Bright ideas for tech-savvy educators, right to your inbox

Plato Courseware Back-to-School Checklist

Wednesday, August 3, 2016 -- Brianna Pyka

The most exciting time of the year is just around the corner: back to school! We know this is a busy time for educators, so we hope to alleviate some of that transition-time chaos with a simple and helpful back-to-school checklist for users of Edmentum’s Plato Courseware.

1. Brush up on your Blended Learning Techniques

Watch our recent presentation Blended Learning: Making it Work in Your Classroom, as we explore the planning process involved in executing small- and large-scale blended learning implementations. Whether you're looking to try the station rotation model in a single classroom or offer virtual programing throughout your entire school, this webinar will provide you with a framework for each stage of the planning process.

2. Update existing users in the Plato Courseware platform

We know that the new school year often comes with changes in staffing or roles on campus. It is possible to use the "Data Extract" report to get a complete list of users and their Student Information System IDs. Simply run the report and use Excel to view the output and remove any columns you do not require for your current enrollment.

And remember, you can enroll new users in the system at any time. Existing users are not affected or modified when enrolling new users into the system, and existing profiles can be updated as one of the options in the Enroll Users process. Check out our support center for a detailed description of the steps to this process, including screenshots.

3. Review the Plato curriculum library to find new or updated course offerings

Not only does Edmentum offer core content and world language courses, we’re also the industry-leading provider of online Career, Technical, and Elective Education courses with over 100 semesters covering all 16 nationally recognized Career Clusters®. Additionally, we’re offering new Middle School courses this year, which are the continuation of an initiative to completely revamp our middle school Social Studies and Science content. These new courses provide an even greater level of engagement and interactivity than the courses they replace. Spring courses have already been released, and summer courses will be automatically available upon their release for customers that use the applicable libraries.

4. Batch enroll new learners and educators into Plato Courseware platform

Our platform allows you to easily enroll new users in bulk to save you time and ensure accuracy. As a refresher, we’ve laid out the steps to do so below:

  • From the Administration Center, hover over the users tab and click batch processing – Enroll
  • Click the File Format Specifications Tab
  • Click Download a Sample File
  • Populate the required fields in the CSV file and Save. Required fields include Program Name, Class Name, and SIS ID
  • Click the Upload tab from the Batch Processing – Enroll page
  • Click Browse, locate your file, and click Import the Selected File 

5. Clean up old or outdated classes in your Plato Courseware account

The new school year is a great time to go through the classes you’ve already created within your account and make any necessary updates. Our platform makes it easy to both deactivate and re-label previously created classes by following the steps listed below:

Re-Label a Class

  • Go to the Courses tab
  • Select Course Catalog from the drop-down menu
  • Select the Course that you would like to re-name from the Course Catalog by selecting the drop-down arrow
  • Select the pencil icon next to the name of that course to edit the class name/instructors associated and start/end date of that course

Deactivate a Class

  • Click the Courses tab and go to Course Catalog at the top of the Plato Courseware home page.
  • Locate the course name and select it
  • Click the radio button next to the Class Name
  • Select Actions> Deactivate Class(es)

Note: Follow the same steps to reactivate a class.

6. Review existing Grade Tracker settings and templates

Grade Tracker provides a quick, easy, and clean way to monitor students’ progress by simplifying the tasks involved in grade management. For the new school year, remember to check on your Grade Tracker settings, such as grade weight and customized reporting, to ensure that you can quickly and accurately get a read on your students’ progress and up-to-date grade at any point in time during the course. See below for a review of settings options:

  • Enter Grade Tracker and click on one of your classes to view the Grade Tracker for that class
  • Click on Grade Tracker Options at the top right corner of the Grade Tracker page
  • Choose from one of the three options available: Manage Scales & Weights, Manage Activities, or Manage Credits

Check out this document for step-by-step instructions on how to access and manage your settings in Grade Tracker.

7. Clean-up and create new Flex Assignments classes

Be sure to that you have archived any Flex Assignments classes once they have been completed or there are no longer learners working in them. Reports for classes and assignments can still be run for assignments in archived classes and programs. Follow these steps to archive or create one of these classes.

Archive a Flex Assignment Class

  • From the Administration Center, hover over Settings
  •  Click Archive.
  • Click the Classes tab
  • Locate the class(es) that need to be removed, and click the Archive button to the far, right of the program name. To archive multiple classes at once, check off each class, then click Group Actions, and Archive Selected Classes
  • Click Yes to confirm. ***Note: As long as the program that archived classes are in is still active, archived classes can be reactivated

Create a New Flex Assignment

  • Click New Assignment on your Flex Class card.
    Enter the assignment name in the Assignment Name Field. Select a Start Date (entering a Due Date is optional)
  • When creating a flex assignment, there is an option where you can select the tutorial attempts to unlock mastery test
  • Select the students from your Flex Class grouping you want to give this assignment to, or select Add All Students
  • Select the Content you want in the Flex Assignment. You can search by Subject and Grade, or by Standard
  • Once you've found the content you want to add click and drag it into the folder (matches your assignment title) on the workspace on the right 
  • After you've finished adding all the content you want in the assignment, select the blue Create Assignment button
  • For quick access to monitor progress on the assignment select the Flex Class Card; this will show you any assignments given to this group, and then click on the name of the assignment to see specific student progress  

8. Set-up and enable Family Sensei

Sensei for Families helps parents and other care-takers stay connected to a student’s education. Invite your learners’ families to get involved and allow the opportunity to view current assignments, due dates, progress through assignments, grades, and the amount of time the learner is spending on assignments in Edmentum’s Plato Courseware. We encourage you to enable Family Sensei and invite contacts—here’s how:

  • Click on PLE in the App-Switcher Bar
  • Click on Administration
  • Click on Account Settings
  • Click on Family Sensei
  • Choose Enable and click Save.

After you do this, go back to the Administration page and you'll see a button at the top called Invite All to Family Sensei. Click that and then choose “Yes.” Added contacts will not automatically get an invitation to Family Sensei; your account or program administrator would need to select “Invite All to Family Sensei” on the Administration Mini-App.

9. Create new or updated Plato Sensei groups

Organize learners within Edmentum Sensei to segment learners into groups. Once a group is created, educators can filter by group on the students tab and will also be able to create and assign a supplemental assignment to a group as well as send a message to an entire group.

  • Click Edmentum Sensei
  • Click Students
  • Click Manage Groups to view and manage all Groups
  • Use the My Groups search filter to view Groups
  • Click Create New Group to create a new group
  • Click Add to Group next to the student cards you want to add to the Group
  • Click Send Message to Group to message all students in a Group
  • Click Create Group Supplemental Assignment to create a Supplemental Assignment for the students in the Group
  • Delete Group will delete the Group
  • Click Close Group to exit Group Manager

Note: Go to Manage Groups to create new Groups, add student(s) to Groups, send messages to Groups, and Create Group Supplemental Assignments.

10. Take advantage of Edmentum Resources!

Refresh your Plato Courseware skills with one of our free virtual workshops or sign up for a live webinar August 23 to learn more about Edmentum’s Plato Courseware’s newest features, updates, and improvements.

Looking for additional assistance to you get up and running with Edmentum’s Plato Courseware for a new year? Our support team is here to help! You can reach them by email or phone at support@edmentum.com or by calling 800.447.5286 Option 9 or 800.869.2200.