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Curriculum Editor

At Pupilfirst, we believe that actions speak louder than words, and that (when possible) it's always better to give your students things to do, rather than information to simply consume.

However, your students will always need instruction before they can effectively take any action. These instructions will need to be laid out in a path whose route is clear, and with a visible end-point. The curriculum editor is designed to make this possible.

The curriculum editor organizes content into levels, which contains many groups of targets, each of which can hold the text and other rich media that you want your students to see.

Curriculum editor in the school administration interface

What are levels?

Levels are the top organizational unit within a course, and act as an indicator for the progress of a student.

  1. Levels can hold many groups of targets.
  2. All students begin in the first level - Level 1.
  3. Students can move up through levels, after they've submitted work on milestone targets. We call this leveling up, or to level up.
  4. Courses can have any number of levels, but you probably don't want to go overboard.
The phrase level up, is borrowed from the world of gaming.
Roughly, it means to progress to the next level - an activity that is common in modern role-playing games where one's character advances to the next level of development.

To create a new level, click the Create Level button next to the level selector, and to edit a level's name, click the edit icon next to the selected level. Levels have one additional property: a date to Unlock level on. If set, the content of the level is hidden from students until that date. Coaches in a course, and all school admins will still have access to the content of locked levels.

What purpose does a level's unlock date serve?
Locked levels are still visible to a student, but its content (targets) are not. This can be used to communicate to the student about the path they're expected to follow, but to deliberately hide the exact content they'll get access to. For example, this can be useful if the content for a level is still a work-in-progress, but the overall organization of the course is fixed.

Level actions

In addition to editing the name of the level and its unlock date, you can switch to the Actions tab wherein you have the possibility to merge the current level to another level. Please note that merging levels will move all the students and targets from the current level to the level you are merging into.

What's a target group?

Similar targets can be grouped together into target groups. This allow you to organize content into discrete chunks in a way that makes sense for what you're trying to teach. To create a target group, just click the Create a target group button within a level.

When creating and editing a target group, you can decide whether it's a milestone target group or not. Milestone targets control a student's progression in the course. To learn more, check out the documentation for milestone targets.

The editor for a target group also allows you to change the level it belongs to and to archive it. Archiving will have a target group along with its targets removed from the student curriculum.

Creating targets

To create a target, click the Create a target option inside a target group, enter a name, and hit the Create button. This will create a new target with that name in the target group, and will set it to the Draft status.

Editing target content

After creating a target, you can click on it in the curriculum to open the target editor, which has three tabs: Content, Details and Versions.

Clicking on a target will open the Content tab by default, which allows you to edit the content of the target - this the body of the material that you would like your student to read or watch.

Target editor, in preview mode

You'll notice that the content is made up of different types of content blocks. If you hover over the region between any of the existing blocks, you'll find an option to insert a new content block into that space. There will always be a content block picker visible at the bottom of the existing content.

Target editor content blocks

Content block types

At the moment, we support four types of content blocks.

The Markdown block allows you to write formatted text in the Markdown format. You can also embed files and images directly into the text using the file upload feature here, but you'll have no control over how they're displayed. Images will be centered, and displayed at actual size, whereas files will be inserted as links. Use the Image and File block types for greater control over these kinds of content.

Markdown Editor

To see a live preview of the content you're creating in the editor, choose the split-screen option at the top-right of the editor, and it'll switch to a full-screen mode that shows the content you're writing on the left, with its preview on the right.

If you're unfamiliar with the Markdown format, or to brush up on how to use Markdown to quickly and effectively format text, click on the Need help? link at the bottom right of the editor. It'll take you to documentation served within the platform which details everything you can do with Markdown.

The image block accepts an image file and a caption and displays it, centered with the other content. You can also customize the width of the displayed image by hovering over the image and choosing one of the available options.

The embed function allows you to embed content from third-party websites - all you need to do is supply the full link of the resource that you're trying to embed, and it'll get converted into its embedded format automatically.

Currently supported web services:

  • YouTube
  • Slideshare
  • Vimeo
  • Google (Docs, Slides, Spreadsheets, Forms)

If there's a specific website you'd like us to include, please let us know. We can include any well-known service that supports the Open Embed (oEmbed) standard, or if it supports being embedded using an iframe tag.

The file block accepts the file and a caption and displays it as a distinctly styled block in the content of the target.

The audio block accepts an audio file and uses the default browser player to play the uploaded audio in the content of the target.

Editing a target's other details

The Details tab can be accessed by clicking on the tab once the editor is open, or by clicking the details icon on each of the listed targets.

This tab contains other basic details and configuration for the target, such as its name, whether it has prerequisites, its completion method, and its visibility to the student and other course authors.

Setting the method of completion

To decide how a student can complete a target, this interface asks you a few questions:

Are there any prerequisite targets?
You can select other targets from the same level as prerequisite targets. This will lock the target until the student has completed the prerequisites.

