I've got an exciting new feature to talk about today: grade level filtering in the My Big Campus Library. As you'll recall, we made it possible a few months ago to disable the Library for students by editing Policies. This setting removed the Library link from the user's navigation, and removed Library item from search results. With blocking enabled, only items shared by a teacher were available for viewing.
Grade level filtering works a little differently. When enabled by Policy, library items whose minimum grade level is higher than the one you select will be hidden from search results. And, while students can still browse the library, they won't be able to view any item that has a higher grade level than their Policy allows. This also applies to items shared by a teacher in a wall or discussion post, assignment, or group resources -- grade level filtering takes priority.
You can deploy this for an entire school by editing the "all users" policy. Or, to apply it to selected grades, create custom Policies, and assign them to Groups containing students at each grade level -- you can use existing groups for this, or import a SIS file to create and populate a group with all students at a specific grade level or range. This policy setting has no effect on non-student users.
This update is currently in testing, and should be available on the live My Big Campus website later this week.
Best practices for admins and teachers
If you've previously had to disable the Library entirely for your youngest students, this new feature gives you more options, but there are some important things to consider before you consider turning it on:
- Before deploying this feature for your school, see if the filtered results are acceptable for your students, teachers, and parents: assign a custom policy to a student account, then log into that account to browse and search the Library.
- Although you can specify student grade levels by importing a SIS file, this does not affect library filtering -- you must edit and apply a Policy to enable filtering.
- When you upload to the library, make sure the minimum and maximum grade levels you select are are reasonable. Mature subjects such as driver education, substance abuse, relationships, human reproduction, crime, war, or violence may be instructional and appropriate for older students, but the same content may be confusing, upsetting, or scary for younger kids.
- The MBC Library contains items submitted by thousands of users – mostly by teachers and other staff, however some schools allow student contributions. Most of this content was uploaded before we implemented grade level filtering, so the grade level information supplied by the contributor may not always be reliable. We've added a category in the "Report Abuse" list for "Inappropriate Grade Level" that will help our staff and recategorize content.
- Grade level filtering is not intended as a way to search for curriculum for a particular year or grade. Browse the playlists in the Khan Academy and Other Video Collections for specific concepts, and share those lessons with students who are ready for them.
- Depending on the subject area, "Advanced" does not have to mean "Inappropriate." Don't limit students to their own grade level and below -- if they've achieved competence with the standard curriculum, keep them engaged by allowing them to explore content one or two grades ahead.
- Take some time with your teachers to update your own Library contributions, and coach them on selecting appropriate grade levels for any new content they add.
How do I enable filtering?
Important: Grade level filtering is only available to schools and districts that have integrated My Big Campus with their Lightspeed web filter. "Freemium" schools won't have access to Policies. If you're a Lightspeed customer who needs help integrating My Big Campus with your filter, contact email@example.com.
- Log in as a school or district administrator, then click Administration in the top navigation bar.
- From there, click the Policies tab. Select and edit the policies that should have grade-level filtering.
- In the Library Item Access box, select the grade level, then save the Policy.
- If you're editing the built-in "all students" policy, the new settings will take effect immediately.
- If you're editing a custom policy, make sure you add Assignments by users or groups. Adjust the policy priority as needed so the highest level policy takes effect.
We've got a busy summer ahead of us, with lots of exciting new features still to come. If you have suggestions or questions, let me know in the Comments.