For this installment of our Ask the Experts blog series, we’re reviewing the best practices for course requests in our Blackbaud Student Information SystemTM (formerly onRecord®) to help your school have a smooth registration rollout.
Let’s start with the basics of course request set up. The administrator performing these duties must be in the system as an Online Signup Manager (talk to your school's platform administrator if you need access) in order to navigate to Academics > Scheduling > Requests and schedules > Course request setup. Be sure to choose the appropriate filters at the top of the page for School Year, Group Type, and School Level.
You’ll also see Exceptions to Communicate and Policy on this page. These are optional; if you leave this as-is or make edits, it won’t affect the view of course requests. The Policy section will display to students when they are requesting courses as long as you set Displayed to Yes. The Exceptions to Communicate won’t display to constituents. This is a place where your school can define how to handle certain course requests anomalies.
The Term Settings section beneath Policy is what needs to be setup in order for students and parents to see the available course offerings. Under Term Settings, scroll to the grade level you want to open up course requests for and simply hover over any field to edit it.
If you’re not seeing the correct year from the School Year drop-down, you’ll want to make sure the upcoming year is published. To confirm this, navigate to: Core > Settings > School information > Years & Terms. From here, choose the upcoming year from the Select Year drop-down, click Edit and set Publish to Yes (don't forget to save!).
Once this year is published, and terms are added under Core > Settings > School information > Years & Terms, you will be able to view those added terms for the upcoming year under Course Request Setup and manually add in the correct dates and times requests should be seen.
A quick overview of the fields that display under Term Settings:
- Signup Begin and Signup End controls when students in the grade and their parents will be able to access available courses for registration;
- Recommend is optional, and is best used when Teachers, Advisors, or Online Signup Managers are going to make course recommendations for a student within the system;
- In the Approve column, you can set whether the Online Signup Manager or the student’s Advisor has to approve the request.
- We recommend that the Min Request (the smallest number of requests a student can make), the Max Request (the most request a student can make), and the Min Enroll (the minimum number of courses a student can be enrolled in) fields be completed to minimize administrative follow-up. If these are not filled in, we’ve found that this can prevent students from viewing course requests.
All fields automatically save, cutting the time it takes to complete this setup!
Viewing Course Requests
Now that we’ve completed the initial setup, we want to make sure the appropriate roles have access to view course requests. To check this, navigate to Core > Security > Roles, and perform the following:
- Click on Student under the Constituent sub-header
- Click Tasks
- Click Edit on the upper right side of the screen
- Confirm that Online Signup and the sub-tasks for Edit Requests (allows students to edit their own requests), Selection Order Save Parent/Student (necessary for parents to view the course requests), and View Requests (allows students to view and add requests) are enabled
- Repeat this process for the Parent role; Selection Order Save Parent/Student should be checked under both roles for parents and students to see requests
In order for Teachers and Advisors to recommend course requests, the task for Course Recommendations must be enabled for their roles under Core > Security > Roles.
Where does a user go to view course requests?
The path to view course requests varies per role:
- Students navigate to My Day > Course Requests;
- Parents navigate to the tab with their child’s name (or the Children tab if they have more than one child enrolled) > Course Requests;
- Online Signup Managers will navigate to Academics > Approval > Course Requests, where they can also approve requests if that feature was set up in our first step above;
- If an Online Signup Manager wants to view or manage individual course requests for a student, they’ll navigate to Academics > People Finder, search for a student, and click Course Requests
I hope you found this post helpful. If you have any how-to questions about the features mentioned in this article, please contact our Support team via phone, e-mail, or chat.
About the AuthorMore Content by Samantha Ravenelle