Related links

  1. Getting Started with Acadly as a professor: Part 2/2 (Tips and Tricks)
  2. Professor Guide: Auto-attendance on Acadly
  3. Student Guide: Auto-attendance on Acadly

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Hello there! 👋

This Getting Started guide will help you wade through the not-so-murky waters of getting started with Acadly. This read is split into Part 1 (the basics) and Part 2 (tips and tricks).

If you've just signed up for Acadly, start here! 🏁

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Contents

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1. How to set up your course and enrol students

2. Understanding the Acadly interface

     2.1  Acadly's 4-page design
     2.2 Context-aware elements - Chat
💬 and Analytics 📊
     2.3 The Course Timeline
     2.4 The Lecture Page
     2.5 All about Activities

3. Walkthrough of your first trial lecture 👨‍🏫👩‍🏫

     3.1  Pre-class
     3.2 In-class - Activities, Attendance, Backchanneling & Participation Credit
     3.3 Post-class

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Got popcorn? Here's the complete video demo!

Video - The Complete Acadly Demo

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1. How to set up your Acadly course (skip if you've set up your course already)

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To set up your course on Acadly, please follow the steps described in the attached image.

To view an enlarged version of this image, right click and open this image in a new tab.

All I wanted to do was [insert favourite feature]. Why do I need to set up an entire course first? :(

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Creating a course timeline on Acadly has some tremendous benefits that will be apparent when you start teaching:

  • One-time setup: On most in-class tools, you need to create sessions or virtual rooms every time you teach. On Acadly, this is a one-time task. Over a semester, this will save you a lot of time.
  • No pesky session codes: Once you've set up your timeline, students don't need codes to view activities published during a lecture. This has two huge advantages:

It saves time inside the class, so that you don't waste precious class time creating and sharing codes, and late-comers don't have to disturb their classmates for the code.

It allows students not inside your classroom to participate remotely. The idea is to bring students in, and not lock them out. If you need to verify their physical presence, the automatic attendance feature will help you do that seamlessly.

  • History: The timeline based structure creates an archive that can help students relive past lectures long after they're over. You will find yourself doing that time and again once you start.

The Course Timeline, as you will soon realize, is one of Acadly's most understated benefits.

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2. Understanding the Acadly interface

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Don't let Acadly's breadth of capabilities give you the impression that the product is complex. Far from it... let's take a look at what's inside. 

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2.1 Acadly's 4-page design

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Acadly has your courses. Your courses have lectures. Your lectures have activities.

This isn't our entry for a State-The-Obvious-Contest, it's how Acadly is designed.

The Acadly interface comprises of 4 nested pages:

My Courses > Course Timeline > Lecture Page > Activity Pages

GIF 1 - Acadly's 4-page design

  • "Home" or the "My Courses" page: All your courses, present and past are available on the My Courses page.
  • The Course Timeline: Courses are structured as a timeline of lectures on Acadly, and most kinds of activities reside on these lecture pages. Apart from Lectures, you can also share Announcements and Assignments on the timeline.
  • The Lecture Page: The lecture page has a Pre-class Activities and an In-class Activities section and the Attendance tab. Should be self-explanatory about their purpose.
  • Activity Pages: There are five kinds of activities - Quiz, Poll, Discussion, Resource (content like files and videos) and Query (these are student-generated, unlike the others).

Now before we go any further into the activities, attendance and so on, there are a couple of key parts of the interface that merit special attention - the Chat 💬 and the Analytics 📊

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2.2 Context-aware elements - Chat 💬 and Analytics 📊

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Every page on Acadly has the corresponding discussion on the right and the corresponding statistics/ analytics on the top.

GIF 2 - Context aware elements on Acadly, the chat and the analytics

As shown above, if you're on the course timeline, you would find the course chat (chat thread for the course, as a whole) on your right. Similarly, the analytics section (which you open by clicking the graph-like icon 📊 on top) contains the course analytics.

On a lecture page, you would see the lecture chat on the right and the lecture analytics on top.

On an activity page, you would find the activity chat on the right and the activity analytics on top. 

This is a significant feature of Acadly - the product encourages discussions by design, by placing the chat next to every single page. This way, students and professors never have to create cumbersome threads for a discussion every time they have something to say.

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2.3 Course Timeline

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Tapping on a course on the My Courses page takes you to your course page, which is structured as a timeline. 

This is what the timeline looks like.

GIF 3 - The Course Timeline

The timeline can have three kinds of elements:

  • Lectures
  • Announcements
  • Assignments

All other kinds of activities - Polls, Quizzes, Discussions, Learning Resources and Queries (student-generated) aren't on the timeline, but inside the respective lectures.

After setting up your timeline, you can start attaching pre-class and in-class activities to your lectures... but more on that later.

While the timeline is created at the time you setup your course, it can be modified later. You can add, delete and reschedule your lectures any time.

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2.4 The Lecture Page

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Tapping on a lecture on the timeline takes you to the Lecture Page. 

GIF 4 - The Lecture Page

There are four sections on every Lecture page:

  • Pre-class activities - This section contains activities students need to do before the lecture, and any queries students post before the lecture begins
  • In-class activities - This section contains activities students need to do during the lecture, and any queries students post during the lecture
  • Review Queries - This section contains queries students post after the lecture is over
  • Summary - This section contains files and links that you share with students after the lecture. You cannot post activities like polls and quizzes in the Lecture Summary.

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2.5 All about activities

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2.5.1 Kinds of activities

There are 7 kinds of activities on Acadly.

