Populi

Coming soon: Online attendance tracking and reporting

Coming soon to online courses: automatic attendance tracking. It'll save your faculty a lot of time and will make for more accurate attendance records for your online courses.

Active participation interface

The current attendance workflow for online courses looks like this: Courses are given a single, weekly attendance meeting time. Then, once a week, the course faculty reviews the previous week's student activity—discussion posts, lesson progress, assignment submissions, and so on—and marks student attendance for the week based on that activity (or lack thereof). The attendance stats are then pushed to the various reports in Populi, including the SAP report in Financial Aid, where that weekly date supplies the all-important date of last attendance.

With the new features, all you need to do is set a course to use an online delivery method (you can use Populi's built-in Online method or a custom method you designate as such). When you do that, Populi will automatically record certain Federally-approved student activities (submitting assignments, starting or posting in discussions, taking tests) as "participation". In turn, participation stats are included in the new Online Attendance report in Academics, the Data Slicer, and the SAP report in Financial Aid—where participation is used to determine a student's date of last attendance.

Populi will do all this whenever you use an online delivery method, whether at the beginning of the term or even later on. In the latter case, Populi will backfill participation data based on the records it already keeps of student activity. Of course, faculty will also be able to manually add participation records if need be. Additionally, mixed campus/online courses will include both attendance options—the regular meeting times for classroom events as well as the participation records that comprise online attendance.

Less work and better record-keeping: we think you'll like it! We hope to have online attendance tracking in your hands in the near future—make sure to follow our Release Notes to see when it's live!

Attendance beacons in Populi's mobile apps

Populi's mobile apps for iOS and Android have a really cool feature we want you to know about: attendance beacons! Here's how they work...

When class starts, the professor launches the app to set an attendance beacon for that particular meeting. The beacon uses the phone's Bluetooth radio to send out a unique code to nearby devices running the app.

 

When students arrive in class and fire up the app within range of the beacon, they'll see a check-in button on their dashboard. When they tap the button, the beacon notes what time the student checked in and sets them to present, tardy, or absent depending on their arrival time.

If the professor needs to call roll for students who didn't check in, she can also record attendance using one of the other options in the app—they're super-simple and the record automatically pushes right to your school's Populi database.

Attendance beacons in Populi's mobile apps free up class time, do away with busywork, and help make for more accurate record-keeping.

Step-by-step instructions for faculty are here, and the student guide is here.

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2018 From Populi!

Merry Christmas From Populi

From everyone here to all of you who made 2017 a great year to work at Populi, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Cross listing and other academics updates

The Populi developers have been cranking out new academics features at a steady clip. Here's a look at some of what's new:

Cross Listing

You can now cross-list courses at the course instance level. After adding a course to an academic term, you can then cross-list it with other courses right on the Info view. Cross-listed courses let you set up assignments for students in one course or the other; otherwise, they share all course content, meeting times, faculty, and so on.

Registration lottery

The new advanced options for online enrollment let you introduce a delay/lottery for student registrations. You can set all registrations to process at a certain date and time, and randomize submitted registrations so that the earlier requests aren't prioritized over the later ones.

Custom Student ID numbers

You can now customize the Student ID numbers automatically-generated by Populi when you create new students. You can include variables for last name, month/day/year, random numbers, and sequential number counters. If you want to set that up for your school, start by reading this article.

Release notes

This is as good a time as any to remind you to check out our weekly Release Notes, published every Friday in the Knowledge Base. If you like, you can also subscribe to them—just click the Follow button and choose whether you'd like to receive email about New Articles or New Articles and Comments.

Email dropboxing

Email dropboxing lets Staff and Faculty users attach emails sent from outside Populi to a person's Activity Feed. It's been part of Populi since Presidents' Day, 2012, and we're soon to release an update that will introduce a few handy front-end and back-end improvements.

Here's a look at dropboxing from stem to stern—how to use it and how it will work after the update.

Get your dropbox address

To start using your dropbox, go to your personal Populi settings. Generate your dropbox address and create a contact for it in your non-Populi email program. That's it!

Oh, and make sure to keep your dropbox address to yourself—there's no need for anyone else to know it...

BCC and forward emails to your dropbox

To use your dropbox, just BCC it when you send an email from an address listed in your Populi contact information. Or, if you receive an email you can just forward it to your dropbox. As long as you send it to email addresses listed for people in Populi...

  • When you BCC an email, the message will attach to the activity feeds for anyone with email addresses that are in the To and CC fields.
  • When you forward a message, it will attach to the activity feed of the person who sent it to you. If you forward a message you previously sent, it will go to the activity feeds of the people to whom you earlier sent it.

New stuff and other details
  • Emails on activity feeds will include any reply chains—just click read more to see them.
  • If multiple people have an email address, Populi will pick someone to whom to attach it. You'll also get an email telling you who else could have had it attached together with links to profiles to fix any aberrant contact info.
  • If the email addresses aren't in Populi, then you'll get an email telling you so.
  • Have a look in the Populi Knowledge Base for full details about dropboxing.
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