Will a coach review submissions on this target?
If you would like a coach to review a submission from a student - pick Yes here. If you'd like the student to complete the target on their own, pick No.

Choose evaluation criteria from your list
This list will appear only if you've chosen to have the target's submission reviewed by a coach. Pick at least one evaluation criteria that the coach should use when reviewing submissions from students for this target.

How do you want the student to complete the target?
If you answered No to whether a coach will review submissions for the target, then you'll need to pick one of three ways by which a student can complete the target on their own:

  1. Simply mark the target as completed: No additional steps.
  2. Visit a link to complete the target: You'll be asked for the link.
  3. Take a quiz to complete that target: You'll need to prepare a quiz - the process for this is detailed below.

How should teams tackle this target?
If you have students grouped into teams, then you'll probably have some targets that you'd like them to tackle together. When creating a new target, this setting will default to All students must submit individually, which means that each student will need to submit on their own. If it's a reviewed milestone target, then all students in the team will need to pass for the team to be eligible to level up.

For those targets where you expect students to work together and submit as a unit, you can choose the Only one student in a team needs to submit option. Now, if any student in a team submits work on the target, the submission will be credited to all students in the team. If work on the target is reviewed by a coach, then the name of all students in the team will be listed next to the submission, and any feedback on the submission will be sent to all linked students.

Do you have any completion instructions for the student?
Text entered here will be displayed right next to where the students take action on a target. For targets that are simply marked as complete or completed by visiting a link, this will be at the end of the main content, next to the button that completes the target. For quizzes and reviewed submissions, this will be at the top of the page that displays the quiz, or the submission form.

Defining steps to complete a target

For targets that require students to submit work for review, you can define the steps that a student needs to take to submit their work.

Each step needs to have a title and an action type. Together, they define how a student completes the step. The title is generally used to give a short description of what's expected from the student to complete the step. These are different possible action types:

  1. Write Long Text: Allows the student to write paragraphs of text.
  2. Write Short Text: Allows the student to write a single line of text.
  3. Attach a Link: Allows the student to attach a single URL.
  4. Upload Files: Allows the student to attach files to complete the step. Up to 3 files can be attached such a step (max 5 MB, each).
  5. Choose from a list: Student is shown a list of choices, from which they can pick one; you decide what the choices are.
  6. Record Audio: Allows student to record an audio with a size limit of 5MB

Here's an example target consisting, of four steps to complete the target:

Adding a target checklist

Apart from title and action type, you can make any step optional. Optional steps can be skipped by students when submitting a target. In the example above, step 2 of type Attach a Link is optional.

You can also change the order of steps, remove a particular step, or even duplicate an existing step using the control icons that are available to the right of each step.

Here are some other points to keep in mind:

  1. The maximum number of steps allowed in a target is 15.
  2. You are allowed to create an evaluated target without any steps. However, this would mean that a student can submit work on a target without actually providing any information. This would still require the coach to review an empty submission. This option can be used for cases where the work in question is done outside of the platform and is known to the coach.

Once all steps are defined, students can submit the target by executing the required steps and a coach gets to see the response from students for each step.

Here's an example of how a target's steps are shown in the student submission interface and in the coach review interface:

Target checklist lifecycle

Preparing a quiz

If you opted to let the student answer a quiz to complete the target, then you'll need to prepare one:

Preparing a quiz

  1. The quiz supports Markdown in both questions and answers.
  2. Every question must have at least two options.
  3. You can have any number of questions.

Target visibility

You'll find the visibility setting at the very end of step 2. This setting has three options:

  1. Live: Target will be visible to students.
  2. Draft: Target will be visible only within the curriculum editor.
  3. Archived: Target will be hidden. You can still access it through the Show Archived button at the top-right of the curriculum editor interface. It'll appear only if you have archived targets in the selected level.

Target content versions

The third tab of the target editor is called Versions. Just like the Details tab, Versions can be accessed by clicking on the tab once the editor is open, or by clicking the versions icon on each of the listed targets.

This tab shows you a preview of a target's content as it appears now to the student. But more importantly, it allows you to save the current state of the content as a version, browse previous versions to see how the target's content looked earlier, and restore an old version.

Browsing previous versions of a target's contents

When a target is first created, you're assumed to be working on its first version. Once you've worked on the target's content for a while, and are happy with it's state, the Versions tab will allow you to save that version. Saving a version will create a new version which will hold future changes.

What exactly is a version?

A version can be thought of as a snapshot of a target's content as it looked at the time it was taken. However, you're always working on the current version of the target, so that can always be changed an author. You'll need to take a snapshot manually on the versions tab for a new version to be created. As the author of a target, you're the best person to decide when it's appropriate to preserve a version.

This feature allows you to preserve a known good state for a target's content, and since you can browse previous versions of a target, it can help track changes to the content, or even act as a safeguard, by allowing you to restore a previous version if something goes awry during the editing process.