What’s new in Edsby – September 2019
Welcome to Edsby 2019!
Every September, Edsby introduces new features. This year’s release contains many new additions and changes.
New documents and videos have been created to describe new features in more detail. These are all available in the support section of our website; click your role to see the resources available to you.
Not all new features will necessarily be available to all users immediately, as it’s up to individual schools or districts/regions when or if they choose to introduce specific new Edsby capabilities. This list is here to help teachers and administrators with planning and to give end users insight into new things you may see in Edsby soon, if not already.
This release also includes many quality and performance improvements too numerous to list individually. And a number of “under the hood” enhancements have recently been completed to make Edsby stronger, faster and more secure than ever.
New expectations/standards/outcomes/competencies picker
Edsby provides teachers with convenient access to curriculum-based expectations/standards/outcomes/competencies (ESOCs). Previously there was one interface available in assessments, lessons and units, and a different user interface in Evidence. Each had particular strengths. Edsby now has a single picker that combines the best of both previous mechanisms:
- Designed to work well on mobile and regular browsers
- Enables the teacher to select items at any level of the hierarchy
- Provides a convenient way to show/hide any part of the hierarchy
- Enables the teacher to easily find and access ESOCs from other subjects and grade levels
- Provides a handy text search
Scoring ESOCs at any level
Many teachers love the using the ESOC tab in the Edsby Perspective to see how a student is progressing against the curriculum and to even score students and/or make observations. In the past, teachers could only score items in the lowest level of the curriculum hierarchy. Edsby now enables teachers to score anywhere in the hierarchy. This enables teachers to apply their professional judgment as they track how students are performing overall on general learning goals.
Flexible gradebook summary columns
The Edsby gradebook has been enhanced so that a wide range of new summary columns can be turned on in a teacher’s gradebook. These settings can even be defined in course models so that, for example, all Grade 5 math classes in a district can be configured to show strand averages.
An example of what this looks like:
A new credit recovery subsystem provides a complete set of workflows and tools to manage the credit recovery process at high schools. Key aspects include:
- A way for teachers to provide input on credit recovery opportunities including failure report, recommended placement, comment/rationale and ESOCs not met
- A facility for school administrators to review credit recovery recommendations and assign them to local teachers for recovery or to district staff for re-assignment if recovery can’t be completed locally
- A capability for district staff to assign credit recovery teachers to specific credit recovery opportunities that couldn’t be addressed at a local school
- A special Edsby class for the credit recovery teacher to have access to the student’s achievement record in the failed class, including ESOCs not met. This Edsby class can be used to share credit recovery communications with the student, update the ESOCs met and grades attained, and ultimately produce the justification for awarding the credit if attained
Learning evidence enhancements
Sort by Date defaults to newest first
The Organize view within Evidence previously showed oldest Evidence items first when the “Organize by Date” option was selected. This has been changed to now show newest Evidence items first.
Improved share and date indicators in Organize view
Teachers like having an easy way to see which Evidence items have been shared in the Organize view. The approach initially used to indicate shared items was subtle and some teachers found it didn’t stand out enough. The indicator has been changed. Also, an indicator of how long ago the Evidence item was created is provided. As with all relative dates/times in Edsby, hover on the indicator for the actual date and time stamp.
Copy from Class feed to Evidence
Edsby now provides a convenient way for a teacher to capture a contribution made by a student in the class feed as an Evidence item. The teacher simply hovers on the student contribution in question and selects a new “Add to Evidence” link. An Evidence item is created for the student, and the text of the contribution is captured in the “Conversational Evidence…” field.
Full screen view of Learning Story media
Media contained in evidence items shared with students and parents via an Edsby Learning Story can now by viewed in full screen mode by clicking on the photo in the Learning Story view. A new tab is opened up to display the media. This works for teachers as well in their view of the Learning Story.
Add Learning Story item to Portfolio
The Learning Story has been enhanced to enable students to be able to add a Learning Story item to their Portfolio.
Scoring Analysis notes
Edsby now provides teachers with an option to score an Analysis note in the same way they can score an individual Evidence item. As with Evidence items, scoring is optional; teachers who don’t score as part of their practice can ignore the scoring option.
