Updated: Apr 12, 2018

The Short Version

A unit, a pathway, a module. A playlist by any other name would still be a set of organized learning experiences in Empower. Playlist can help organize your instruction for your own purposes, for delivery to students and they get pretty fancy when we start using them as courses and to help us manage differentiated learning. Buckle in!

The Full Version

The first thing to do is give your playlist a title and an image. Until you give it a title, Empower is not saving it. Once it has a title, it is auto-saving and you will be able to find it again later if you accidentally leave. There is no need to save your playlist as you work on it.

Next, you will want to populate the timeline with some modules. Drag them from the toolbar on the left and drop them where you want them on the timeline.

You can always rearrange tiles by dragging and dropping them.

To remove them, click the symbol on the tile and then the trash can.

Bubble Types

Let's look briefly at each of the bubble types. If you'd like a more comprehensive look at any of them, look for resources specific to each one.

Big Idea

If the Playlist is a book, the big idea is the jacket. It contains questions to help inform learners and other instructors what the purpose and scope of your playlist is.

The Big Idea also lets you define specifically which Learning Targets you'll be

covering. You can add them by hitting the + button.

Besides being informative, aligning your playlist to Learning Targets let you set this playlist as a Gradebook Playlist. Find that drop down also in the Big Idea. Empower will now provide you with a Gradebook of the same name on your scoring tools to match your Playlist.

For admins on the site it has some other functionality which we will discuss in a different place.


Activities may be something students do in Empower, or they may represent work done in other tools or with paper and pencil, etc..

Use them to deliver resources and instructions to students. Each activity will be aligned to one or more learning targets itself, so if you've got a gradebook to match your playlist, the activities you create here, will be waiting to be scored on your Evidence Gradebook back on the Scoring Tab.


Create assessments which students will take via Empower. There are several question types and lots of other options like when students can access quizzes and for how long. Objective question types (true/false, fill in the blank etc.) can be scored by Empower and, based on how you set things up, the scores can go right into your gradebook. Nice.


Create some hierarchy and structure on your playlist. Sub-playlists are folders basically. Learners can drill into them and find activities, quizzes etc in there.

  • Pro Tip: Be careful not to use too many sub-playlists within sub-playlists. It may make sense to you, the creator, but students will find it labyrinthine. Try to avoid anything more than 3 layers deep for sure.

Voice & Choice

This is a sub-playlist with a twist. Include various activities and set how many learners need to complete to complete the Voice & Choice Module.

Create items for different learning styles and let students demonstrate their proficiency in their own way.


Want to put a video or other resource in front of users, but don't need to score it or break it up into steps etc.? Then use the resource bubble.

Culminating Application

This bubble will prompt you to include either an activity or a quiz. Its functionality is the same as whichever of those you choose, but it gives a signal to everyone that this is the final exam or the big project.

Sharing, Co-Creating & Assigning

Now that the playlist is ready to leave the nest, we turn our attention to the blue buttons in the upper right-hand corner.

Who can access?

In the Share settings you can set who can access this playlist in order to assign it. This will make it findable when they search for resources. Be careful not to clutter the database if your playlist isn't really something anyone else will find valuable. Also, be aware that you don't want students to be able to access things like assessments most of the time.

You can keep it private, share it with only teachers, or share it with anyone including learners and guardians.

These people will not be able to edit your playlist, but they will be able to make a copy of their own to edit.

Who can edit?

If you want to grant a specific user edit rights, you can begin typing their first or last name into the Add people box and then select them from the options that appear.

To remove their rights, simply click the red x next to their name.

Assign Orignal

Keeps you in sync with the original author(s) changes. When changes are made by the author(s), they will immediately show up in your class as well.

Assign a Copy

Will create a copy for you to change as you desire. Your changes will NOT modify the original. If changes are made to the original it will not affect your copy.

Click the group(s) you want to assign...

Here you see a list of all of your classes and groups. Simply click on any of them and this will be assigned to that class/group with the assign and due dates you have selected.

To unassign it from any of them, click the x next to their name.

Grouping & UnGrouping

As students progress through your playlist, Empower will keep you up to the minute with a tally of how many students are working where. Click on that number to find out exactly which learners are presently on that tile.

If you'd like to cut out the noise, click the Show Groupings button and Empower will show only tiles which students are working on. These are your groups!


A number in blue like this is this playlists's quick access ID. When users are searching, they have an option to search using this number. This will take them straight to the specific resource so there's no confusion.

Now get out there and build some great playlists!

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