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PlusPortals Update: July 31, 2017

Greetings PlusPortals Administrator,

We are pleased to announce another update to the PlusPortals. This update contains several important enhancements and fixes:

  • Scheduling year students and parents can now access Course Request Forms in the PlusPortals.
  • Multiple files can now be added simultaneously in all areas of the PlusPortals.
  • E-Mails can now be forwarded.
  • Several visual and functional enhancements have been implemented.

The PlusPortals will be updated during the early morning (EDT), Monday, July 31st, 2017.

In addition to this update, the TeacherPlus Sync Manager and Sync Engine have been updated to versions 2.19.0 and 1.1.3.0, respectively.

Note: Hosted schools will be automatically updated to these versions during the early morning (EDT), Monday, July 31st, 2017. Non-hosted schools will be able to download the TeacherPlus Gradebook Service Pack on the Rediker Support Downloads Page.

If you have any questions related to this update, please e-mail portalsupport@rediker.com or call Tech Support at 800-882-2994.

TeacherPlus Sync Manager and Sync Engine Update

Sync Manager 2.19.0 / Sync Engine 1.1.3.0

Feature Enhancements

Scheduling Year Students and Parents Can Now Be Synced to the PlusPortals

The ­Send Scheduling Year Student Data setting has been added to the Send (Sync) Settings screen of the TeacherPlus Setup & Sync Sync Manager. When this setting is set to Yes, any students and parents that are new in the Scheduling Year of AdminPlus are synced to the PlusPortals. See PlusPortals Access for Scheduling Year Students and Parents at the bottom of these notes for details.

Portfolio Items Can Now Be Removed from the PlusPortals E-Portfolio

The Delete all the previously sent Portfolio Documents when ‘Sync: Complete’ option is used check box has been added to the Portfolio Items screen of the Teacher Plus Setup & Sync Manager. When this check box is selected, all existing documents in the E-Portfolio of the PlusPortals are deleted and replaced by the documents being synced.

PlusPortals Update

Feature Enhancements

Students and Parents from the Upcoming School Year Can Now Submit Course Requests from the PlusPortals

In previous years, the course request process for new students and parents (in the scheduling year) had to be carried out manually. Now, these students and parents can be provided with access to the Course Requests area of the PlusPortals. Providing new students with access to course requests, and receiving their completed course requests,  follow the same processes already used for current students and parents.

Note: Refer to PlusPortals Access for Scheduling Year Students and Parents for more details.

The Activation Status for Each User is Now Displayed in the Manage Accounts Areas

The Status column on each of the screens in the Manage Accounts area now displays the user’s activation status. Previously, the column displayed ACTIVE for all user accounts that were synced from AdminPlus.

User Activation Status

The following table defines each activation status:

User Activation Status

Status Definition
Active The account has been activated by the user.
Blank

The account has not been activated by the user.

  • This status is applied to all newly synced accounts and to accounts for which the password has been reset.
Scheduling

The user is associated only with the Scheduling Year.

In addition, the Activated Date column, which showed the date and time each user account was initially synced from AdminPlus, has been removed.

Multiple Files Can Now Be Added at Once in School Resources and Group and Class Files

When adding files to the following areas, users can select multiple items at once.

  • Communications → School Resources area of the PlusPortals Admin Site (as an Admin)
  • Links and Files box of the Group Page for a group (as a Group Head)
  • Files box of a teacher’s Class Page (as a Teacher)

When files are selected, a new screen appears, listing the selected file(s) with a Description box next to each File Name. Users can enter a description for each file, and then set the other applicable properties before adding them. The example shown below is from a teacher’s perspective as they add a file to the Files box of the Class Page for English 12.

Resource File Description

Teachers Can Now Copy Class Quizzes from Classes in the Current and Previous School Years

Teachers can create and post online quizzes for individual classes using the Class Quizzes box on the main page for the class. A new Quiz from library option has been added to the Add button in the Class Quizzes box. Using the Add → Quiz from library feature, teachers can copy Class Quizzes from any class in the current or previous school year.

To copy a quiz, do the following:

  1. In the Class Quizzes box of the main page for a class, click the Add button, and then select the Quiz from library option.

    Add Quizzes

  2. Click Previous year or Current year, and then select a class from the Class drop-down list.

    Select Quiz

  3. Click the quiz you would like to copy, then click Next.
  4. Enter the settings for the quiz, make any necessary changes, and then save the quiz.

Note:

This process copies all content and settings from the source quiz with the following exceptions:

  • The Due Date field defaults to blank.
  • The Visible to Parents and Students box defaults to unchecked.
  • The Add to Gradebook as Assignment box defaults to unchecked.

E-Mails Can Now Be Forwarded from the Inbox and Sent Items Folders

To forward an e-mail, click Forward Email Icon - Right Arrow. The forwarded e-mail is an exact copy of the original e-mail; however, the recipients of the original e-mail aren't visible in the forwarded copy. The e-mail standard “FW:” prefix is added to the e-mail subject by default.

Portal E-Mail Forwarding

Progress Reports Are Now Sorted by Marking Period

Prior to this update, when a teacher posted progress reports to the PlusPortals, the reports were sorted by month, then by report date. To make reports easier for parents and students to navigate, they are now sorted under the marking period from which they were posted.

Progress Report Marking Period Sort

Note: Currently, when multiple progress reports are posted within the same marking period, the newest report overwrites the previous report. In the near future, we will be providing a new option in the PlusPortals Admin Site, which will allow new reports to be appended to the students’ records, maintaining a history of progress reports for parents and students.

