Back to School FAQ & Updates for Fall 2020!

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Curriculum & Courses Updates for 2020-21

We recently released our latest 2020-2021 versions of our Computer Science Fundamentals, Computer Science Discoveries and Computer Science Principles curriculum offerings! You can learn more details about each updated offering through these links:

You can read more about individual improvements and new features in tools like App Lab and Game Lab in our ongoing product update blog series, here! Some of our favorite recent updates include:

  • Parent-student account linking! This helps parents / guardians and students retain ownership of the student account and work over time, even if a teacher were to disband a section, and it allows parents to request a password reset for a student who either does not have a personal email or cannot access their personal email. Read more here.
  • Updates to App Lab, Game Lab, and Sprite Lab:
    • We added a plethora of real-life data sets you can use to build apps in App Lab! Read more here
    • We now allow data URLs to be used for images in App Lab, and enabled support for JFIF (image) file types in Web Lab, commonly found in Google image search.
    • Documentation improvements: You can now access Sprite Lab documentation and tutorials from all Sprite Lab projects and levels, and App Lab documentation and tutorials from all App Lab projects and levels!
  • CS Fundamentals teachers can check their class’ progress against CSTA Standards using the Standards view on the Progress tab of the Teacher Dashboard. This view can also be converted to a PDF report that can be shared with administrators or parents (learn more).
  • Programming lessons in CS Discoveries Units 2 and 3 now give students choices in how they interact with the content. Choice levels are marked with this icon (mceclip1.png).
    • Practice levels, which appear after content has been introduced but before assessment, allow students to choose different ways to practice the skills that they have learned. These levels often feature debugging activities that give students experience with common bugs and misconceptions related to the lesson content.
    • Challenge levels appear after assessments and introduce optional code and activities of increased complexity. 
  • Course completion certificates now support non-Latin characters! Previously, completion certificates could only support English/Latin characters. Now, any characters of any language will appear on your certificate!

Support for Students Learning from Home

In light of millions of students worldwide primarily learning from home in 2020, or in a virtual classroom setting, we have added code.org/athome where we will be sharing updates, resources, and guidance on how to continue to support your students when working virtually. We also have three focused pages for each of our main curriculum levels: CS Fundamentals, CS Discoveries, and CS Principles. 

Looking for additional support while your students are at home?

  • Visit our forum through the links mentioned just above, to connect with other teachers in the Code.org community. You can find ideas and suggestions for supporting your students while they’re remote, and provide ideas and suggestions to other teachers.
  • We’ve compiled a set of support articles and walkthroughs for supporting students while they’re at home - check them out here
  • We’ve added the ability for teachers to see when a student last made progress in a unit or course using the "Last Progress At" timestamp (learn more).
  • We also created a PDF letter that can be emailed to parents that contains login instructions (learn more).
  • Teachers can continue to see what students are working on when they’re remote using the progress dashboard (learn more), leave feedback for students on CSD and CSP programming levels (learn more), and control what lessons students can see and work on using the hide / show lessons and units feature (learn more).

If you have feedback or new feature requests for what would be particularly useful to you and your students right now, email us at support@code.org! 

Resources for School & District Administrators

Check out this area of support.code.org for guides and resources on how to use Code.org accounts in conjunction with services like Clever, Google Classroom, and PowerSchool. We're also actively working on updates to allow for Code.org content and course to integrate with LMS services like Canvas! If you'd like to help us build out this feature by sending some of your own feedback with using LMS platforms, read more here!

More Support for Mobile Devices

You can read about supported platforms for using Code.org and various courses through our IT requirements article.  While CS Principles, CS Discoveries, and associated environments (Web Lab, App Lab, Game Lab) are still not supported on most mobile devices (a full keyboard and mouse setup on a laptop or desktop computer is required), there are some exceptions! We have recently expanded our support for certain mobile devices, namely iPads and Microsoft Surface Pro devices with certain add-on accessories. The following two devices should work for you on Game Lab, App Lab, and Web Lab:

  • Microsoft Surface Pro with an external keyboard
  • iPad running iPadOS 13.4 or later with an external keyboard and an external mouse or touchpad

Chromebooks are still supported for 100% of Code.org content and courses! You can read more about some smaller mobile improvements in our product update blog post, here

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions both for teachers starting out new with Code.org and for those returning to the learning platform at the start of the school year.

Managing classroom sections

How can I create a classroom section for my students?

Create a new classroom section for your students by signing into your account and clicking on the button that says “Create a section” on your dashboard. If you use Google Classroom or Clever rostering, we encourage you to choose the option to sync your section with these tools. Otherwise, choose the “personal login” option if your students can create their own accounts, or word or picture login accounts if you want to create accounts for your students. Learn more about creating sections here and having your students join your sections here.

How do I delete my old sections?

The easiest way to declutter your sections list is by choosing the “Archive section” option in the dropdown menu that appears when you click on the arrow on the rightmost column of your sections table.

By archiving your sections (instead of deleting them), you will be able to restore them in the future if needed while still retaining your students’ education records. Learn more about removing old sections here.

Can I move a student from one section to another?

Yes, you can move (or copy over) students by clicking into the section from your dashboard, going to the “Manage Students” tab and clicking on the “Move Students” button. From here, choose the students you want to move and the section you want to move them to. Note that this does not work for sections synced with a third party system like Google Classroom or Clever.

To move a student in sections synced with a third party system like Google Classroom or Clever, you'll need to move the student between sections in the third party system first, and then return to Code.org and "sync" both the old and new section to update them.

