If you are an administrator reading this, and you have enabled the One-Click Course Provisioning for your LMS/VLE, please pass this article on to your Instructors, to help them find the information and procedures they need to work effectively with Echo360.
You are an Instructor, and your institution has what's called "one click course provisioning" set up. All this means is that the link from your LMS/VLE course into Echo360 automatically creates the Echo360 section, and enrolls you as the instructor.
But now what? I have an empty section. What do I do now?
This article is here to help guide you through the initial link-through to Echo360, then to setting up your section and adding your class materials to it. This gives some basics and some links to more info. Please, scour our help/support site to find the answers you're looking for. There's a lot of information out there, and we try to help our users do what they need to do.
Creating the Link and Echo360 Section
To get to the point where you have a linked Echo360 section to work with, you must have created an External Tool link in your LMS section. That tool link points to your institution's Echo360 system, and when you click it from your LMS Course it automatically creates a corresponding course and section in Echo360.
When you add the link you are STRONGLY encouraged to do so in a way that allows for grading. This creates a column in your LMS gradebook to receive student engagement information from Echo360. Our instructions for creating the link in your LMS does include how to enable grading for your LTI links into Echo360.
Adding Classes To Your Section
When you click through into Echo360 and the new section is created, it is empty. A lot of nothing. It probably looks a lot like this:
Unless your classes are going to be automatically recorded (an administrator sets that up), it is up to you to fill the section with classes and teaching materials for your students to view.
You can start by creating classes based on your upcoming semester syllabus. This can mean creating a class for every class meeting in the semester (e.g., every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00 to 3:30), or it may mean creating classes only where you have external media you want to publish for your students. NOTE that each class can contain ONE presentation file and ONE video. If you have multiples of these that apply to a particular class/lecture session, you will have to create multiple classes to hold them. In this case you can group those related classes into a Collection.
To create a class:
- Click New Class.
- In the form that appears, fill in the details of the class.
It must contain either a Name or a Date/Time and can have both, but it must have one or the other.
- Click OK.
The newly created class appears in the section, as shown below. Repeat these steps for all of the classes you want to create. You can create classes at ANY time. Some may want to create classes ahead of time, some will want to wait until closer to the class occurring. The choice is yours.
It may also be that your institution's workflow includes having capture appliances (recording devices) in the classrooms, and you, the instructor, use the ad hoc recording functionality to record your classes. In this case, you might click Start Capture (or Universal Capture) at the top of the screen, and select the room you are in to record the class. This process will also create classes in the section, though they will all have the name Ad Hoc Capture. You can edit the class later to change the class name.
You may also have the option to install Universal Capture: Personal on your laptop and use it to record your classes, or impromptu seminars or discussions, or simply to record additional teaching moments to share with the class. More about UC: Personal later on this page.
Finally, take a look at the article More to Courses than Just Classes. It provides an overview of the OTHER functionality available in all Echo360 sections, including Notes/Study Guide for students, Q&A for all section users, and Student Analytic information for Instructors. Instructors also have access to a Settings tab where they can turn section features on and off as needed.
Adding Media to Echo360
At this point there are really two ways to add media into your Echo360 system, and get it into your classes:
Piecemeal approach - upload files to each individual class as you have them available.
The Piecemeal approach is useful if you create class materials as the term progresses. KEEP IN MIND, however, that every media uploaded to Echo360 must be processed before it is available for viewing. This processing can happen very quickly, or may take some time, depending on the size of the file or the number of concurrent processing jobs being done through your institution at the time. All this means is that you should NOT expect to upload a piece of media to a class right before class starts and have it be viewable immediately. IN addition, as long as you have left yourself enough time to do so, you can add polling activities or media slides to your presentations prior to class.
HOW do you get to your content library? How do you put stuff there? Glad you asked!!
First - click the Echo360 logo in the top left corner
Second - click My Content from the left side of your Echo360 Home page. Use the Upload button to upload media into your library.
