How to Use the Layout Coach
The Layout Coach helps course designers and teachers select Delphinium components that are compatible with each course. Delphinium offers a lot of options that enhance engagement in a wide variety of course styles. However, it is important to know that not all options work well together and not all options will work for YOUR course. But don't worry! We'll help you get things "just right"! By answering a few questions, the Layout Coach can recommend options that work well together and lock-out incompatible combinations. You can be confident that your delphinium design choices will work well with your class.
Use the Layout Coach to tell us more about your class by selecting from the options below. Then the Layout Coach will suggest templates you can choose from (Option 1), or for advanced users, Layout Coach will configure the layout editor with options that will work for your class and you can create your own layout (Option 2). Be sure to make selections that match how your course actually is right now, not how it might become in the future. You can return to the Layout Coach at any time and change your selections if you make changes to your course.
The Layout Coach will do the following based on the selections you make:
Recommend and lock layout templates that will work well with your course
Recommend, lock, and require components if you create/edit a layout
In some cases, the Layout Coach will configure component settings to work well for your course
The Layout Coach asks for information in ten categories: Path, Pace, Period, Points, Grading style, Organization, Release Schedule, Total points, Assignment group weights, and All points in gradebook. For each category, you will choose an option that best describes your class. The Layout Coach will then offer templates that are compatible with your course or configure the Layout Editor with compatible components. The categories and the options you have to select from are described below and you can view descriptions for each by mousing over icons in the Layout Coach.
Path refers to how a student chooses which assignment to complete next in the course.
Students are expected to complete assignments in a specific sequence (e.g., assignment A, followed by assignment B, followed by assignment C, etc.). Linear paths are best for content that builds on previous work (e.g., many math and science courses).
Students may choose which assignment to complete next. There may be no particular order for choosing which assignments to complete next, or some assignments must be completed before other assignments can be attempted. This approach works well in courses where the order of content is not fixed (e.g., some social science and survey courses).
Students may choose which assignments to complete next, with no restrictions. However, students are encouraged to select assignments from different categories (e.g., from different course objectives).
Pace refers to how students are encouraged to make timely progress in the course. In other words, how does the course design create a sense of urgency around completing assignments. Pacing strategies are mutually exclusive and it is important that you use only one in your course (e.g., don't use milestone due dates AND assignment due dates, these pacing strategies are incompatible and we have found that combining them will be frustrating to your students).
Assignment Due Dates
Each assignment is given a due-date and/or a locked-after date in Canvas.
Module Due Dates
This pacing strategy is used with a cafeteria-style course design. Groups of assignments, contained in modules, are given the same due date. When the module due date passes, all assignments in the module are locked. This allows the teacher to grade these assignments. All unlocked modules remain available for students to work on.
Milestone Due Dates
Students are given point-level milestones with due dates (e.g., Earn 100 points by Jan 10th, Earn 200 points by Feb 10th). Students cross milestones by earning points in the class. Students can receive bonus points for reaching each milestone early, and penalty points reaching them late.</p><p>Milestone due dates are designed to reflect a more "real-world" approach to creating urgency. Students may choose when to submit assignments, but there are positive and negative consequences associated with complying with expectations. It is possible to recover from penalties by exceeding expectations on other milestones.
Period refers to the distribution of points across the term or semester in your course. In other words, period refers to when points are earned.
There is no specified distribution of points, students are free to earn points at any time.
Students are expected to earn points at an even rate. Assignments are organized in a way that students will earn points in a steady, even, rate during the entire term or semester, with no significant spikes or gaps when students earn noticeably more or less points.
All points are available to earn at the beginning of the term or semester, but options for earning points are reduced over time. Students choose when they attempt to earn points from available assignments.
Students are expected to earn a proportionally larger amount of points at the beginning of the term or semester.
Students are expected to earn a proportionally larger amount of points at the end of the term or semester. This often happens when there is a large project or exam at the end of the term or semester, with smaller assignments that build up to it.
The pattern in which students earn points can be described as a series of peaks and valleys. In other words, there are periods when students earn a lot of points followed by periods with few or no points, and this pattern is repeated throughout the term or semester.
Point volume refers to how many points are available to earn in a course, relative to how many points are required to earn the highest grade.
Enough Points to Get an A
The point value for all assignments in this class add up to roughly the number of points required to earn the highest grade.
Many More Points than are Required to Get an A
The point value for all assignments in this class add up to many more points than the number of points required to earn the highest grade. This option is useful when you are offering students a lot of choice in which assignments they choose to complete.
Courses that use 0-based grading start every student with 0 points. Each time a student earns points, their point balance increases.
The pros of 0-based grading include:
Students always know what their current grade is
A student's grade cannot typically go down
Each assignment submitted results in an observable increase in the points balance, this is a motivating dynamic for many students
Starting a student at 0 and working upwards mirrors the increased knowledge and skill the student is obtaining in the class
0-based grading is similar to how games keep score and will be familiar to students</li>
The cons of 0-based grading include:
Students' point value is directly tied to their grade, so they will have a failing grade until they earn 60% of the points. This can be discouraging to some students. Some of this concern can be alleviated by adding multiple levels of F for a student to pass through (e.g., adding "grade" levels at 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, and 50% so students can observe their progress).
0-based grading does not work well when the majority of the points are earned at the end of the semester, because the student will be "failing" for most of the semester, and this is discouraging
Teachers must lock-in the total number of points at the beginning of the course. This is difficult to do if the course is dynamic and the list of assignments are frequently changing.
Courses that use %-based grading start every student at 100% (e.g., an “A”). Each time a student submits an assignment, their % score is adjusted.
