Share Links is a fantastic feature for sharing URLs to learners within your class. You can also choose to focus your students on the newly opened browser tabs for a set period of time using the Guide Browsing feature. Share Links and Guided Browsing sessions can now be scheduled to open at a set date and time, allowing you to set up digital lessons ahead of time and maximize your time on task with students.
When a Focused session is active, learners can’t open new tabs, swap to other tabs or browse to new sites or URLs. Filter session blocks the students from accessing the page listed by the teacher for the duration of time. Focused and Filtered sessions cannot be activated against the same student at the same time.
- Initiating a Focused session
- Focused through login pages
- Identifying existing Focused sessions
- Ending a Focused session
- Focused Sessions and G-Suite: Gmail, Drive and Docs
- The learner experience of Focused Session
- Troubleshooting Focused Session
Schedule Guided Sessions
- Scheduling Sharing Links, Focused and Filtered Sessions
- Viewing your Scheduled sessions
- Editing your Scheduled session
- Copy Past Scheduled Sessions
The Share Links feature allows you to open tabs on the browsers of selected learners, selected groups or the whole class, and display specified sites and/or URLs. It can open up to 10 sites and/or URLs at the same time.
To open new tabs on your learners’ screens:
- Click the Open Tabs This will load the Sharing Link modal.
- Enter the website URL(s) you want to open on your students’ screens. We recommend using the "https://" prefix where a login is required. If you forget it, Google will redirect your learners from say http://mail.google.com to https://mail.google.com and this will fail if https is not specified. You can access previously opened URLs by selecting Recent Tabs.
- Select your recipients. You can select an individual or multiple learners, groups, or your entire class.
- Click the Share Links button. Within seconds, the tabs will open in your students' browsers.
To begin a Guide Browsing session, just click "Guide browsing" on the top right of the Highlights page.
Then, choose which type of Guided Browsing session you would like to set up:
If teachers want to specify just a few URLs that students cannot access, they can use the new Filter function to do so. Teachers can enter up to 5 pages to block during the session. Once initiated, students will be able to access any site other than the specified sites.
To set up the session, just enter the URLs you wish to block and press enter to confirm the link. Then, decide how long you wish the session to last, and whether to apply the session to the entire class or just a group of students. Finally, decide whether to start the session now or schedule it for a future time.
If teachers would rather focus students on specific pages, they can use the Focus session function, which works the same as the former Focused Browsing. Teachers just choose up to 10 URLs to open on student browsers, then once initiated, students will only be able to access the specified pages.
Focus sessions are set up similarly to Filter, but the URLs entered on the first text box are the only sites that students will be able to access. The only additional option for Focus sessions is in the third option box, where you can decide whether to keep the tabs open at the end of the session, and whether to restore any other tabs that students had open when the sessions were initiated.
Note: Only one session can be active at any given time, and a new session will deactivate any existing sessions. For example, if a teacher begins a Filter session for one hour, then begins a 15-minute Focus session. Once the Focus session is complete, the Filter session will no longer be in effect, and students will be able to access any sites that may have been blocked.
Focused Sessions works best with sites and URLs that can be browsed to directly, whereas private sites and URLs require a login before they can be accessed. For example, you cannot access your Gmail account without logging in to Google first.
Usually, Focused Sessions handles these scenarios ok, but some private sites redirect the student through multiple URLs before arriving at the desired site and Focused Session doesn't currently handle these complex cases.
For example, if a teacher wants to focus her students to a private resource provided by McGraw-Hill, then the Students would need to log in to the McGraw-Hill site before they can access this private resource.
The teacher has the option of asking students to first login to McGraw-Hill before focusing them to catalog.mcgraw-hill.com, but if the teacher knows the login URL then we recommend just specifying both URLs in the same session by:
- Initiate a Focused Session
- Specify all URLs required for browsing and logging in, ie: catalog.mcgraw-hill.com and connected.mcgraw-hill.com in this example
- Click on the focused session icon
- Select "Limit browsing to anywhere in these site(s)" if you'd like to prevent students browsing outside these websites
- Click Open Tabs
- This will open two tabs in each student browser - one for each URL. Once the student logs in, they can click on an ebook to view it.
