Once you have your courses set up, there so many amazing ways you can customize each course to meet your family’s unique needs. Perhaps you’ve created a Custom Course, and you’re ready to start adding assignments. Or, maybe you have purchased a Curriculum Schedule, but you see that you need to split one day’s assignments into two, add an extra assignment for an older student, or make some other adjustment. Whatever the need may be, the customization options are designed to help you meet that need!
Customizing Courses Instructional
Once you have courses set up in Online Planning, you’re ready to go back and either add assignments to your Custom Courses or make adjustments to your purchased Curriculum Schedules.
There’s a lot of information here, but you can take it piece by piece, looking at only what is relevant for your immediate needs.
Start by logging into your account, then click on the Courses icon in the main menu at the top of your Online Planning screen.
Creating Initial Assignments in Custom Courses
In order to build a schedule in your Custom Course, you need to add assignments based on the schedule you established when you created the course. Choose the course you want to work in and click the “plus” icon beside Assignments.
At this point, you must build your foundational assignments. That means you can only create lessons for now. Later, you will be able to add a variety of assignment types, including quizzes, worksheets, tests, and more. To start, though, you need at least one lesson to get started.
Course Start Date: This may be the first day of the school year, or it might be a different day. (Note: To set a date before the first date of your school year, you either need to go to “School Setup” in the dropdown menu under your profile and change the school year starting date or you need to set up the course in a different school year.)
Select Book or Add New Book?: If you desire book titles to be included with your assignments, either click a book you’ve already added or click “Yes” beside “Add new book?” to enter a different book.
Assignment Type: Lesson is the required selection for now. If you decide to add additional assignments in the future, this menu will include additional options.
Assignment Pre-Text: This allows you to customize the wording on your assignments. It can be as simple as the suggestions listed, or it can be more detailed, such as “Read Mystery of the Roman Ransom chapter.” The wording you enter here will show up on all of the Lessons created.
Select Numbering System: If you’d like your assignments to be numbered in any way, choose a numbering system here. For instance, if you used “Read Mystery of the Roman Ransom chapter” in the Pre-Text and wanted your student to read one chapter at a time, you would select 1, 2, 3, 4 as your numbering system. By setting up 25 lessons numbered in this way, your assignments would automatically read “Read Mystery of the Roman Ransom chapter 1,” then chapter 2, and so on through the end of the book.
Select Assignments Per Day: If you would like your student to consistently complete more than one assignment per day, you may specify that here.
Select Assignment Frequency: This option allows you to customize beyond the course dating that you established when you set up the course. For instance, if you set up your course for a Monday through Friday schedule, but this particular type of assignment will only fall on Mondays, you can choose “Once a Week.” Double check to make sure that your start date is on a Monday, and all instances of this particular assignment will fall on a Monday.
Select Number of Assignments: How many times will this particular assignment occur? Put that number here. You may enter up to 100 lessons at a time. Click Add.
Preview Your Assignments: A preview summary of your assignments will appear at the bottom of your screen. If you’d like to make changes, go back and do so now. If you are satisfied, click Create Assignments.
You will now be taken back to your course where you will see your assignments entered and in their appropriate places. You may edit or add to any assignment by clicking on the assignment itself and making changes in the pop-up box.
Adding Additional Assignments
There are two ways to add additional assignments.
Customize each assignment individually by choosing the assignment you wish to add to and clicking on the plus icon in the upper right-hand corner of the assignment box. Select the assignment type you wish to include, then enter an assignment title and click Submit. It’s that easy! After the assignment is created, you can even add a book by clicking the plus icon under the Books column. Either choose from the available books or enter a new book title in the search box, then select the desired book and click Submit.
Add a Series of Assignments
You may also add assignments in bulk by clicking Create Assignments close to the top of the page. You will see a box very similar to your initial assignment creation box, with a few changes:
Instead of Course Start Date, you will see Assignment Date. This is the date of your first assignment in the list.
