If you are an administrator reading this, and you have enabled LMS Simplified Course Provisioning, please pass this article on to your Instructors, to help them find the information and procedures they need to work effectively with Echo360.
If you are an Instructor, and your institution has "simplified course provisioning" set up, this article can help get you started. All "simplified provisioning" means is that the link from your LMS/VLE course into Echo360 automatically creates the Echo360 section, and enrolls you as the instructor.
Ok, 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 media and class materials to it. Below are some basics along with links to more information. One place to start will be to browse the Create Content and Manage Sections areas of this Online Help portal. 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.
Adding the link is done differently in different LMSs, so refer to the documentation article that corresponds with your LMS for how to do this. (Blackboard, Brightspace/D2L, Canvas, Moodle, Sakai)
When you add the link in your LMS, 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 something 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.
Classes, in Echo360, are really just "buckets" to hold media for students to view and interact with. This can be a video, or a presentation, or one of each. One thing that is important to understand is that all media you add to classes also resides in your Library.
How do you get to your library to see what's there? It's easy. Click Library from the top menu in Echo360 as shown below.
How do you get media INTO your library? There are different ways, but all of them are covered on this page with links to more detailed instructions. If you already have stuff you can upload for use, start with Uploading Media to your Echo360 Library immediately below.
Once you have media in Echo360, check out Your Content Library for lots of articles on working with your media.
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.
Uploading Media to your Echo360 Library
If you already have the files and media you will be using (videos and presentations), the first step for you is to upload that media to your Echo360 library.
Once you have media in your library, adding it to classes is quick and easy. If you upload presentations to your library, you can add polling questions for students to answer, or media slides that themselves contain videos. Echo360 also allows you to embed polling questions into videos to create interactive media. Interactive media cannot (yet) be added to classes, but can be embedded into content windows (discussions, content pages, or assignments) in your LMS/VLE.
The Upload Media option in the Create button menu allows you to select up to 30 items at a time, in any combination of video, presentation, or audio-only files. You can also upload files from different locations such as your local computer or a shared cloud drive.
This Upload-then-publish approach is the most efficient if you already have many of the presentations or videos that you plan to use for the upcoming term. And as stated above, allows you to work with your media and enhance it before publishing it for student viewing.
Creating Media and Classes Together
The Create button at the top of the page will have anywhere from two to four options. The Upload option is identified and discussed above. The other three selections give you the option to create the new recording AND create a class to HOLD the media at the same time, OR to create the recording and place it into your Library first. As stated above, this allows you to work with the media and enhance it prior to publishing it to a class.
The options you have in the Create button depend on certain administrative settings for your institution. These options, besides Upload, can include:
New Capture/New Software Capture - This option (the name you see depends on certain administrator settings) allows you to use a Universal Capture: Personal installation to create a recording, using your own computer. When the recording is finished it is automatically uploaded to Echo360. You can upload it to your Library, or have the program create a new class in your section to hold the recording. The recording inputs can include your webcam or attached camera, and/or your computer display. This option DOES require that you download and install Universal Capture: Personal. However the Create menu option provides links for doing so.
For more information, Installing Universal Capture: Personal for Instructors as well as Creating an Ad Hoc Capture using Universal Capture.
New Device Capture - You may or may not see this option, depending on certain administrator settings for your institution. If you DO, this allows you to generate a recording, from a classroom, using the capture appliance and camera or computer display located in that room. Select New Device Capture, then select the classroom you are using, along with the other configuration options there. Like the Software Capture option, it allows you to automatically put the recording into a class in your section (the class will be titled Ad Hoc Capture, but you can change it later) OR you can have the recording put only into your Library, for publishing to a class when you are ready.
This is described in more detail in Creating a New Device Ad Hoc Capture.
Zoom Meeting - If your institution uses Zoom for recording classes or seminars and has integrated Zoom with Echo360, you will have a Zoom Meeting option. This creates an "instant meeting" in Zoom, and provides a meeting URL that you can send to your students. It can ALSO create a class in the section that will hold the Zoom recording when it is finished. The Zoom class also has a "More Info" link that directs students into the new instant meeting. Or you can select to put the recording into your Library for publishing to a class later.
This is described in more detail in Launching a Zoom Meeting from Echo360.
As a side note, if you use Zoom but it is not integrated with your institution, you can still download the meeting recording and upload it to Echo360 for publishing to a class.
Remember, all media that you create or upload resides in your Library.
Manually Create Empty Classes
Since your section is empty, you can set up your classes any way you like. You can create classes based on your upcoming semester syllabus. Or you can create them only when you have media you want to publish for your students.
Once your classes exist, you can add media to them, either from your library or by uploading directly to the class.
REMEMBER: Each class can contain ONE presentation file and ONE video. If you have multiples of these that are all related or apply to a particular class/lecture session, you will need 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 there is media to share to the class. The choice is yours.
Add Media to a Class
The instructions below use a newly created, empty class for adding media to. However the same steps apply if you are adding a presentation to a class that already has a video, or a video to a class that already has a presentation. The only difference is that you don't have to select which you are adding, since there can be only one of each.
To add media to a class
- Click the blue Plus Sign for the class.
- Select Add video or Add presentation for an empty class, as shown in the below figure. Otherwise skip to the next step.
- In the dialog box that appears, select whether you are adding media already in your Library, or you will be uploading new media.
- Complete the media selection steps as they are presented.
See Adding Media to a Class for additional information and more detailed instructions.
Making class media unavailable to students
Let's say you're one of those people who does all of your course set up WAY in advance. 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 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.
Linking 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.
- Editing videos
- Editing presentations
- Adding polling activities
- Adding media slides
- Creating Interactive 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.
Viewing Student Analytics and Exporting to the LMS
The earlier sections on this page mention setting up your links into Echo360 in a way that allows for exporting student usage information to the LMS. After you have your Echo360 classes and media set up, and your students have viewed some of your class media and maybe answered some polling slides, you will want to get SOME idea of which students are actually interacting with your materials and how.
First, 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. And you can see who gave what answers 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.
Next, notice that 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.
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. Each export for a class or for the section gets placed into the Gradebook Column that it corresponds to.
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.