Note: There is no way to force the student to select a specific book - but Highlights will show the book each student selected. If a student chooses a different book from the rest of the class, the Activity Viewer will show this in the "Unique Activity" panel.
We recommend teachers asking students to sign into private URLs before initiating a Focused session that requires a login, but they can specify all necessary URLs if they are known.
When a Focused session is active, you can easily identify it by the Aquad heading indicator.
You can also easily identify Focused students via the Focused Session icon. This will display primarily in the panel of all students engaged in Focused Session activities, as well as next to each student/group name in the recipient selection drop down.
Basically, if a student already has a Focused session in progress, the Focused Session icon will display by their name on the Open Tabs drop-down list.
You cannot start a new Focused Session unless you stop the current session (or the current session expires). IE: Each student can only belong to ONE Focused session at a time.
If you need to stop a Focused session before the expiry of the set period, you can do this by clicking the orange Focused Session button, selecting the session required and clicking on the "End Session" button or clicking on the Focused Session icon for that specific session.
You will then be given the option to leave Focused tabs open for students or to close all Focused tabs. Leaving Focused tabs open will allow students to remain working on these sites, but give them the option of opening new tabs and navigating to new pages.
Clicking on the Focused session icon in individual student panels gives you the option to release select students.
If you'd like to focus learners on any of the Google tools Gmail, Drive, and Docs tools:
- Open Guide Browsing
- Select Focus Session
- Check the "Limit browsing to anywhere in these site(s)" option
- Enter the website https://mail.google.com
- Enter the website https://drive.google.com
- Enter the website https://docs.google.com
- Click on the "Open Tabs" buttons to start the Focused session.
Note: We recommend specifying all three websites. This gives a better user experience for learners who are not logged in and are redirected by Google to a login page.
When a teacher initiates a Focused Session, learners receive a pop-up message asking them to save their existing work. If they are ready, learners can accelerate the countdown by clicking Start now:
Late arriving learners are automatically added to the existing focused session when they log on.
That is if a teacher starts a focused session, and then a few minutes later a learner turns up, when the learner logs into their school account, they will be automatically added to the existing focused session.
If a learner attempts opening another browser page, they will be prevented from doing this until the end of the Focused session and will see the following message on the blocked page:
When the Focused Session session has expired, learners will receive a pop up notification:
Screenshot example of a full learner screen when Focused Session has finished:
Scheduling Guided Sessions
You can now set up browsing sessions in advance and schedule them from the Open Tabs modal. Teachers can schedule specific URLs to open for a class at the beginning of a class period or choose to schedule a session where students will be focused only on specific URLs.
Has an online quiz planned? You’ll be able to schedule it to open automatically at the start of class, giving learners more time to work. Making sub plans? Schedule tabs to open, so learners have everything they need.
Viewing Scheduled Sessions
A list of Scheduled Sessions will now be found under Schedule in the Highlights navigation.
From here, you can give each session a title to make them easier to keep track of or schedule additional sessions.
You can narrow your view of scheduled sessions to just this week, or view all of your scheduled sessions at once.
Editing your Scheduled sessions
You can edit you're scheduled sessions via the All Upcoming Schedules view.
Users can edit any of their upcoming Scheduled sessions by clicking on the pencil icon on the right end of the session description.
Copy past Scheduled Sessions
To copy past sessions for future use, simply click the button on the far right of the session. When you do, the normal Scheduled Browsing window will appear, filled in with the same settings as the past session other than the date and time:
If you wish, you can optionally edit these pre-filled settings. Once you are finished filling in the date and time of the session and editing any other settings, click "Schedule for the Class" to complete the Scheduled Session.