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Being Here (and There) For Your Students

As we continue to navigate through these times and remote learning now has a major presence in  Education, we've made a ton of changes to better support distance learning. Here are many of the updates we've made since March.
Since March, when Covid-19 pushed schools to adopt distance learning at a record pace, we’ve released several updates to improve this experience. Most recently, we added a new attendance type to track students who are present but attending virtually. 

For this week’s blog, we’d like to briefly remind schools of one of those earlier enhancements. If your school has changed your distance learning strategies since March, now is a great time to update your user profiles to ensure you’re getting the most value out of the online presence field.

Add an online presence
  1. From Core, select People finder.
  2. Enter and select the name of the individual you want to work with.
  3. Select Contact Card.
  4. Under Digital, select Edit and choose to update the Online presence information.
    • Use this field for personal websites, social media platforms, video conference, and more.
  5. Select a type such as Skype, Twitter, Zoom, Google Meet, a personal blog, etc.
    • Tip: To add types to the drop down menu, a platform manager should go to Core, select Settings, select General settings, select Table values, and then select to Edit the table for online presence.
  6. Then enter a corresponding URL to create a Link on the user's contact card.
    • For example, teachers can add a URL to their virtual classroom. When it’s time for a virtual class, attendees use the school directory to view the teacher’s contact card and select the link to enter the teacher’s virtual room (or waiting room).
    • If you don’t know a URL, but you do have a handle, user name, or screen name, enter that information into the link field. It'll appear on the user’s contact card as plain text instead of a hyperlink.
  1. Select Save.
School Directory
Students and parents can use a school Directory to view a teacher’s contact card, such as to view the teacher’s online presence information.

Control who can see or edit
A platform manager determines whether users with various roles can view and edit for their own online presence information. For example, you may want to enable staff to view and edit their own information but prevent students from making changes to their own records.

To do this, select Core, Security, Profile access, View/edit profile fields, and then choose a role from the drop-down menu. To affect all users, select the "all school" role. Next, select Edit and choose whether to enable users to view or edit the field. Save the changes. Repeat for these steps for other roles as needed.

Platform managers also determine whether online presence information from user profiles is visible by default to other members of the school community.

To do this, select Core, Security, Profile access, Profile publish access, and then choose a role from the drop-down menu. To affect all users, select the "all school" role. Next, determine the default publishing access for each combination of roles. For example, if you previously selected Student, you'll then select the roles that correspond to who should see a typical student's profile information. Save the changes. Repeat for these steps for other combinations of roles as needed.

Individuals can then overwrite some of these defaults to further limit which of their individual information is available to others in directories, rosters, and the contact card.  To do this, an individual should select their name from the top navigation menu, then select Settings, and finally Privacy.

User Lists
List managers can select to show online presence information as a column in User lists and can filter the list based on the online presence types your school configured. To go to a user’s online presence (such as to open their Zoom classroom), select the link from the list. (Note: Some online presence types may be plain text instead of clickable links).

Online presence information is also included in the results when platform managers export user data from Core, System tools, User export for use in third party spreadsheet applications (such as Microsoft Excel).

Additionally, online presence data is returned in the SKY API endpoint for
GET User Changed List.

Going Forward

How is your school using online presence this year? Have you updated your school handbook, or policies and procedures because of lessons learned since Covid-19 began? Which types of online presence do you track? What classroom management strategies are working best for your staff and students?  Let us know in the comments below or in the user community forum!

Thanks for stopping by this week, we hope this information proves helpful as we continue to adjust to this new way of life. Next week, we'll be exploring some of our integrations with Google and Microsoft. See you then!
Posted by Derek Nichols on Sep 15, 2020 9:00 AM America/New_York

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