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Create & Customize an Assignment

In Actively Learn, you can engage, motivate, and support students in the best reading environment for deep learning. By embedding questions, notes, and links directly into the text, you can provide differentiated instruction where students need it.

Pick a text

Add Learning Objectives for Students

You can include information which will add context to what students are about to read, and give them direction on what to look for while they read. Adding learning objectives is a great way to provide students context for what they are about to read. These objectives allows students to more easily connect what they are doing in class and what they are suppose to learn. 

Tips for adding learning objectives:
  • Context to fill knowledge gaps
    If you are assigning a text about sports history, it would be important to go over basic rules of the sport with your students. More on content knowledge
  • Key ideas or core concepts to look for while reading
    If you are assigning text on motivational interviewing, you can list key skills for them to look for while reading. You might highlight such skills as: Express and show empathy, support and develop discrepancy, deal with resistance, etc. 
  • Connect students’ prior knowledge
    If you are about to teach photosynthesis, it would be helpful to go back over the parts of plants with your students. 

How to add reading objectives

  • Open the assignment you want to edit from your Workspace 
  • Select "Add Directions for Students"

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Add instruction and assessment

There are a few different types of instruction, scaffolding, and assessment in Actively Learn:

  • Questions - to encourage meaningful thinking
  • Notes - used as that digital "tap on the shoulder" to help fill gaps in background knowledge. Can also be used to ask students questions that won't be graded, and are great places for discussions!
  • Links - add external content
  • Whiteout - remove parts of the text

Add a question

In Actively Learn, you embed questions at the exact moment you want students to stop and think. After students answer a question, they comparing their responses with their peers. They can learn from others' perspectives, and think about how they might have improved their answer.

Tips to asking a great questions:
  • Tie questions to the objective you shared before starting the text
    Help students better understand the purpose of the assignment
  • Determine Placement
    What part of the text do you want to highlight and have students pause to think?
  • Use Depth of knowledge
    Ask questions that test recall, skill/concepts, strategic thinking, and extended thinking. This will help foster critical thinking skills.

 For an in depth look on "How to Ask Great Questions in Actively Learn"

STEP 1: Highlight a portion of the text, and select "Insert Question"

STEP 2: Pick a question type

STEP 3: Align your question to a standard (optional)

The standards added to your question will be reflected in the Proficiency by Standards section in your Reports. 

Change Standard Set

Changing standard set for questions will help you assess your students based on subject specific standards. Also, it provides your students with a rubric as they are answering questions.  Additionally, selecting a standard set enables you to accumulate data on student performance in your reports. 

STEP 1: Open the "Select a standard" drop-down

STEP 2: Scroll to the bottom and select "Change standard set" 

STEP 3: Select a standard from the new list

STEP 4: Type your question

STEP 5: Apply any of the options you would like. More here on options

STEP 6: Select “SAVE”

Add a note

In Actively Learn, notes act as that digital 'tap on the shoulder' for students as they are reading through the text. They're GREAT scaffolding for students, and you can add them into text, just where they'll be most helpful for your students. 

 Tips on maximizing notes:
  • Ask open ended questions
    This will generate conversation and debate among students. Who can reply in the notes
  • Fill knowledge gaps
    There may be complex ideas that require some background knowledge or further explaining to help students understand the reading
  • Highlight important dates or facts
    Pause students reading to point out important facts that will be important later or recall/connect important facts from prior readings

STEP 1: Highlight where you want add a note and click "Insert Note"

STEP 2: Write your note, category, media, and toggle to set as extra help

Note categories can be edited 

Simply select the pencil icon and make the changes you want. Then select save. 

If you're focusing on a specific learning objective or framework, and have a specific note categories you'd like to use across multiple assignments, you may want to customize your defaults. See how to customize your default note categories

STEP 3: Select Save

Add a link

Why embed links into your assignments?

In Actively Learn, links help provide additional information to students as they read. Students can click on links and review other websites you want them to read.

STEP 1:  Highlight where you want to insert your link and select "Insert Link"

STEP 2:  Enter a URL

STEP 3: When a student selects a links, a new browser tab will open

Whiteout text

Whiting-out portions of the text

In Actively Learn, you can also remove portions of text from your students' view by using the Whiteout option. 

STEP 1: Highlight the text you want to white out and select "Whiteout"

You can restore the text at any point by clicking on the icon located where the text was formally located

Adding Media to Notes and Questions 

To add media to a question or note to Actively Learn, you'll need to find the media's URL. Every browser does this a little differently.

Image (Chrome)

Right-click the image, and select "copy image address" to get the URL for the image

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Simply copy the URL of videos and paste them into the "add media" field.

See below for an example:

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