I hope everyone has had a safe transition back to school. I’m sure you’re all under an enormous amount of stress with everything that’s going on. So with that in mind, here are a few site changes that will hopefully make things easier.
You know those late night sessions when you’re adding students and misspell a first name…or forget a last name…or mistype the email address or…wait who even is this kid? When did he join choir? Oh, he was in band last year, I think he plays the trombone. Wait, what was I doing? What time is it?
Not to worry, you can now edit a students first name, last name and email address.
Just click once on their first or last name and a pop up will magically appear. Make your changes and click “Update User”. Voila!
Removing Quiz Limits
I’ve removed the limits on quiz retakes. A student can now take a quiz over as many times as you’d like them to.
If you’re thinking, “Hooray!” and would like to move along with your day, carry on, my work here is done.
If you want to know how I arrived at this decision…
When I was in development, the default setting was no limits on retakes. But I was a little worried that a student would sit there and just keep taking the quiz over and over and over again, so I set a limit of two on each of the regular course quizzes. I felt pretty good about this.
But I’ve heard from teachers and the limits are causing problems. Some teachers—understandably—want a student to take a course over again, but since they’ve hit the limit, they’re stuck.
That’s a valid concern. This website started out as a set of workbooks I wrote for daily rehearsals. Kids often went through the same workbooks again and again, and they always told me the repetition helped reinforce concepts.
So am I still worried about kids taking quizzes over and over and over? Not really. Here’s why:
- Every attempt is recorded in the Quiz Report. If they take a quiz five times, you’ll know and be able to see how they did on each attempt.
- Every time a quiz is retaken, the questions are randomly sorted — AND the answers are randomly sorted. That will help.
Finally, I’m reminded the second chapter of “Make It Stick” by Peter C. Brown, which is titled: To Learn, Retrieve. Brown states:
The power of retrieval as a learning tool is known among psychologists as the testing effect. In its most common form, testing is used to measure learning and assign grades in school, but we’ve long known that the act of retrieving knowledge from memory has the effect of making that knowledge easier to call up again in the future.Make It Stick (p. 28). Harvard University Press. Kindle Edition.
So in a very real sense, the act of reviewing and retesting is helpful.
But really the biggest reason is that the flexibility will make things easier for teachers. And let’s be honest—it’s quite possible that at this particular moment in history, the need for things to be easy for teachers has never been higher. So there’s my small contribution.
This also cleared the path for …
Clearing Student Progress
You may not have been aware of this, but you can clear student progress on a student by student basis in the progress report.
Search for the student, then select the course you want to clear. If it’s marked with a green checkmark, it’s completed. Click it, the site will ask you to confirm, click confirm and the progress is cleared and the student can start over.
You can do this at the course level, lesson level or exercise level. Just click the dropdown arrows to open the course details. There’s a lot of control here. The one thing it will not clear is quiz history – that stays. But since there’s no longer a limit on quiz retakes, this is not a problem.
New Choral Deep Dives in Production
I’m hearing from folks that the Deep Dives are helpful, so I’ve got five more in production. I thought I’d give you a heads up:
- Dixit Maria, Hans Leo Hassler
- Kyrie from the Mass in G, Franz Schubert
- If Ye Love Me, Thomas Tallis
- Come Again, Sweet Love, John Dowland
- In Stiller Nacht, Johannes Brahms
When? I’m shooting for second semester, but no promises. After that, I’m planning to do five songs in two part voicing for Soprano and Alto. It sounds like there are quite a few Treble Choirs among us. 🙂 That will probably be spring. I’d love to move faster, but this is tedious work and life is pretty full at the moment. I haven’t selected the SA songs, though Abendlied by Mendelssohn is pretty high on my list. Isn’t that lovely?
Finally, if you’re reorganizing your groups from last spring, here’s a quick video on removing and moving students.
That’s all from here, I hope these little updates are helpful! Hang in there—you’re doing important work.