Tool Tips

To get started:

1. Download Firefox and update the version used on a regular basis. (Learning by Design may not function properly in other browsers, including AOL and Internet Explorer.)

2. Using Firefox, log in to an existing account or register a new account at

3. The Help link from the application provides further practical tips on creating and editing your first learning element.

For software support, please mail

To reset a password:

1. After logging in, go to Account, located on the green box menu at the top of the screen on the right.

2. Enter the old password. Enter the new password and confirm.

To work in a supported language other than English, which is the default (currently: Spanish, Greek):

1. Log in and select Profile (from the green box menu at the top of the screen on the right).

2. Under your information at the top, you will find a link to Edit profile. Select it.

3. Find the drop-down box for Language (under Organization). Select the default language you prefer to use when creating learning elements and when viewers see them. For example, setting your language preference to Greek means that you will see the learning elements editor interface in Greek and that users who request to see all learning elements created in Greek will be able to view that learning element.

To create a new learning element:

You must first establish an anchor to which all of the sections of your learning element will be attached. This anchor must be saved before you can enter your lesson plan or any other sections, such as objectives (n.b. if the anchor has not been created and saved first, any work done will be lost). To create this anchor:

1. click on Create (gray box) on the second menu bar from the top

2. fill out the metadata form that appears – you will create the actual lesson plan later

3. click on the submit button, to the bottom left of the screen

Note: When creating a learning element, you should fill out both the left and right sides of the screen, the left for display for teachers in the language of the profession and the right for display to students in the language of the classroom.

To work with the editor:

Pasting Text from Elsewhere: Avoid copying and pasting content into the editor (text fields) directly from a rich word processor, like MS Word, or the web. The extra formatting that rich word processors and web pages introduce, even when not displayed, can “confuse” the behind-the-science software program that Learning by Design uses to create PDFs. Instead, copy text into a basic text editor and then into the editor in the tool. Note: If you are having difficulty creating a PDF, it is likely that extra formatting characters are the cause. Try cleaning up the text through taking it through this “cleaning” process, then print.

Linking: 1. Mark the text or image to which you would like to link. 2. The grayed-out link icon now goes live. Select it, and paste the URL in the pop-up box that appears.

Saving: Save your work early and often. Adding content in the editor is similar to adding information to any kind of form on the web; there is no auto-save feature. Do not move from a section while editing or adding new content until you have saved what you have done.

Collaborating: Learning by Design offers teachers the ability to collaborate on creating and editing learning elements. This is done using the Collaborators tool. However, only one person can work in a learning element at a time, and only one person should have a learning element open at a time (in edit mode) to reduce the chance of any save conflicts (loss of newly entered information).

To navigate a learning element in edit mode:

1. Use the vertical menu on the left to click through the sections of a learning element.

2. The sections of a learning element are:

  • Description: the metadata about the lesson the teacher created to describe this element, entered when the teacher first created the element
  • Focus: a summary of the lesson’s purpose and objectives
  • Learning Standards: the educational standards the lesson fulfills, especially those required or recommended by federal, state, district, or school policy — these may be quoted and linked directly here
  • Objectives: any other pedagogical goals for the assignment, especially within the current curricular context
  • Activities : Processes: what teachers would call the actual lesson plan, now labeled for the types of learning processes they employ
  • Assessments : Outcomes: the types of assessments that will be employed in the lesson to measure learning outcomes
  • Pathways: the next steps to continue learning following the activities processes of the current element
  • Modes: the multi-literacy modes incorporated into the activities processes of the current element
  • Set Copyright: enables teachers to assign rights to their intellectual property; e.g., a Creative Commons license enables others to reuse and repurpose a learning element, while retaining credit for the original author(s)
  • Manage Files: a file manager that enables teachers to upload attachments for incorporation into a learning element via linking
  • Collaborators: a permissions manager that enables teachers to invite others via email to co-author, review, or copy edit a learning element
  • Show: enables authors and viewers to output a learning element either as a PDF ready for printing or as a web page for viewing in a browser
  • Supplemental Information (Optional): Purpose, Resources, Teaching Tips, Pre-required, Reflections

To add an attachment (such as a MS Word file):

1. While in edit mode, go to Manage Files manage files (left sidebar gray box menu — near the bottom).

2. Upload the file there, using the file browse box and upload button. When the file has uploaded successfully, the file manager will create a web address in a table for you to copy (via right mouse key option).

3. Return to the relevant activity and mark where you would like to create the hyperlink. Paste the URL there (via right mouse key option).

Note: Images are uploaded directly, by clicking on the picture icon just beneath the editor. You will need an image URL.

To invite a colleague to co-author or collaborate on a learning element:

1. Request that your co-author / collaborator establish a Learning by Design account.

2. After your co-author / collaborator has established his or her account, select the learning element on which he or she will serve as co-author or collaborator, and enter the “edit” mode.

3. Choose “Collaborators” from the left sidebar menu.

4. Enter your co-author’s or collaborator’s Learning by Design user name (if you know it) or e-mail address in the appropriate field. Select the role desired from the drop-down box menu (e.g., under “co-author,” author, rewriter, illustrator and under “collaborator,” referee and copy editor).

5. Select “Invite User.” Be sure to press the correct “Invite User” button for the field you originally selected (co-author or collaborator).

6. You will be able to see the invitations you have sent but which have not yet been accepted under “Outstanding Invitations” at the bottom of your screen.

To collaborate on a learning element:

When you have been invited by a colleague to collaborate on a learning element, you’ll first log in to the application. Next:

1. Select Mine from the gray-box menu (top left).

2. Select “All Collaborations” from the view menu (just below the gray-box menu on the left; the view menu appears in green; the other option that appears will be “Owned Elements”).

Note: In order to collaborate on a learning element, its author must have invited you via email from the application.

To adopt and adapt a learning element created by another user:

Any learning element for which the author(s) has set a Creative Commons copyright may be reused and revised in your own teaching, without requesting direct, separate permission from the author(s). To acknowledge the original author(s), just fill out Set Copyright on the revised version you’ve created (accessed in the main editing menu, on the left of the learning element editor), choosing the option: Creative Commons – revision of previous work and filling in the original author(s) name(s) in the field provided.

If you are a co-author or collaborator:

1. Log in to Learning by Design and select Mine from the gray-box menu near the top left.

2. Select either “own elements” or “all collaborations,” as appropriate.

3. Scroll to the learning element you would like to adopt and adapt. At the bottom of that element’s display summary, you will see a green menu, with “copy element” as the last option.

4. Select “copy element.” Open the learning element and revise as desired. Be sure to set the new copyright permissions to reflect your contribution and to acknowledge the original author(s).

If you are an unaffiliated user:

1) Open Learning by Design in two different windows.

2) Manually copy those portions you want to keep. Add new material, including a new title and cover image and new copyright permissions, to reflect your contribution and acknowledge the original author(s).

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