Guide: 3 Components of a Quality Public Site in Atlas

3 Components of a Quality Public Site in Atlas

Utilizing a Public Site in Atlas is a feature that schools access to meet a variety of needs, including

  • providing transparency to the broader community
  • sharing critical course information with parents and students
  • meeting mandates from accreditation groups, outside organizations or states
  • recruiting for teachers and students
  • demonstrating pride in their curriculum and the desire to share it out

There are many components to consider when determining how to make the site useful for your target audiences as well as determining which information to make public and which pieces should remain private for use within the school. As you plan and design the sharing of your curriculum, consider these three key components to the creation of a quality public site in Atlas.

1. The Welcome Page

The first consideration for schools to make in the construction of their public site is their welcome page. As the first interaction the public will have with the site, it is crucial that it clearly directs stakeholders to the information they are looking for.

Start your planning by defining your audience. Is this site designed to share your curriculum and other information with parents, the community at large, accreditation or state agencies, or some combination of these? Determining who will be using your site is the first step in ensuring that you include the information most relevant to them as well as facilitating access to the information the most appropriately.

Once you have determined the audience of your site, consider the message you want to communicate and how to articulate it the most effectively. Address in a statement on your welcome page why you have a documented curriculum and how it is used by the school or district. This statement should also include a rationale for why you are opening up your curriculum and who the intended audience of this platform is. 

Included with these basic components should be the contact information of relevant leaders or coordinators who stakeholders should refer to with questions or concerns.

Lastly, schools should consider accessibility in the design of their welcome page. In both of these examples, schools have included some basic instructions for navigating the site or links to instructional videos. The school below has also opted to include a link to translate the curriculum into a different language.

2. Course Information

Under the 🌐 All Curriculum tab of your internal, private Atlas site, you will find links to Browse, Adopted Standards, and References. When customizing your public site, you have the ability to customize this tab to include a variety of different collections of information for your stakeholders. Schools should also consider how much detail about each course they would like to share, including course titles and teacher information. Here are three of the most common ways that schools display their course information. Public Site Course Information 1 300x300 1

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By including a Browse tab, schools allow stakeholders to explore their curriculum by using filters. Schools can decide whether to share all of the entire curriculum map, unit calendar, or course descriptions when viewers select a course and open it. Schools can also determine if they would like to make the attachments included in their unit plans public or to keep them as exclusively internal documents for teacher reference.

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Many schools opt to include a bank of course descriptions in their public site. When designing curriculum, Atlas provides a field for a course description for every course and unit. Users can use the same filtering features to explore grade levels and content areas and read the descriptions of each course without the details of the unit calendar or curriculum map.

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Another option schools may choose to include their adopted standards as a feature of their public sites. This will provide a set of dropdown menus for users. They will be able to select the content area standard set, then narrow to a specified grade level or band, and if the standard set is broken down by strand, a dropdown menu including these will appear as well.

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Schools may also consider including a 📊 Reports tab to their public site, giving access to some or all of the reporting features to help stakeholders review their curriculum through a variety of filters and data representations. This feature may be especially useful if one of your target audiences is an accreditation body who would need to review specific groups of curriculum maps or certain components across multiple courses. 

3. Leveraging of Atlas Features

As your teams work in Atlas behind the scenes, they should do so with the public site in mind. As courses and units are developed, utilize the draft feature to keep units hidden from the public site until they are completed and approved. 6

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8 Designers should also consider utilizing the formatting features in their curriculum mapping to help guide their stakeholders, such as color coding units of focus and/or activating the Standards Status Management feature to highlight focused standards in units

 

Schools should also consider their individual unit templates and what components of those are important to share on the public site. Each unit template is customized to meet the individual needs of the school, and can be customized even further to share out only key components with the public. For example, if it is important to share the adopted standards of a course and the common assessments targeting those standards, but the remaining components of the lesson aren’t necessary for the target audience, those can remain hidden across the curriculum published to the public site.

Public Sites Leveraging Features e1650324175823 1024x834 1 Lastly, If there is more than one map per course, schools should determine which version should be shared. If there are multiple levels or versions of a single course map available on the public site for outside users, there may be confusion about which is the actual map being taught in a classroom. If there are multiple maps for a course because there are multiple teachers with unique components that you would like made public, consider ensuring that there is distinctive identifying information in the course description or in including teacher information.
As you and your team consider all of these components, share your needs and goals with your account manager. Together, we can brainstorm and create a public site that is the most appropriate for your school and your unique public audience.