Suppose a student is assigned a major project like a research paper. Teachers frequently provide detailed instructions, checklists, rubrics and so on to guide this process, but these are relatively passive. The following document allows the student to actively track the project and see where they are, whether they are on track and what they need to do. It also means teachers can automatically track progress as well.
Step 1: The teacher starts with a planning document:
Of course, everything about this table is customizable - this are just a rough list of tasks as a place-holder. It could be adapted to any major longer-term project, not just a writing assignment. The most important thing here is that some tasks depend on completing others before you even start. This structure builds that in.
It would also be easy to make each of the tasks into links that would take to more detailed descriptions and instructions.
Once the task structure is set up as they want, the teacher just needs to set a start date, and budget how long each step should take by moving the sliders. Play with both. (Note - this is set up so that dates fall only on work days. It can be set to take account of holidays as well.)
Days available (incl. weekends)
Step 2: Students get customized views:
One of the most powerful things you can do in Coda is create different “views” of the same information. This can be simply different presentations of exactly the same material: a table vs. a calendar view. But you can also show only part of the information. Or you can add controls that change what you see. Or you can set things up to facilitate actions.
So in this set of views for the students, they can control the status of various tasks: whether nothings has been done, they are in progress, or finished. This changes what is displayed dynamically. As deadlines approach, they can get warnings of that, and the software keeps track of how far behind they are falling. But in addition to nagging functions, you can give positive feedback. See what happens when you set the start date (in step 1) to today’s date and then mark the first task “done” in the student timeline:
Days available (incl. weekends)
The table above can be overwhelming to students, who can panic when they see too much on their plate. It is very easy in Coda to give control over what you see, and to see only more manageable portions of information. Use the selector below to narrow down what you are seeing in the table above. You can select more that one type.
Part of the reason to have planning/timeline documents for students is so they can... plan! You want students to know what is coming up and what they have to get done and by when. However, this requires that they pay attention to these documents and keep track of them and their progress on them. When this information is in a form accessible to a software platform instead of a plain text document, it can be used to automatically create reminders, alerts, and so on. On Coda, these could be set up to send actual notifications, but I am not implementing that here.
So here are a number of things you might want the student to be aware of: (In order for these tables to show anything, go back and set the starting date for the project (step 1) to about a month ago.)
Tasks you should have started:
Tasks you should have completed:
New tasks you will need to finish in the next x days:
Note that each of these tables is active: the “task status” can be changed here, and it will change everywhere else.
It is also really easy to create a calendar view. Honestly, by itself this is not the most useful thing. BUT if you imagine that this calendar would be populated with all the other things a student has to do, for this class and others, then you are starting to get something that is transformative.