Linking Sections in Schoology

IMPORTANT NOTE

Linking sections after the start of the year will result in the loss of pre-existing assignments and grades in the child sections. Be sure to carefully read ALL steps below.

Course section linking is advertised as a great way to manage all sections of a course more efficiently. When sections are linked, they all share the same set of materials and grade setup. Schoology posts this warning about using Section Linking: 

image of linked sections

  • Requirements for Linking Sections
    • The sections must be within the same Course.
    • The sections must be associated with the same grading period.
    • Enrollment must be unique across the linked sections. There cannot be any overlap in the students.
    • The sections must have the same Course Admins.
  • Linking Existing Sections Together
    1. Click your Courses menu and and select My Courses. my courses

      STEPS 2-7 SHOWN IN ANIMATED GIF BELOW

      steps 2-7

    2. In your list of courses, click the gear icon to the right of the section you consider to be the "master section". If you have materials in both courses, the "master section" is the one that holds the materials and grades you would like to continue to use between the two sections. 
    3. Select Link Existing Sections from the dropddown.
    4. Select the section(s) to link and click Next.
    5. **IMPORTANT** – As a safeguard against losing grade data for child sections, you must select to download a grade export file for each section being linked. See the "Gradebook File Download when Linking or Unlinking Sections" instructions below for details.
    6. Select the file type to download:
      As a Standard CSV spreadsheet.
      As a CSV file that you can use to import into other systems, such as an SIS.
    7. Click Download and Next.
    8. Click Link Sections.
    9. A warning message displays: 

      "Materials from (section name) will not be copied into: (section name). Once complete, the sections will share: grade setup, materials, and course profile (of the destination section). Member enrollments will still belong to their respective sections." 

      This means that the section for which you clicked the gear icon will be the master section–the linked sections will now all have access to and use the materials in that master section. This includes Course Materials and items in your Grade Setup (such as Grading Categories, Rubrics, etc). However, the original rosters of students when the sections were separate will remain the same after you link the sections.

    10. Click Link Sections. 

      If the requirements for linked sections are not met, the other section(s) will be grayed out. If you hover your mouse over the grayed-out section, you will see a tooltip explaining the cause of the issue.

  • How to Use Linked Sections

    Linked sections share the same Materials and the same Grade Setup. All other areas of the course are separate, but as the Course Admin you can toggle among sections in each area. 

    • Making announcements and posting updates
    • Creating materials
    • Using Course tools
    • Course tools include: Gradebook, Mastery, Attendance, Members, Analytics, Workload Planning, and course-level Apps
    • Grading 
  • Gradebook File Download when Linking or Unlinking Sections

    When you link or unlink sections, the grade data for child sections is not retained–only the student grade data for the master section remains visible in Schoology. The child sections are restored to how they were before the sections were linked or unlinked.
    For this reason, Schoology strongly recommends against linking or unlinking during the school year; but we also realize that sometimes you will have link or unlink sections. For this reason, we've added a safeguard to ensure that grade data in child sections is still available to Course Admins: requiring a download of the gradebook spreadsheet for each child section when linking or unlinking.
    Before completing the linking or unlinking process, Course Admins must choose from one of two downloads:

    • Standard CSV: Select this option to download a CSV file version of your gradebook. This spreadsheet is formatted similarly to how it is in Schoology, with the student names vertically and material titles along the top.
    • CSV for import into other system: Select this option to download a CSV file with more detailed student data. This spreadsheet is separated by columns for mapping purposes to use to import into another system, such as an SIS gradebook.

    Grade Calculation Differences There are several important differences in how grades are calculated between the two formats.

    import table

    Be sure to consider these variables when deciding the file format to download.

  • Grading in Linked Sections

    Setting Up Your Gradebook

    Grade Setup does not change at all once your sections are linked. This screen looks the same as it would if you did not link your sections, and all of the items you create here — grading categories, grad scales, rubrics, and the settings you apply to your gradebook — will apply to all of the sections within this course.

    Administering Grades

    You can grade your materials in Schoology from directly in the Gradebook, or from the item itself.

    Gradebooks across linked sections remain separate. You can use the toggle tool and drop-down menu to move among the gradebooks for your different linked sections:

    switch sections

    Similarly, you will see a toggle tool when grading from the item itself. Below you can see screenshots of this tool in the different types of materials:

    Assignments:

    Open the assignment.
    In the Submissions column on the right, select a section to see its list of student submissions.assignments

    Discussions:

    Click the Discussion to open it from the Materials page.
    Use the toggle in the Discussion Toolbar at the top to switch among the posts in the different sections.discussions

    Tests/Quizzes

    Open the test/quiz from the Materials page.
    Select the Results tab along the top.
    Use the section toggle at the top to switch among submissions for the different sections.quizzes

    Assessments

    Open the Assessment from the Materials page.
    Select Student Attempts along the top.
    Use the section toggle at the top to switch among submissions for the different sections.assessments

  • Unlinking Sections

    Once you've linked sections, you can also unlink them. However, when you unlink sections, the materials, grades, and data will remain only in the master section. There, Schoology does not recommend unlinking sections once the school year has begun or once student submissions have been made in the child section.decorative image

    To unlink sections:

    • Click Courses at the top of the screen.
    • Select My Courses..
    • In your list of courses, click the gear icon to the right of the linked sections.
    • Select Unlink Sections from the drop-down menu on the gear icon.unlink section image
      When you click Unlink Sections, you are prompted to select the section(s) to unlink, as well as the two options of what happens to the unlinked section(s). Make sure you are aware of the effects:unlink section
      Unlink and restore original section — restores that section to the way it was before it was linked. If it was an existing section with data, that data that existed before you linked the sections will be restored.  Only the master section retains the materials, setup, grades, and data. In other words, any material created after linking sections will only be retained in the master section when you unlink. The child section will revert back to what it looked like before you linked the sections.
      Unlink and move enrollments into an new section — moves the students enrolled in that section into a new blank course - without materials or any other data. This action cannot be undone. 
    • As a safeguard against losing grade data for child sections, you must select to download a grade export file for each section being unlinked. See the Gradebook File Download when Linking or Unlinking Sectionsinstructions below for details.step 2
    • Select the file type to download:
      As a Standard CSV spreadsheet.
      As a CSV file that you can use to import into other systems, such as an SIS.
    • Click Download and Next.
    • Click Unlink Sections to complete the process.