The Bulk approach is most efficient if you already have many of the presentations or videos that you plan to use for the upcoming term. Having those items already resident in your content library makes them available to publish at any time. In addition, you can add Echo360-specific features like Polling slides or media slides into your presentations once they reside in Echo360. See also Working with Slides/Presentations for more articles.
The content library upload allows you to select up to 30 items at a time, in any combination of video, presentation, or audio-only files. You can also select files from different locations such as your local computer or a shared cloud drive location.
Once you have content in your content library, check out Working with Home Page Content for lots of articles on working with your media.
Adding Media to your Classes
If you use the Piecemeal approach cited above for adding media into Echo360, the "adding to Echo360" and "adding to a class" parts are done together. The media still gets added to your content library, but it is also added to the class at the same time.
Adding media to a class is sometimes called "publishing" or "sharing to a course". It all means the same thing; classes exist to hold media, and classes exist in courses, and students view course media through classes. So for students to view it, it needs to be put into a class, or "published"/"shared".
If you use the bulk approach, adding media to a class is simply a matter of selecting the blue plus sign on the class you want to add it to, then selecting the media you want to add from the list of library content you get. Since the media is already there in your content library, it's there for the publishing at any time. You can also publish media directly from your library by selecting to Share it to a class. Whichever way you want to do it, it ends up in the same place.
Once you have classes and there is media in your classes, you may notice all kinds of things you can do from and with the class list. Also, click the content icon to see a full menu of what you can do with the media directly in the class list. Many of these features are also available from the content library page.
Making media unavailable to students
Let's say you're one of those people who does all of your course set up well in advance of the term. Or even well in advance of one or more classes. You have created your classes; you have uploaded all of your presentations; you even added polling slides, knowing which presentations needed to have them for your upcoming classes. You WANT to put the media into the classes you've created but you don't want students to view it yet.
Never Fear! Echo360 has an answer for that!
All published media has "media availability" options that let you:
- manually make the media unavailable, then manually make it available whenever is appropriate
- set an "availability schedule" which makes the media available on a set date (at midnight). You can also include making the media unavailable on a set date, so that student access is restricted to some date range.
Availability options simply make it so students cannot see the media, even though it has been published to the class. As far as the student knows, that item is not there. Instructors can still see and work with the media in the class, but it is shown with a gray icon that indicates it is not available to students. This also lets you make edits to the media, add or remove slides, or add polling activities, then view the media in the classroom without students being able to view it yet.
Creating Links from the LMS Course to Specific Classes
After the initial link into the Echo360 section is established, you can add NEW links, using the same basic instructions, and link those directly to your classes. Obviously you cannot do this until you have classes to link to. AND it might not make sense to link to particular classes until there is media in them. But NOW...now that you have that, you can direct students right into the classrooms, to view the media you want them to view.
Some LMS, like Blackboard, have the option for creating links and requiring students to view them in a certain order. Some do not. Some LMS, like Moodle, have their courses already segmented in a way (such as by week) that lends itself to having a specific classroom link (or two) in each topic or course segment.
However you choose to do it, we once again recommend you configure the link to allow for grading, so that you can export student engagement for each specific class directly into your LMS gradebook. This allows you to be as granular as you like with the class or media grading. You can export student scores on polling slides; you can export engagement (whether the student viewed the material or interacted with it by taking notes or posting questions); you can simply export whether or not they showed up during class time (attendance). Or none of these.
To create a link from the LMS to a specific class:
- In your LMS, create an External Tool link, probably in the same way as you created the original link into Echo360.
- Click the link.
The below figure shows a Canvas course Module with Item links to Echo360. More details on how these were created is below the procedure.
- In the Echo360 options screen that appears, select which class you want this link to open for students.
- Click Continue.
The page changes to show the class you just linked to, with any media currently published to the class available for viewing.
RETURN to the LMS course and REPEAT these steps to link to additional classes.
Ultimately, you can have your LMS course set up so that YOU direct your students to the class media based on how you have your course configured. This allows you to maintain and control your class media in Echo360, but still work within the familiar framework of your LMS and its course structure (and capabilities). It also allows you to take advantage of the Echo360 student analytic gathering, to help assess how students are doing in your course and whether or not they are engaging with the materials.