For more details on moving students, go here.

Can I add a co-teacher to my section?

There is currently no way to add a co-teacher to individual sections, but we offer a few workarounds that still allows other teachers to view your students' progress. If you want to share your full teacher dashboard's progress view with someone else (such as another teacher or school admin), you'll need to share your login credentials with them.

Alternatively, you can copy your students accounts into another teacher's section. The other person just needs to have a teacher account. For more details on co-sharing a section with others, see this article: https://support.code.org/hc/en-us/articles/228116368-Can-two-or-more-teachers-share-access-to-student-sections-

For more info on moving / copying students, see this article: https://support.code.org/hc/en-us/articles/206448888-How-can-I-move-students-into-a-different-section-or-under-a-new-teacher-.

Lastly, students can join any other teacher's section at any time, while preserving progress. Students who are signed in can join another teacher's section from code.org/join, which will allow both the original and new teacher to view their progress. 

If you use Google Classroom or Clever rostering, this can be achieved by syncing to the same Google Classroom or Clever section. Otherwise, a teacher can copy over their students to another teacher’s sections through the “Move Students” button.

 

Finding and assigning a course

How should I find the course I want to teach?

Visit our courses page to learn more about the courses we offer and what the recommended grade bands are for these courses.

What is the purpose of assigning a course or unit to my section?

By assigning a specific course to your section, you can make sure that your students go directly to the desired course after they sign in. It will also default you to the right course when you’re viewing student progress in your teacher dashboard. You can assign a course when you create a new section or use the orange “Assign course” button when viewing the course overview page. Note that you can also assign a specific unit for the same purpose when teaching CS Discoveries or CS Principles.

How can I prevent my students from working on course materials I haven’t asked them to yet?

To prevent students from working on certain units or lessons, you can hide those materials using controls on the course and unit overview pages. Learn more here

Viewing student progress

How can I see my students’ overall progress?

You can view your students’ progress through the “Progress” tab for the section. Go to “My dashboard,” click the name of the section you’re interested in viewing, and make sure you’re on the “Progress” tab. Click on the magnifying glass to see the progress in more detail (on a level by level basis). Learn more here.

How can I see the work my students did on a particular level?

To view your students’ work, first go to the specific level you are interested in. You should see a blue teacher panel on the right-hand side. Open up the panel, choose the section you want, and a list of students in that section should appear. From here, click on the individual students and see their progress.

How do I give feedback to my students?

If you're a verified teacher, you can leave feedback for your students on individual programming levels in our CS Discoveries and CS Principles courses. In CS Discoveries '19-'20 there are also mini-rubrics available on select programming levels. We recommend leaving feedback on levels marked as assessment opportunities (Screen_Shot_2019-09-05_at_2.04.23_PM.png).

To give feedback, go to the level you want to leave feedback on, click a student's name in the blue teacher panel, and enter your feedback for that student in the "Feedback" tab (near the instructions area). Learn more hereStudents will be notified on their homepage when and where you have left them feedback.

 

Teacher controls for student settings

Can I control what lessons my students see?

Yes, you can do this by hiding and showing exactly what lessons you want your students to see. Go into the overview page for the course or unit (e.g. https://studio.code.org/s/coursea-2018 or https://studio.code.org/s/csp1-2018) and select the appropriate section from the dropdown at the top of the page. Then use the toggle for “Visible” and “Hidden" to turn off lessons or units you don't want your students to have access to. Learn more here.

How do my students pair program and how can I stop them from pairing?

Your students can pair program by clicking on the “Pair Programming” option from their accounts drop down menu. From here, they can choose whichever students they want to pair with. You can turn off pair programming (and unpair any existing pairings) by editing the section details for the appropriate section and selecting “No” for “Enable pair programming.” Learn more about pair programming here.

Can I control whether students can share their projects with others?

Teachers can manage whether their students can share App Lab, Game Lab, and Web Lab projects with others through the "Manage students" tab for the given section. Teachers will see a column to edit share settings for students by default if they have CS Discoveries or CS Principles assigned to the given section, as App Lab, Game Lab, and Web Lab are designed to be used in our middle and high school courses. Learn more about controlling share settings for your students here.

 

Preparing for your computer science class

What are the technical requirements for using Code.org curriculum?

Please review our IT requirements with your IT administrator to ensure that your classroom is ready and set up to use our online curriculum.

How do I attend professional learning for Code.org curriculum?

Professional learning is available to teachers of all grade levels. Whether you’re new to computer science or an experienced tech teacher, our professional learning program is a great way to find support as you’re preparing to use Code.org’s curriculum.

Do you have any videos, posters, or other resources I can use?

 

What else can I do to help?

How else can I help expand computer science?

Help us expand computer science at your school or district by first letting us know if your school teaches computer science. Tell us about your school here.

 

Additional resources

How can I connect with other teachers or get coding help for myself or my students?

Visit our community forum at forum.code.org to connect with other educators around the world, to get varied input on classroom implementation strategies, hear success stories, ask questions over your code or your students' code, and much more! More specifically, for debugging help in GameLab or CS Discoveries, go here. For debugging help in AppLab or CS Principles, go here.

How can I keep track of product updates that are happening? 

Check out these articles in our Product Update blog series that cover our latest updates and features.

What if I need additional help? 

We encourage you to check out our support articles to see if your question is already answered. If you run into any other problems or issues, please email us at support@code.org. We are always happy to help! 

 

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