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Linking Sections with Cross-Listing

It is possible to both cross-list sections and link sections in Schoology. However, it is important to understand the difference between the two features before moving ahead with either option to avoid accidentally deleting grades or materials. Always reach out to your Schoology representative to consult on how to accomplish your organization's specific needs.

It is strongly recommended to set up cross-listing and link sections before school has begun to prevent the loss of course content, grades, and enrollment data. Contact your Schoology representative to determine if cross-listing and section-linking accomplish your goals.

What is the difference between Cross-Listing and Section Linking?

Section-Linking combines the materials for multiple sections of students into what appears to be one section in Schoology. This allows you to create an assignment once, and have it be automatically copied to all of the linked sections upon creation. Linked sections need to be part of the same course within your SIS. This is enabled via a permission at the system level, which then allows individual instructors who are course admins to link their sections together in Schoology.

Cross-Listing combines the enrollments of two separate sections (and potentially two separate courses) in your SIS into what appears to be one section in Schoology. This tool is intended for situations in which one section of students in Schoology may need to be represented by multiple, separate sections within a Student Information System for recording purposes. Only the System Admin can cross-list sections.

If you want to cross-list sections and link sections, we strongly recommend cross-listing the sections first. You should always consult your Schoology representative before cross-listing.

When Should I Use Section Linking and Cross-Listing Together?

For the purpose of explaining how these two features would be used together, consider the following scenario:

  • A high school teacher, Mr. Wilson, teaches two periods of 9th grade Geometry. Those periods are denoted by "B block" and "E Block" on the schedule.
  • The two periods have completely separate enrollments, but he teaches the same exact material to two different groups of students every day for the whole marking period.
  • The two periods are listed under the same course and same course code in your SIS, but have different section codes.
  • There are three 8th graders who join his E block section of 9th grade Geometry because they are advanced. These three 8th graders are listed in and report their grades to the Middle School. Therefore, these three 8th graders are listed in a completely different course and section that is associated with the Middle School in the SIS.

The solution here would be to cross-list the 8th graders' section(s) into the 9th grade E block section. The 9th Grade E block Geometry section would be the target section. The section(s) in which the 8th graders are enrolled in the SIS are the cross-listed section(s). The System Administrator, or the person who manages Schoology enrollments, might handle the cross-listing of these sections.

Then, Mr. Wilson could link his two periods - B block and E block - together in Schoology. Since he teaches the same material to both periods, linking his sections together would allow him to create materials for both sections at once. The enrollments and gradebooks for each of these periods would remain separate.

Cross-Listing Linked Sections

Before proceeding with the explanation of how and when you can use both cross-listing and section linking, it important that you understand the terminology for each.

Section Linking

Master Section: This is the section where you create all of your material, and it will be automatically duplicated and assigned to the students enrolled in the child sections. When you are linking your sections, click the gear icon to the right of the section you would like to consider the master section in order to link child sections to it. The master section will also have a set of students enrolled in it.

Child Section: This section is linked to the master section. You choose the child sections you would like to link to the master section in the checkbox screenshot above.

Conditions for Section Linking

In order to link your sections:

  • The sections must be within the same Course and therefore share the same course code
  • The sections must be associated with the same grading period.
  • Enrollment must be unique across the linked sections. There cannot be any overlap in the students.
  • The sections must have the same Course Admin(s).


Cross-listed section: The section that will be merged into the target section,. The course instructor and students will not see the course associated with this section when they log into Schoology - it will appear only as the target section. If you import your cross-listing file after you have created materials and given grades, all materials and grades in the cross-listed section will not be retained. However, if your school uses an SIS with automatic grade passback, the grades will pass back to the separate sections in your SIS.

Target section: The section that will ultimately exist and be visible in Schoology. If you import your cross-listing file after you have created materials and given grades, all materials and grades in the target section will be retained.

Cross-Listing Linked Sections

Consider the following recommendations when deciding whether and how to use these two features together.

If you Cross-List First:

  • The recommended workflow is to first cross-list sections, and then make the target section the master section when linking sections.
  • The target section can also be the child section of other, non-cross-listed sections during linking.

If you link sections first, and then cross-list:

Note that this is not recommended.

  • If you provision your courses and link sections first, the master section of your linked section can only be a target section in your cross-listing file. The master section cannot be a cross-listed section.
  • If you provision your courses and link sections first, the child section(s) of linked sections can be listed as a target section or as a cross-listed section in your cross-listing. However, note that if you import your cross-listing file after you have created materials and given grades, all materials and grades in the cross-listed section will not be retained. This means that if the child section is the cross-listed section, the grades of the students who are not enrolled in the target section will not be retained.
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