We stayed up late last night to push out what's probably the biggest one-time update we've ever released. We've been previewing this release for a few weeks—check out our posts on the Profile, Communications, and the Activity Feed—but there was a lot more stuff we didn't mention ahead of time...
...like Google Apps integration. If your school uses Google Apps, Populi's brand-new Single Sign-on capability will let you log right into your school's Google Mail and Calendar accounts right from Populi.
And iTunes U integration. Link to your college's iTunes U site from Populi, and even link your courses directly to their own content.
Besides Google Apps integration, we released a few updates to Email. Giving someone an email address when you add them as a user is now optional, and new visibility settings let you plug emails right into the Activity Feed (or keep them private).
Academics got some love, too: Custom Transcript Layouts let you use a custom Page Layout (see above) for your Official Transcripts. Contact Populi support to get started. The new Schedule view shows you the Term's master course schedule in a week-view Calendar. This replaces the slow, boggy Enrollment report (that's now an export option in the Students Table). And we've simplified how you add Grade, Transcript, and Financial Locks on student profiles.
In Admissions, the new My Prospects view lets Admissions Staff keep track of specific Prospective students. The Activity Feed and new Communications features will also enhance Populi Admissions.
Courses have some new features. In addition to iTunes U integration, we updated Forums to included nested replies and added a new Teaching Assistant user role. A few new things now make some previously pesky tasks a lot easier on course instructors. For instance, you no longer need to unfinalize a course to enter grades for an incomplete student. You can now reset tests for students who need to re-take them or missed them due to illness, etc. And, in the midst of fixing an Internet Explorer bug, we updated the text editor in Lessons; it does a much better job of just about everything than the previous editor.
After the jump, there's more detail about what's new with Profiles and Communications. And all the details are available for our users to read about in our help desk.
People and Profiles
We gave the Profile a complete overhaul... new navigation, improved presentation of information, social networking, and lots of other things.
Overall: Tab navigation, accessible via top-level navigation (alongside Home, Files, etc.), improved presentation and handling of Roles and Tags, Utility button for exports (like ID Card, Transcript, etc.).
Activity Feed: Shows Scheduled Communications, Notes, Sent Emails, and person-specific To-Dos.
Bulletin Board: Upgraded to become a light social networking feed. Post and leave comments on others' bulletins; follow people and have them follow you.
Info: Contact info, basic information (gender, race, etc.), and relationships.
Faculty: Instructor Profiles (Faculty and Teaching Assistant) get course histories and some basic course stats.
Student: Complete student academic histories, including Transcript, Degree Audit, Course Mapping (GPA by Program); courses, degrees, student info, awards, and discipline.
Registration: We moved the Registration interface to a student Profile tab; we also simplified Registration Locks.
Admissions: We moved the Admissions interface to a tab; it works more or less the same. Don't forget that the Activity Feed was designed to help Admissions staff with Prospects.
Advisor: The Advisor interface is now a tab on Advisor profiles.
Financial: Three tabs: Dashboard (formerly Current), By Term, and History, which shows a filter-able list of all of the student's past transactions. Now you can pick and choose which pending charges to invoice, plus some other minor improvements and bugfixes. Also, a new Financial Lock.
We split out Communications from Admin and gave it its own tab. Now mailing lists and templates are all found in Communications... in addition to a few new things.
Communication Plans: Structure your correspondence with anyone in the system (we had Prospects in mind, but you can do this for Donors, current students... anyone, really) by gathering Email, Printed Letter, and To-Do templates into Communication Plans. You create them in Communications and add them to people in the Activity Feed.
Mailing Lists have been improved, and now feature a History which shows what you've sent them and when (and for Emails, how many people opened it). You can also send Printed Letters to your mailing lists. Quick Lists work the same, but are now called One-time Lists.
Templates: Improved templates for Email, and new Printed Letter and To-do templates.
Print Queue: A filter-able list of all pending print jobs, plus reprint options for past jobs, and envelope and mailing-label printing.
Page Layouts: Customize your Printed Letters with your own Page Layouts. They work with Open Documents (which work with MS Word and Open Office), so you can make your Populi-produced printed materials look however you want them to.