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Import plans by copy/paste from excisting spreadsheet to browser-spreadsheet in planner tool

Background:

Most teachers have their existing plans in some sort of spreadsheet. It would be extremely time conserving if such a table could be imported directly to ITS.

Idea:

Teacher may import many plans at once through a spreadsheet-interface in the bowser. The spreadsheet has static columns labeled similar to the present planner-fields (date, time, plan name, description, number of teaching hours, learning-objective, resources, activities). Teacher arrange his existing spreadsheet so that columns in Excel match the columns and format in the ITS-planner-spreadsheet. Data are transferred by copy and paste.

Empty cells in the pasted table remain empty in the ITS-spreadsheet, but may be filled in later. For example, teacher leave all cells in the learning-objective column empty and attach learning objectives post hoc from a dropdown-menu, accessed by clicking the empty cell. If linked to calendar, date- and time- columns may be populated automatically, but only in rows where the the name-colum has a value. Once any cell has a value it may be copied to other cells by paste/ctrl-v.

A plan with multiple entries in one field, for example multiple resources, occupy as many rows in the ITS-spreadsheet. Thus, plan-name-column contain one name-entry and then two empty cells to accommodate rows for three entries in the resource and description columns. Se attached screenshot. Less optimal multiple entries could be separated by ";" in a single cell ("internettaddress1.com; internettadress2.com").

In the description column, media such as images or video are added as links in separate rows; the system automatically discerns between text and pointers during import. Sequence of cells in the description coulumn (text1 ->media1->text2, etc... see attached screenshot) is reflected in final "rendering" of the description field.

After a preview teacher adds all plans to his subject with a single click.

Users might prefer this method of implementing a new plan, even if they do not have data in a spreadsheet to begin with. Making plans in a spreadsheet-interface is efficient and gives great overview. See attached example.

By first glance, this solution might seem to involve some complexity for the teacher. Most teachers organize their lessons in spreadsheets to begin with, however, and the efficiency and flexibility of this design might outweigh its apparent complexity.

Afterthought:

A spreadsheet-design could mitigate another problem with the planner-tool in ITS. If the spreadsheet serves as the "master-table" for all plans in the planner-tool, a lesson could be inserted inbetween two other lessons simply by inserting new rows. A new plan could also be created by inserting a name in an empty cell in the name column (the new plan then "adopts" all entries from its row until the next row with a name-entry). Or a plan could be extended or reduced by changing the value in the "number of teaching hours" column. The important bit is that all rows with an entry in the name field (thus representing a seperate lesson, or several lessons depending on teaching-hours) can automatically receive date- and time-entries based on the linked calendar or a timetable.

A conseqence of this setup is that small changees in the table (inserting a new lesson, for example) might re-populate calendars and subject-descriptions all across the ITS-interface. If server-capacity is a problem for such a design, a cool-down period of for example 5 min could be implemented for new changes to take effect.

  • Frank Helle
  • Nov 16 2016
  • Not selected for implementation
Country NO
Category Scheduling & planning
  • Nov 17, 2016

    Admin response

    Hi Frank,

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. I know spreadsheets and other tools are used to plan lessons (personally I used e.g. Word and PowerPoint for several years). I absolutely see how your idea could enhance parts of the Planner and also help import existing plans. Nonetheless, we rather want to focus on other aspect of the Planner. E.g. we are piloting a version of the Planner that is easy to share in the Library. We’re working towards a Planner that you can share in the Library – with all its content. To make this happen we need to focus our energy, and – sorry to say – make some tough priorities.

     

    Best regards

    Henning Gjellesvik

    Product Manager

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