The Month in Review: April 2021 Feature Releases 7630

The Month in Review: April 2021 Feature Releases


As we continue our march towards summer, we’re now that much closer with May. However, before we really settle in to enjoy the warmer weather, let’s take one last look back at everything that arrived and changed for the Education management products for April 2021.

Goodbye April and Hello May! Hopefully, you received plenty of rain wherever you are so those May flowers can appear as the old slogan promises.

Just like the copious amounts of rain, April brought with it a ton of new updates for each of the products for Blackbaud Education management. So even though it may be May, let’s take one last look back at April to highlight everything that we released. Enjoy!

In April, the Academics team made it so teachers can wait until publishing to add skills to assignments through Competency Based Education. This allows teachers to create and save assignments before deciding on which skills to add and paves the way for future mastery improvements. Once a skill is added to a mastery assignment, the publish status can be changed from No to Assigned date or Now.

Previously, students would accidentally close out of their assessment when trying to close a photo album for the assessment because there was no clear distinction between the photo album and the web browser. We have changed how photos display, so now when students open a photo album in an Assessment it pops up in the middle of the web page with a margin around the pop up and a clear X to close the photo album.

Also released this month:
  • The Groups list will now display the Course code column by default, allowing you to easily see the course codes for groups.
  • A new column on the Student enrollment page allows the Scheduling Manager to see how many credits a student is attempting during the selected term.
This month in Core, we made numbers updates to the View Communications area. Specifically, distribution groups that users were in that the notification was sent to can now be seen from the Sent to column. Not only that, the Message body is also viewable from the Detail column for Inbox Messages.

We’ve also made it so platform managers can delete messages from the context menu under View Communications. A Deleted column in the list view also displays whether or not the message was deleted, the date and time when it was removed, and by whom.

This month, we added new security measures for users who don’t use BlackbaudID and instead rely on “legacy” username and passwords. New and stronger enforcement was turned on in April to ensure that legacy passwords are better protected and not as easy to guess. Users who didn’t meet those minimum requirements (minimum of 8 characters, including at least 1 number, etc) were prompted to reset them when logging in.

Enrollment management
Quality of life was the name of the game for the EMS team this month. Specifically, numerous updates were made to reporting and lists.
A new Statis Report Category was added this month. Missing phone number, missing email address, and missing address now appear in the Family/Student information category.

In terms of the Contract list, Re/enrollment managers now have a Student ID column they can use and the Enrollment deposit paid by column displays who paid the enrollment deposit.

With regards to the Candidate list, we’ve added a School level column for admissions managers and the Sibling is an Incoming Student field is now available to use as a column and filter.

Also this month:
  • Candidates and parents who are creating an account can now select their School level before the Grade level.
  • Admissions managers now have more information available to them from the event registration header. Specifically, we've added Entering year, Entering grade, Email, and Preferred Name.
  • Candidate decisions now trigger a notification to admissions managers when entered.
  • School forms managers can now use a column under Started that shows when at least one person has signed.
  • We've expanded the size of the modal window when composing an Official Note.
School website
For School website, we’ve added a profanity filter to places where a user can input data on a public form. Currently, this includes custom forms, new comment entries, giving forms, event registration forms, and the store checkout.

Also this month, we gave users in View Communications the ability to see the notification category from the details column.

Tuition management/SmartAid
This month for Tuition management (formerly Smart Tuition), the team added in a ton of fields for users creating custom reports when for family exports. Fields include:
  • Family create date
  • Family enrollment date
  • Mobile phone number
  • Number of emails sent to family
  • International phone number
  • Prior to debit status
  • Block ACH status
  • Bad address (yes, no, missing)
  • Follow up service emails (on, off)
  • Green invoice status (on, off)
  • Number of text messages sent to family (instead of calls)
  • Split family (yes, no)
  • Payer email
  • Email mirror setting
  • Username of family
  • Receive invoice through email setting
  • Number of unresolved notes.
The mobile version of the SmartAid parent site has received a bunch of updates this month. We’ve improved the user interface, added a dropdown menu to help navigation, and more.

In addition:
  • Once you select to run your budget, the Run budget button will be disabled and will say Running. When it is complete, you will receive a toast message that says Budget allocation complete.
  • We have updated the language on the Generate award letter pop up to say Locked budget instead of Finalized budget since budgets are now considered locked when ready for award letters to be sent.
Billing management
In April for Billing management, Payment status was added as a column and filter in the Recent payment tab. Payment status has three options, with each pulling directly from Blackbaud Merchant Services: Pending, Approved, and Failed. Payments with a Failed status have an explanation detailing why the payment failed (e.g., insufficient funds).

Everything else this month:
  • Billing clerks now see a prompt after selecting Generate charges that lists each fee included in the generate charges process.
  • A new indicator has been added to the Actions tab on the Billing management overview. The indicator displays the number of open Actions assigned to the Billing clerk accessing the page.
  • Enrollment deposits submitted on-premises are now editable. Billing clerks can adjust the First and Last name tied to these enrollment deposits. A message is also displayed, communicating that the enrollment deposit was submitted at school.
  • Billing clerks can now see the school year associated with financial aid records using the School year column.
  • Billing clerks can now refresh the data reported under Aging and Receivables on the Overview.
  • The Actions tab under Billing management has been relabeled as My actions.
  • Current balance is now a new column available on the Students list.
  • Billing clerks can now view payment processing statuses to determine if they failed or succeeded via the flyout panel under Recent payments.
If you want the full and complete details of everything we’ve added to the Education management products in February, make sure to visit our What’s New letter. Use the Recent option at the top of the page to view past and archived releases. Want to stay updated whenever we have a new release? Get notified via email by signing up for our mailing list here.

That’s going to do it for this week. Although we’re inching closer to the summer months, we have plenty more coming throughout the month of May, so stay tuned! Make sure to tune back in here next week as we’ll have another brand new topic for you. See you then!

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