The pros of %-based grading include:
Students can always feel like they are performing well because their % score will typically represent a "passing" grade
Teachers are free to adjust their assignments, point value for assignments, and number of assignments at any time during the term or semester; the calculations for computing % are flexible for these types of changes
%-based scoring is a good indicator of the quality of the work a student has turned in (e.g., a student is earning 82% of the points they attempt)</li>
The cons of %-based grading include:
The actual value of each assignment on the final grade is not clear, and the impact of submitting an assignment may not produce any visual change in the %-based score (e.g., a student could have 82% in the class, then turn in 5 assignments and still have 82%, no movement in performance is reflected). As a result, students may feel less motivation generated by submitting assignments.
The %-based score does not actually indicate a student's overall performance in a class if they stop working now, nor does it predict the final grade with any accuracy (e.g., What does a midterm grade of 82% say about the final grade? Nothing. The student could work very hard and raise their final to a 94%, or completely slack and end up with a 56%.)
Starting a student at 100% seems to imply that a student starts a class knowing everything and the course chips away at the score until we prove the student knows less
Organization refers to whether you are primarily using modules or assignment groups to organize the content in your course.
Canvas modules allow teachers to group gradable events like quizzes and assignments with content like pages, links, files, etc. Modules can also be configured to influence the path a student takes through a class using completion requirements, module prerequisites, and mastery paths. Delphinium has a variety of components that display canvas modules in exciting and motivating ways.
We recommend that you use modules to organize your course content and assignments.
Canvas assignment groups allow teachers to group gradable events like quizzes and assignments together. However, you cannot add other content like links, files, pages, etc. to assignment groups. Assignment groups also do not have any advanced pathing features. Delphinium can display a list of assignment groups with their associated assignments.
We recommend that you use modules instead of assignment groups to organize your course content and assignments.
Release schedule refers to when students can see what assignments will be available during the semester or term.
All at Once
All at once means every assignment that a student can complete is viewable to students at the beginning of the course. We recommend this option because students can see clearly what will be required of them and can plan accordingly.
A Few at a Time
A few at a time means that assignments are released periodically to the students during the term or semester and they are not all available at the beginning of the course. This option might be preferable if a course is still in development, or if the teacher adjusts content based on students' experience.
Total points refers to whether or not the total points in the class are fixed or variable.
Fixed means the total number of points in the class are decided at the beginning of the term or semester. Assignments still might change, but the final number of points will stay roughly the same.
Variable means the total number of points in the class is unknown at the beginning of the term or semester and will likely change. This can happen if you are still developing your course or intend to make changes to the course based on student performance.
Assignment Group Weights
Assignment-group weights refers to whether or not you are using the assignment-group weights feature in Canvas. This feature allows the teacher to change the impact that a group of assignments has on the final grade by weighting them relative to other assignment groups.
We do NOT recommend using assignment group weights because it obscures the actual influence of each assignment on the final grade. This makes it harder for students to gauge the impact of each assignment and to plan their efforts in the class. (e.g., with assignment weights it is possible to have a 500-point exam be worth 2% of the final grade, and a 10-point quiz worth 75% of the grade).
In delphinium, a point is a point. Any assignment group weights will be ignored, and each point will be displayed as a point. We recommend adjusting the value of your assignments so they reflect the weight you intend them to have on the final grade without using assignment group weights.
Assignment groups in this course are weighted to manipulate their impact on the final grade.
A point is a point in Delphinium and Delphinium will not display the weighted versions of scores to students. You will not be able to use Delphinium components that display a grade to students.
We do NOT recommend this option because it makes it harder for students to gauge the impact of each assignment and plan their efforts in the class. We recommend adjusting the value of your assignments so they reflect the weight you intend them to have on the final grade without using assignment-group weights.
Assignment groups are not weighted in this course. The face point value for each assignment is the actual impact that assignment will have on the final grade. This approach makes it easier for students to gauge the impact of each assignment on their final grade and allows them to plan accordingly.
All Points in Gradebook
All points in gradebook refers to whether or not all points awarded in the course are recorded in the Canvas gradebook. Delphinium can only see and work with points that are recorded in the Canvas gradebook.
Delphinium works well with other 3rd party tools, including publisher courseware or other activities, as long as those 3rd party tools record their scores in the Canvas gradebook. To get the most out of Delphinium, we recommend configuring 3rd party tools to record all scores in the Canvas gradebook and using the Canvas gradebook to record scores for offline assignments as well.
All points awarded in this course are recorded in the Canvas gradebook.
Some or all of the points in this class are NOT recorded in the Canvas gradebook.
After making selections for the ten questions, you have two options for adding a Delphinium layout to your course.
Option 1: Select a Template
As you select options from the "ten question" categories, the list of templates will be customized to best match your course. After you have selected options for all ten questions, the list will unlock and you can select a template.
To view a preview of a template, you can click View (glasses icon) to the right of each template name.
Click Save to reload the page with your new layout copied from the template.
You will be able to further customize your layout in the Layout Editor after you save your template if you like. You can always return to the Layout Coach to change your selections and select a different template by clicking Layout Coach in the layout editor.
Option 2: Create a Layout
After you answer the 10 questions, the Go button will be enabled.
Clicking Go will display the Layout Editor. Based on the selections you make in the Layout Coach, component tiles will be
Recommended (thumb icon) - these components are good choice for your course, but you don't need to use them
Blocked (lock icon) - these components will likely not work for your course, if you still want to add them, you will need to check the "Unlock All Components" box
Required (star icon) - based on the choices you made in the Layout Coach, you MUST use this component
Notice (circle 'i' icon) - The Layout Coach will configure some of the settings for this component if you use it in the course
You can then use the instructions found in the following tutorial to create your own layout