5 of these can be added to lectures:

  • Polls - No right or wrong answers. Just a poll. Anonymity available.
  • Quizzes - Objective, automatically graded assessments are called "Quizzes" on Acadly.
  • Discussions - Instructor-initiated discussions.
  • Resources (or content) - Files, videos and links
  • Student queries - As the name suggests, professors can't initiate these. Students do.

The other 2 activities can be added directly to the timeline:

  • Announcements - Not exactly an "activity", of course
  • Assignments - Manually graded assessments. Students can send you files or links as submissions.

2.5.2 Creating and publishing activities

To create an activity on a course page or lecture page:

  • Tap the add icon on the lecture page.
  • Select the kind of activity you want to share - pre-class or in-class
  • In the following menu, select the kind of activity you want to share - Poll, Quiz, Resource or Discussion
  • Edit the necessary fields for the activity

If you navigate away from the activity page after editing these fields, the activity would stay in an Unpublished state. An unpublished activity is visible only to professors. To share the activity with the class, click the Publish button on the activity page.

Figure 1 - Sharing pre-class activities

Here's a short demo of the process for creating and sharing activities:

GIF 5 - How to create activities on Acadly

Note: You may not be able to add activities in certain contexts (for example, it isn't possible to attach activities to old lectures) and you should be able to figure this out with help from the detailed error and warning messages.

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3. Walkthrough of your first lecture on Acadly

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Alright, so let's get to the meaty bit! Here's how you use Acadly.

3.1   Pre-class
       3.1.1.  Share pre-class activities
       3.1.2. Measure students' preparedness for class
       3.1.3. Ready in-class activities
3.2  In-class
       3.2.1.  Record Attendance
       3.2.2. Share in-class activities
       3.2.3. Use backchanneling to invite student questions
       3.2.4. Record and reward offline participation
3.3  Post-class
       3.3.1.  Share the lecture summary
       3.3.2. Export attendance, participation and engagement records

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3.1 Before the lecture

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3.1.1  Share pre-class activities

Sharing any activity on Acadly - pre-class or in-class - can be done by following the process described in section 2.5.2 above.

  • Pre-class activities can be shared till 30 minutes before the scheduled lecture start time
  • Publishing an activity notifies students over email and a push notification on the mobile app
  • Students can attempt and engage with pre-class activities any time - even long after a lecture is over. Late submissions, if allowed, will be marked as such.

3.1.2 Measure students' preparedness for class

Once you've published pre-class activities and students responses start coming in, you can view the engagement statistics and results on the activity page analytics.

Figure 2 - Measure your class' preparedness by viewing the activity analytics for all pre-class activities

If you've shared some pre-class activities with your class, you can get a snapshot of their engagement with them before the lecture begins by opening the corresponding analytics pages.

Even if all you have shared is a learning resource like a file, link or video, you can go to the analytics page to see how many students have engaged with it. 

3.1.3 Ready in-class activities

Before you walk in to class, you can keep your in-class activities ready in an unpublished state. Whenever you need to share them with students, simply open the activity page and hit the publish button.

Figure 3 - Keep in-class activities ready-to-publish before the lecture

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3.2 During the lecture

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3.2.1. Record Attendance

This is the reason why you may have signed up - after all, this is our specialty, isn't it? Which is precisely why the auto-attendance process has its own detailed guides that we highly recommend:


Please do read these guides if you're planning to use Acadly's auto-attendance feature in your class. 

It should answer all the questions you might have about the auto-attendance process, and clear any misconceptions.

3.2.2 Share in-class activities

Sharing in-class activities works exactly like sharing pre-class activities - open the activity and hit the Publish button. A few things to keep in mind:

  • In-class activities can be shared only while the lecture is in session
  • For in-class polls and quizzes, you can set custom deadlines, starting from as little as 2 minutes
  • If you don't have enough time to share activities while in class, you can move the activity to another lecture

3.2.3. Use backchanneling to invite questions from students

Students can ask you questions during your lectures. While they may use the lecture chat for this too, they can also do this by posting queries on the lecture page.

Queries can be asked anonymously as well. If asked anonymously, the query does not go live for the entire class immediately. Rather it comes to you - the professor - for approval. 

Figure 4 - Anonymous queries come to you for approval. Others go live immediately

An anonymous query would go live and be visible to the entire class only after you approve it.

3.2.4. Record and reward offline participation

Of course, a lot of the valuable participation that happens during a lecture is likely to be through good old verbal, spoken means. When a student makes a valuable contribution that you think merits extra credits or recognition, you can award them points by opening the lecture analytics page, tapping on their name and selecting the number of points to award.

GIF 6 - Keeping a record of class participation during lectures

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3.3 After the lecture

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3.3.1. Share the lecture summary

After the lecture is over, you can share documents with students using the lecture summary feature. The lecture summary section is active only after the lecture ends.

Figure 5 - Add links and files to the Lecture Summary after class 


3.3.2. Export attendance, participation and engagement records

After the lecture, you can export all your data into CSV (Excel) files for any reporting or research purposes.

  • On the Course Analytics page, you can export data for the entire course at once.
  • On individual pages for Polls, Quizzes, Lecture Participation, Attendance and Assignments, you can download the results for individual activities.

GIF 7 - To export data into CSV files, visit the analytics section

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And there you have it! If you aren't sure about something, log in and start using Acadly - the in-app help tips will guide you every step of the way.

And this is not all. There are several other things in store for you. Discover them yourself, or proceed to read part 2 of this guide for advanced tips and tricks!

NEXT

Read Part 2 here: Getting Started with Acadly as a professor: Part 2/2 (Tips and Tricks)

You can also schedule a demo or call by visiting the Acadly home page, or reach out to us at support@acadly.com for any questions or concerns.

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