Analysis Notes can now include other analyses
Analysis notes within the Evidence subsystem have been enhanced to now support the inclusion of other analysis notes. They could previously only contain individual evidence items.
Edsby classes provide dynamic collaborative spaces for students and teachers along with a powerful suite of tools that enable teachers to manage a wide range of classroom activities. New class features in Edsby 2019 include:
New class role options for staff assigned to a class
Previously, all staff added manually or automatically to an Edsby class had the same capabilities within the Edsby class. Edsby now provides four choices for the role a staff member has within a class:
- Teacher: Same capabilities as before
- Support: Same as teacher except no access to report cards in the class
- Substitute: Can take attendance and post in the feed, but can’t access academic information such as the gradebook, evidence, perspective, etc.
Add staff to class
The Classes Zoom has been enhanced to provide administrators with a convenient way to add a staff member to multiple classes at once. Filter the Classes list to the desired subset (all Phys Ed classes, or all classes taught by Mr. Jones for example) and then choose “Add staff” from the menu dropdown to select staff to add along with the role they should have within the class.
The Lesson object in Edsby has been enhanced to make it more focused on the core task of lesson planning. In the past, Lessons were often used to share lesson content with students, but the new Edsby Content Builder provides a much richer way to create and share lesson content.
The Lesson form has been streamlined by putting the “Notes for Students” area behind a “+” button so the initial form no longer displays two large content entry areas. Also, the default set of editor buttons have been streamlined to fit on one row. Additional editing features are available in full screen editor mode.
A great new feature has been added to make it easy for teachers to copy the text of associated expectations/standards/outcomes/competencies (ESOCs) with a click.
Adjusted class options for parent access
Edsby used to provide four different settings for controlling parent access to material within the class. Many customers felt some of these options were too open and asked us to customize these options out. These options, shown below with a red line through them, have now been removed for all customers to prevent teachers from accidentally creating what might be perceived as a privacy issue.
New attendance features added include:
Attendance planned absence confirmation
When parents submit a planned absence in Edsby for their child, they now receive a confirmation message back indicating the request has been received. The notification also now provides a way for the parent to be able to cancel the planned absence, which couldn’t be done previously.
Attendance approver name removed
Previously, Edsby would provide the name of the approver in workflows such as the approval of a parent-submitted planned absence. Now just the school name is given rather than the name of the approver.
Simplified parent notification setup
In 2017 and 2018, Edsby introduced powerful notification options for parents to receive updates on a variety of things related to their child’s (or children’s) progress at school. However it required the parent to know to go into the notifications setup panel to enable the specific notifications. Edsby now provides a simplified notifications option for parents when they activate their account for the first time in a new school year.
More flexible staff archiving
If a staff member was removed from the Student Information System (SIS) while on long term leave during a school year, Edsby would mark the staff member as dropped. If the staff member returned prior to the start of the new school year and was added back in to the SIS they would automatically be connected to their previous account. However, if their leave spanned the summer vacation period they would receive a brand new Edsby account and wouldn’t have access to material saved in Edsby previously. Edsby archiving has now been changed to not archive dropped accounts unless they have been dropped for more than one year.
Guidance role access reductions
In the past, the Guidance role in Edsby had almost identical capabilities as other school administrative roles such as “Senior Admin”, “Office Head” and “Administrator.” A number of schools have pointed out that Guidance Teachers are essentially teachers with a bit more responsibility. So Edsby has changed the Guidance role to have the base capabilities of the Teacher role and then added in additional capabilities including:
- Access to the Students, Staff, Parents, Contacts and Classes Zooms
- Access to the full Panorama for all students at the school
- Access to the new Edsby Credit Recovery application
- Limited access to each class (same as “Substitute Teacher”)
- Ability to create Monitor groups and add students to them
New deployment approach
The way Edsby builds and performs cloud deployments has changed significantly. Edsby is now deployed through a containerized approach to provide more flexible deployment, scaling and security options. This has been coupled with additional infrastructure for securing and monitoring virtual machine and container resources used in the Edsby platform.