item's grade period setting, not the folder setting.

Possible Unexpected Behaviors

In most cases, updating the folder's grade period settings will seamlessly display the content as expected.  There are a few outlier cases where teachers may experience some unexpected behavior.

Example: Imagine a root folder that has two gradable items in it. One item is associated with "grading period one" and the second item is associated with "grading period two". You might expect that the first item would be displayed when “grading period one” was selected, and that the second item would be selected when “grading period two” was selected.  But when the teacher associates the root folder with "grading period one", both of the items will be displayed in the syllabus when "grading period one" is selected. Even though the second item is associated with "grading period two", because it's in a folder associated with "grading period one", it will not be visible when "grading period two" is selected. The second item will appear in "grading period two" in the gradebook.  





Echo is constantly being improved based on the feedback from users and we strive to keep our documentation up to date.  If this document doesn’t match what you are seeing in Echo, please let us know.

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