To make that point, the figure shown in the above procedure shows a Canvas course, with a Research and Analysis Module, and two Item links within it. Those Items are actually Assignment links, where External Tool is the type, and the External Tool link to Echo360 was selected. You SHOULD be able to click the Find button, and select the Echo360 External LTI tool from a list.
Once the Assignment link is created (you don't have to publish it), it is available for any Module Item you create.
Notice that you don't HAVE to create an Assignment link first to make a Module item to Echo360. External Tool is already an option in the Item type drop-down, so you could create links to your Echo360 section/classes from there. In our case, however, the Module items used these Assignment links so that the new links appear in Modules for students, but because they are Assignments, also create Gradebook entries to hold Echo360 student engagement data if exported.
Editing Your Media
As indicated above, whether you add media in bulk directly to your content library, or upload it individually to each class, every file you upload ends up in your content library. Once it's there, you may want to edit the media, particularly presentations, to change out slides, replacing older ones with newer ones, and adding polling activity slides.
Helpful Tip: Many of the instructions point you to the content library to access the editing options for your media. However, if you click the media icon in the class list, you will see an Edit Video or Edit Presentation option in that menu, that take you to the editing screen and options therein.
The following links lead to other articles with more detailed information and procedures for editing your media.
NOTE (and this is cited throughout the editing documentation) that when you edit something that is published to a class, the media already in the class will reflect your edits, even if you're not editing from the class list. If the media is published to MULTIPLE classes, maybe in different sections, the media in those classes changes to reflect your edits; because it is the same piece of media.
Using Universal Capture
If your institution does NOT have any sort of lecture capture (class recording) set up, and you want to record your classes at times (or all the time!), or you want to make side recordings to include with your classes, consider installing and using the Echo360 product called Universal Capture: Personal. It is a program that you download from Echo360 and install on your personal laptop. You can then use your laptop (with or without an external camera plugged into it) to record classes and lectures along with whatever program you might be using on the computer at the time (all of the Echo360 capture methods can capture the computer display as part of the recording).
If you DO NOT see a Universal Capture: Personal option on the Downloads page, ask your Administrator if you can have access to it, to generate your own recordings.
Viewing Student Analytics and Exporting to the LMS
We've talked a lot on this page about setting up your links into Echo360 in a way that allows for exporting student usage information to the LMS. Well, you have your LMS course set up, and linked into your Echo360 section, and maybe some time has passed. Your students should have viewed some of your class media and maybe answered some polling slides you put in. You want to get SOME idea of which students are actually interacting with your materials and how.
The first thing you'll want to do is take a look at the Analytics Tab for your section, and then review some of the documentation to get an idea of what data is out there. There is a lot. And if you export it CSV file, there's even more than you'll see in the interface. Echo360 keeps track of all kinds of information, from what media each student viewed, to how much of a presentation or video they viewed. We keep track of how many polling activities they answered along with how many they got correct (you can see who gave what answer on the Polling Tab for the section). We keep track of whether or not a student is taking notes in a class and how many, along with whether or not students are posting questions or responses in classes.
Some (but not all) of that data is available for exporting to your LMS Gradebook. Specifically you can export Engagement (a kind of averaging of student interactions, put into a percentage format), Activity Participation, Activity Score, and Attendance. You can even customize the Engagement calculation, to make sure it's reflective of what YOU think is important.
The more granular you can make this data, the more accurate a picture you can have of how any given student is interacting with your materials, and then how that might be reflected in their grade. If you have individual links into specific classes in your section, and some/all of those allow for exporting student data, you will get a very good idea of each student's engagement with your published course materials.
The figure below shows the Export & Gradebook page for the Analytics tab in the LMS linked section. Notice that I can export any one of four different metrics for EACH of the incoming links to this section, both to the individual classes and to the main Section page. Exporting for the main Section link rolls up the data for each class and averages it out across the section.