What are Echo's advanced feature settings?

Note: This document references views and actions that are only available to Echo Administrators

One of Echo's unique features is the ability to customize the user experience from a very simple version with just the basic features, to a robust (and complex) LMS with powerful features that match any instructional approach. Advanced features can be hidden when not needed and exposed as teachers get more comfortable leveraging a digital LMS to support deeper and more personalized instruction strategies. In some districts, for example, schools may be at different places in their adoption technology or of deeper learning practices. Districts may choose to simplify Echo for those schools by hiding the advanced PBL, assessment, and differentiation tools from the users. For further teacher level customization, any advanced feature that has been turned off at the domain can be turned on for individuals who are ready for them.  

See "How do I manage the advanced feature controls" for instructions on adjusting advanced features.

 

What settings should I use?

Below are descriptions of each of the advanced feature controls. For the simplest possible user experience, turn all the advanced features off. For the most powerful (and complex) version of Echo, turn all the features on. Most schools will want to carefully balance simplicity and features by thoughtfully selecting which advanced features are most valuable.

For some example of different advanced feature configuration, open the following "Echo Advanced Features" attachment.

 

 

Advanced Feature Descriptions

Calendar Tool

Description:  Enabling the Calendar Tool in the domain adds a new button to the teacher main menu which allows them to open a page that lists all of the course activities by due date.  Teachers can elect to view the activities in one, many or all of their courses.

Recommendation:  Enable - Even though many teacher might not use the Calendar Tool, it doesn't add much complexity. It's recommended to enable the Calendar Tool unless the goal is to provide the simplest possible LMS to teachers.

 

 

Course Black Out Dates

Description:  This feature is typically only used for virtual, self-paced courses.  When a publisher or district creates courses that students can start at any time (i.e. credit recovery), Echo will automatically assign the due dates for pre-created "playlists" of activities.  To avoid due dates being assigned on a holiday, "black out dates" can be defined in the domain.  Enabling this feature displays a new panel on the Course Settings page that allows teachers to override the black out dates defined in the domain.

Recommendation:  Disable - This feature is not necessary in most school contexts.  Unless self-paced, continuous courses are in use, black out dates don't need to be defined at the domain level and a feature to override them is unnecessary.  This feature could be turned on for select teachers who manage continuous, self-paced courses.

 

 

Enrollment Completion Settings

Description:  This feature is typically only used for virtual, self-paced courses.  When a publisher or district creates courses that a student completes at their own pace, the course can be designed with a set of triggers that mark when the student has successfully completed the course.  The default setting is that completion is manually triggered by the teacher.

Recommendation:  Disable - This feature is not necessary in most school contexts.  This feature could be turned on for select teachers who manage continuous, self-paced courses. Enabling this feature displays a new panel (see below) on the Course Settings page that allows teachers to override the black out dates defined in the domain.

 

 

 

Publisher Settings

Description:  The Publisher Settings feature allows for protecting the content they produce.  Enabling this feature adds an additional control panel to the course settings.

Recommendation:  Disable - These options are typically not used by schools.

 

 

Student Self-Assessments

Description:  Nicknamed the "heartbeat tool", the self-assessment allows students to evaluate their personal understanding, interest, and effort in a course using a simple four-point scale for each. When enabled, a heart icon is displayed on the student's course home page. When clicked, the student is prompted to rate themselves. Teachers can review the results from the People tool and can use them to guide intervention and personalized attention.

Recommendation:  Enable - Remind teachers to conduct this self-assessment surveys frequently to get a sense of how students are feeling about their participation in the course.

 

 

Group-Specific Settings (Differentiation)

Description:  Echo allows teachers to customize the course activities so that different students interact with the course materials in different ways depending on what group they are in. For example, a teacher could make a special group for students who need accommodations and set the due date differently for those students. Students can also be designated in a group for low reading level, and might see different activities than the students in the high reading level group.  

Recommendation:  Optional - This is an advanced feature used by teacher who are ready to leverage Echo's unique differentiation capabilities. Because it can add a layer of complexity to course authoring, it could make sense to disable it for non-differentiated courses or if users have little experience using an LMS.

See "How do I use groups for differentiation with activities?" for more information.

 

 

Editor Side Panels

Description:  Enabling the Editor Side Panels expands the course syllabus (where teachers author and manage course activities) so that two additional frames are visible. The frame on the left provides access to badging and content standards information while the frame on the right displays information about the selected activity and quick access to items in the teacher's library.  

Recommendation:  Enable - Unless the goal is to dramatically simplify Echo for beginner users, the panels gives teachers quick access to information and convenient features.

 

 

Project Screen

Description:  Enabling the Project Screen feature adds a new tab to the teacher's course editor. This tab allows teachers to more easily author and manage PBL units in their course.

Recommendation:  Enabled - For school working to implement a Project-Based Learning curriculum, this is a critical feature.  Consider disabling only in schools not actively implementing PBL.

 

 

Scheduling Screen

Description:  Enabling the Scheduling Screen feature adds a new tab to the teacher's course editor. This tab provides an interface where teachers can easily drag and drop assignments onto a calendar to set the due date.

Recommendation:  Enabled - Unless the goal is to dramatically simplify Echo for beginner users, the Scheduling tab gives a handy tool for setting due dates.

