In this article, we'll share everything you need to know about the new Scheduler and Custom Reminders features and how they contrast with the older method of setting start and due dates.
💡 Before we dive in, note that all the start dates and due dates you've set previously will work just as they did before. You don't need to update or change anything until you're ready to do so. If you are curious about the differences, read on. For a quick guide to using the new scheduler, see this article.
There are a lot of new possibilities to try out! Here are a few of the updates and suggestions for using them:
Help your learners plan for any time-based learning.
Previously, all due dates acted like ⏰ alarms: when coming due soon, they turned bright orange, then red, and then anyone who hadn't completed them got nagging emails. That's helpful when there's something important for your learners to turn in, but a little much when they only need to see when a Lesson or Steps ends as they plan their week.
With the new Scheduler, you can set an end date that acts as it would on a calendar, without flagging the Lesson or Step as due or overdue. For example, to indicate what time a live teaching session ends.
If learners must complete the Step on time, you can toggle on the "Mark as due" option, and the date will act just like the due dates described above.
Similarly, before this update, start dates always locked down the content of a Step behind a countdown. That's a helpful way to build anticipation and pace out learning in some cases. But in more uncomplicated cases like indicating when a weekly Lesson or an Attend Step starts, locking the content may be unhelpful.
So we've made locking the content optional as well: you can turn it on when you want to hide the content or leave it off – it's up to you.
Set start and end dates on Lessons
Before, scheduling dates on a Lesson was a shortcut for setting dates for every...single...Step. Setting a due date on a Lesson with five Steps generated five due dates.
Now, setting dates on a Lesson works like you'd expect it to. The dates still apply to the Steps within it, but without replicating the dates again and again.
💡 Tip: if you've set Lesson start or due dates before, that generated individual dates for each Step within it. In most cases, the respective step dates are no longer needed unless there is a unique date related only to a particular step.
Eliminate the Reminder email avalanche with Custom Reminders
Previously, setting a due date on a step meant that every learner who hadn't completed it automatically received a reminder email 3 hours before. Then, another email after the Step was overdue. There was no way to turn these nagging emails off or to customize the timing.
For courses with steps due every day or every week, that's a lot of reminders. We heard from teachers and exasperated learners that repetitive email reminders often became more annoying than helpful.
Now, with Custom Reminders, you can choose precisely when any email reminders get sent: you can set them to automatically send minutes, hours, or days before or after any date. Or, you can choose not to send any Reminders at all.
Before, every due date reminder had the same subject and body text. Not only was it less personal, but also so repetitive that it was easy for learners to learn to tune them out.
You can now add a personal touch to how you remind your learners of anything coming up on the schedule in three ways:
Create a Reminder for all your learners, or for just the ones who have or haven't completed a particular Lesson or Step.
Personalize the subject and message of each Reminder. For example, send a Reminder 2 days before to everyone with a subject like, "We're excited to start Lesson 2 next week!". Set up another to remind nudge learners who are slipping behind in a more personal way: "Can I help you catch up?"
You can set up more than one Reminder for any date. For example, you could schedule an email a few days before a new course starts with tips for preparing and another Reminder the day before for anyone who hasn't yet complete it.
If you have any questions or suggestions about the new Scheduler, we'd love to hear from you. Please let us know!