Several Visual and Functional Enhancements Have Been Implemented

  • Parents with one student attending the school are now automatically directed to that student’s landing page. The student landing page features all of the same information as the parent landing page. As the parent landing page was designed for parents with more than one student, it resulted in an unnecessary click and additional loading time for parents with only one student.
  • The main navigation menu for students, parents, and teachers is now left-aligned.
  • The main navigation menu button, which appears in place of the normal menu on smaller screens, is now left-aligned. In addition, the menu that appears when this button is clicked has been visually improved and no longer pushes the page content down. Left Aligned Menu Button

  • Teachers’ pictures and notification badges now remain right-aligned. Their class selection drop-down is now left-aligned and contained within the colored bar above the class navigation menu.

    Teacher Picture and Class Selection Alignment

  • The visual design of the class selection drop-down for teachers has been improved.
  • Teachers stay on the current page when switching classes. Prior to this update, the teacher was automatically navigated to the main page for the new class.
  • The banner area of the PlusPortals Admin Site now displays the school name.
  • The responsiveness of several screens was improved for iPad users viewing the PlusPortals in Portrait orientation.
  • The unused whitespace at the bottom of each page has been removed.

Feature Fixes

  • The PlusPortals calendar now properly reflects changes made to individual occurrences of recurring events from the Google Calendar Feed.
  • Group Heads can now delete members from groups if the option is enabled for the group.

    Previously, while Group Heads were able to add new members, they were unable to delete them.

  • The Send button in the e-mail feature is now disabled after being clicked.

    Prior to this update, the button was still active for a short duration after being clicked. This led to instances in which users clicked the button multiple times, resulting in the e-mail’s recipients receiving multiple copies of the e-mail.

  • Semester and Final Grades from TeacherPlus Gradebook now always appear in the PlusPortals, unless the teacher has marked the column as “private” or the option to display them is disabled in the PlusPortals Admin Site.
  • Files (School Resources) posted on the PlusPortals Login Page can now be accessed by all users.

    Previously, files were inaccessible to users who were locked out of the PlusPortals if they attempted to log in before accessing the files.

  • Event times are now displayed properly for calendar events on the PlusPortals Login Page.
  • The PlusPortals now display properly in Landscape orientation on iPads running iOS 10.2.

    Previously, the content of the PlusPortals was pushed to the left, using only half of the available screen space.

 

Important Information: Passwords

Due to our ongoing commitment to users' privacy and security, and based on best practices for password management of online accounts, we will be making all users’ passwords invisible on the PlusPortals in our next update. Users typically use the same password for many online accounts. In order to enhance security and data privacy for your school, these passwords will be hidden.

Users’ passwords were initially made accessible in the PlusPortals to provide you with access to user accounts for assistance. However, the Login As feature, accessed by clicking Login As Icon in the Manage Accounts area, was added later. This feature provides the same ability without handling a user's password. You will still be able to gain access to a user’s account by clicking Login As Icon.

Additional Notes

  • This change will not affect your ability to see users’ temporary passwords (though you will still be able to hide these passwords).
  • You will still be able to reset users’ passwords for them by clicking  Reset Password Icon. When clicked, an e-mail will be sent to the user, along with login instructions. This will also return the password to “temporary” status, allowing you to see it so that you can give it to the user.
  • Your ability to e-mail and print login details for users will not be affected.

    Note: If you have created an e-mail template that uses the [user.password] macro, only temporary passwords will be displayed in e-mails and printouts. Our default e-mail template includes an encrypted activation link (the [user.activate-url] macro). When clicked, this link allows users to enter their username and their desired password to activate their account.

  • Individual users will still be able to reset their own passwords by using the Can’t access your account? button on your PlusPortals login screen.

PlusPortals Access for Scheduling Year Students and Parents

You can now provide scheduling year students and parents with access to the PlusPortals in just a few steps.

Important: These steps must be performed after the new school year has been created and set as the Scheduling Year (see our New Year Process guide). This feature requires Sync Manager version 2.19.0 and Sync Engine version 1.1.3.0.

  1. In AdminPlus, click Tools → TeacherPlus Setup & Sync Manger.
  2. Click Send (Sync) Settings.
  3. Click the Send Scheduling Year Student Data option to change it to Yes.
  4. Click Done.

Once you complete these steps, a PlusPortals sync is initiated. When the sync is completed, any students that are new in the Scheduling Year (students that have an “E” code on Day 0 of the AdminPlus Calendar) are added to the PlusPortals and appear in the Manage Accounts → Students area. In addition, any parents associated with these students appear in the Manage Accounts → Parents area.

Note:

The user accounts for Scheduling Year students and parents follow the same creation process as those for current year students and parents. This includes the following requirements:

  • Students must have an e-mail address or a username in the Demographics field you have set to be used for their PlusPortals usernames.
  • Parents must have an e-mail address in the Primary E-Mail field, and the Enable Parent Portal Access box must be selected in the Contact Database.

These students and parents are identified in all areas of the PlusPortals Admin Site with the word “Scheduling” in the Status column. This can be used to filter user lists to show new students and parents as a group. Once you've applied this filter you can send credentials to them. This is also useful for schools that create specific course request forms for new/transfer students.

These students and parents have access only to the Course Requests area of the PlusPortals. They can submit requests and check on the status of their forms. In a future update, they will be provided with the ability to access e-mail, the calendar, school announcements, and more.