Next, there is a Move Assignments forward option. If you select Yes, then any new assignments will automatically bump the dates of the existing assignments, bumping them forward. If you select No, the lessons will overlap, showing up on the same days as the existing assignments.
Instead of being limited to Lessons, you will see a variety of options in the Assignment Type box.
If you are adding lessons, you will continue to see the Assignment Frequency and Number of Assignments per Day options. All other assignment types lack these two options.
Proceed as you did entering the original lessons, choosing desired books, pre-text, and number of assignments. Then click Add.
At this point, you have two options. You can either click Save Assignments and return to the assignments page or you can add more assignment types! Just go back up to Assignment Type and enter your next set of choices. You can repeat this as many times as desired, but only with assignment types that have not yet been selected. Once you are done, click Save Assignments.
As you return to your course schedule, you’ll see that new assignments show up in one of two ways:
New Lessons will show up in the date you selected. If you overlapped the dates, you’ll see that there are multiple lessons on each day. If you chose to have assignments moved forward, you’ll still see one lesson each day.
All other assignment types will be listed in the right-hand sidebar. You have two options.
Drag & Drop Option: Select any assignment and drag it into your assignment column with your mouse. You can either place it on a day that a lesson already exists, adding it to that lesson, or you can drag it between existing days. The dates will automatically shift, adding a new day to your lesson plans.
Datasheet: Select from the dropdown menu where you want each assignment to fall. For instance, if you’d like to place a quiz after Lesson 5, simply select Lesson 5 from the dropdown menu. Complete this selection for as many assignments as desired, then click Save. The system will automatically place each assignment in its appropriate spot and adjust all dates accordingly.
Making Changes Throughout the Year
What if you need to make changes once you have everything set up? That’s easy, too! Here are a few tricks to remember throughout the year.
Bump a Date: Click on the date box for the assignment that needs to move. Choose your new date and watch for a box to pop up on your screen. You can choose to move only this one assignment (Single). No other assignment dates will change. You can also Batch Modify. When you do this, all subsequent assignments will automatically move by the same number of days. You also have the Batch Modify for All Students option. If you have multiple students using the same course, you can choose to adjust the date for all students assigned to that course.
Split Assignments: If you have multiple assignments showing up on the same day, but you need to move just one of them to a different day, first use your mouse to pull that assignment into the sidebar space. Now use drag and drop to move the assignment back into the schedule onto the desired day. As with any other drag-and-drop update, you can either add it to an existing assignment or put it between assignments to assign a new date. All following assignment dates will be adjusted accordingly.
As you create and customize, you’ll find out just how much an investment of time now will save you, not only for the upcoming school year but for years to come as you use and reuse each course schedule!
Can I change the number the assignments start with? Instead of Lesson 1, can I set it to start on Lesson 30?
The system is currently designed to start at Lesson 1 and continue through the year. If you desire to start at Lesson 30, you would need to go ahead and create all of the lessons, then delete the first 29 lessons to pick up at Lesson 30.
How do I make sure that all of the assignments added to a course are assigned to every student for that course?
In the Course Details box for each course, you will see Synchronize Student Assignments. Make sure the box beside this option is checked. This will ensure that all assignment adjustments apply to all students added to that course.
How do I set up different assignments for each student who is assigned to the same course?
In the Course Details box for each course, you will see Synchronize Student Assignments. Make sure the box beside this option is unchecked. This will allow you to make changes to each individual student’s assignments without impacting assignments for other students.
Our curriculum doesn’t do one lesson per day, it does one per week. How do I set up assignments for a lesson or project that spans multiple days?
There are a few ways you can accomplish this, depending on your personal preferences. You can use generic language such as “Begin Week 1,” followed by “Continue Week 1” and “Complete Week 1.” You might prefer to use the assignment pre-text (Complete Week 1, part) and the numbering system (1,2,3… or a,b,c…). Or you can divide the week up into segments or page numbers and enter details about how much you want to accomplish each day. Curriculum like this may take more thought, consideration, and time to set up, but the schedule will then be permanently in your Online Planning account to be reused in future years, saving you a great deal of planning time in the long run.