 

 

Advanced Activity Settings

Description:  When new items and activities are added to a course, they inherit default settings that are adequate for most teachers in most applications.  Enabling the Advanced Activity Settings feature adds two additional control panels to the Item Editor, Advanced Activity Options and Advanced Grading Options. These panels allow more flexibility in customizing the item.

Recommendation:  Disabled for beginners, enabled for experienced users who want more options for setting up their course assignments. Some of these settings can create unexpected behaviors if the user doesn't fully understand how they work.

 

 

Advanced Visibility Settings

Description:  When new items and activities are added to a course, they inherit default visibility settings (visible to students and observers). Teacher can hide items by clicking the "eye" icon in the syllabus view.  Enabling the Advanced Visibility Settings feature adds an additional control panels to the Item Editor that allow for different visibility configurations.

Recommendation:  Enabled - Unless the goal is to dramatically simplify Echo for beginner users, the panel gives teachers more flexibility in controlling item visibility.

 

 

Let Teachers Send Email

Description:  When this feature is enabled, a new button is visible on the Communication tool that gives teachers the ability to author emails within Echo to communicate with their students.  

Recommendation:  Enable

Let Teachers Post Announcements

Description:  When this feature is enabled, a new button is visible on the Communication tool that gives teachers the ability to send announcements to the students in their courses.  

Recommendation:  Enable

 

 

Clipboard Tool

Description:  The Clipboard is a powerful tool for differentiating Echo course materials by allowing teachers to select individual or groups of students and quickly assign new activities. Clipboard assignments can be used to either remediate content the student didn't master or extend the curriculum for advanced students. The Clipboard tool can also be used to assign badges or send messages to students. Enabling the Clipboard feature gives teachers access to the unique and flexible tool by adding two new buttons to the Course Editor menu bar (one for adding students to the Clipboard and one for navigating to the Clipboard tool) and also adds the Clipboard as a menu item in the main navigation menu.

Recommendation:  Disabled for less experienced users; enabled for experienced power users. We recommend providing training on Clipboard best practices to ensure the tool is used to it's maximum effect.  See, "How do I use the Clipboard tool?" for more information.

 

 

Community Tool

Description:  The Community tool connects Echo users to other teachers and school staff across the New Tech Network. Using the Community tool, users can find exemplary projects that have been shared, share a project with others, find other teachers to connect with, and join topical groups for collaboration.  Enabling this feature adds the "Community" option to the main navigation menu.

Recommendation:  Enabled

 

 

 

Unit Summary Screen

Description:  Enabling the Unit Summary Screen adds an additional tab to the course gradebook that provides a visual representation of the student's progress through each unit.

Recommendation:  Enabled - Unless the goal is to dramatically simplify Echo for beginner users, the Unit Summary Screen gives teachers useful information about student progress in the course.

 

Badges

Description:  Badging is an innovative way to recognize when students have mastered certain content or achieved defined benchmarks. Enabling this features allows teachers to add badges to their courses or use domain defined badges.

Recommendation:  Disabled for less experienced users; enabled for experienced power users. We recommend providing training on badging practices to ensure the tool is used to its maximum effect.

 

Objective Mastery

Description:  Enabling the Objective Mastery feature allows course authors to import and/or create objectives/standards and align them with activities to track student mastery. Enabling this features adds a new panel to the course editor for associating objectives/standards with an activity and a new tab on the course gradebook that informs teachers which objectives/standards each student has mastered.

Recommendation:  Disabled for most schools; enabled for schools moving toward competency based instructional practices or that have a need to track objectives/standards.

 

Multi-Outcome Scoring

Description:  The Multi-Outcome Scoring feature is one of the most unique features of Echo. Enabling this feature in the domain allows teachers to configure the course settings to use the Multi-Outcome Scoring gradebook instead of a traditional gradebook.

Recommendation:  Enabled when using PBL or assessing learning outcomes; disabled for more traditional instructional practices.

 

 

Advanced Course Settings

Description:  Enabling the Advanced Course Settings feature adds the Advanced Options panel to the Course Settings page. This panel has several options to customize the behavior of the course.  

Recommendation:  Disabled for most user contexts; enabled for experienced power users.

 

 

Grade Categories

Description:  Enabling this features adds the Grading Categories control panel to the Course Settings page. Different from the outcomes that are used for Multi-Outcomes Scoring, the categories allow teachers to classify assignments (i.e. tests, homework, etc or graded vs. ungraded). Even though the category feature is seldom used when Multi-Outcome Scoring is enabled, the panels have other controls, such as setting the grading scale, that teachers may need to access.  

Recommendation:  Enabled

Grade Periods

Description:  Enabling this feature adds the Grading Periods control panel to the Course Settings page.  Grading periods allow courses to be divided into smaller components such as semesters or quarters which are configured at the domain level. Optionally, teachers can add weighting to each grading period to produce a final course grade.

Recommendation:  Enabled

Grade Scales

Description:  Enabling this feature adds the Grading Scales control panel to the Course Settings page.  Grade scales determine what letter or label is associated with a percentage score.  

Recommendation:  Enabled

Final Grades

Description:  In cases where students are enrolled in continuous courses or when course masters are repurposed each term, teachers are required to "finalize" student scores to freeze their grades and end their enrollment. Enabling this features adds an option to the course gradebook to finalize grades.

Recommendation:  Disabled unless an SIS integration is being used or students are enrolled in continuous courses.

 

 

 

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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