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PlusPortals Update: February 1, 2018

We are pleased to announce another update to the PlusPortals. This update contains a large number of important enhancements and feature fixes, including the following highlights:

  • The Parent, Student, and Teacher Section Menus are now more user-friendly and adaptive for Android/iPad tablets.
  • The PlusPortals Calendar is now easier to manage and loads faster.
  • The Class Summary for a class can now be viewed as a full page.
  • Multiple groups can be imported simultaneously from the previous year.
  • Progress Reports can now be appended to students’ records to show historical reports.
  • Course Descriptions can now be displayed instead of Course Names.
  • Ability to easily e-mail and print credentials for new users.
  • The ability to batch approve course requests on the Review Requests screen of the Course Requests feature has been restored.
  • Generating Course Request Exports will no longer cause errors for schools with a large amount of course request data.
  • Group Heads of groups created for co-teaching are now able to post Homework/Assignments for the teacher.
  • The Count in Averages setting for Homework/Assignments and Quizzes created in the PlusPortals will now always adhere to the settings in the TeacherPlus Management Site.

The PlusPortals will be updated during the early morning (EDT), February 1, 2018. If you have any questions related to this update, please e-mail portalsupport@rediker.com or call Tech Support at 800-882-2994.

Table of Contents

Important Information: Passwords

Due to our ongoing commitment to privacy and security, and based on best practices for online accounts containing private information, all users’ passwords are now hidden in the PlusPortals. People typically use the same password for many online accounts. To avoid any liability issues for schools and for Rediker Software, these passwords will be now be hidden.

Users’ passwords were initially made accessible in the PlusPortals in order to provide administrators with access to the users’ accounts for assistance. However, the Login As feature (accessed using the  button) in the Manage Accounts area was added later, providing the same ability. Administrators will still be able to gain access to a user’s account using this feature.

Additional Notes

  • This change will not affect your ability to see users’ temporary passwords (though you can optionally hide these passwords, as well).
  • You will still be able to reset users’ passwords for them using the  icon. When clicked, an e-mail will automatically be sent to the user, with instructions on how to log in. This will also return the password to “temporary” status, allowing you to see it.
  • 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). This link allows users to simply click, 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.

Feature Enhancements

The Parent, Student, and Teacher Section Menus are now more user-friendly and adaptive for Android/iPad tablets

The Section Menu is the collection of tabs on which parents, students, and teachers navigate their classroom and school content. Several visual and functional changes have been made to these menus to provide a more intuitive and user-friendly experience. In addition, the changes included are designed to make the menu more adaptive for Android/iPad tablets, particularly in Portrait orientation.

Refer to Parent/Student Section Menu Improvements and Teacher Section Menu Improvements for more details.

The PlusPortals Calendar is now easier to manage and loads faster

New functionality has been implemented in the PlusPortals Calendar. Users can now interact with events directly on the calendar grid:

  • Double-click on an existing event to edit it.
  • Double-click in an empty day or time slot to add a new event.
  • Drag and drop events to different days or time slots.*
  • Click and hold on an event’s border and stretch or reduce it to change its duration.*

    Note: The direction in which an event can be stretched is dependent upon the view being accessed – Month, Week, and Day.

  • Click the X button on an event to delete it.
  • Click the Export to PDF button to export the current calendar view to PDF.

    Note: This button is available on the Day, Week, and Agenda views, only.

  • Click the Full Day and Business Hours buttons to toggle the view between them.

    Note:The Business Hours option shows the span of hours between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm.

* Recurring Events cannot be edited using this method. To edit a recurring event, double-click on any event and in the series and indicate whether the changes are intended to affect that individual occurrence or the entire series.

In addition to the above functionality, it is now possible to edit the details of individual occurrences of recurring events. Once edited, the individual occurrence will be detached from the rest of the series to ensure that future series-based edits do not overwrite any changes previously made to individual occurrences.

Note: This new functionality for editing events does not apply to events feeding from Google Calendar, as our application is not authorized to write changes back to the Google Calendar. Any edits to Google Calendar events must continue to be made within the Google account from which the calendar is feeding.

Character limits have been increased for communications, calendar events, and quizzes

To allow more meaningful information to be shared, the character limits for these items have been increased as follows:

  Title Description
Announcements, Notifications, and Alerts 1,000 2,500
Calendar Events 250 1,000
Quizzes 100 1,000

Note: In addition, the character limits are now displayed under each field.

The Course Description from AdminPlus can now be displayed in the PlusPortals

A new Display Course Descriptions instead of Course Names option has been added to Section Visibility section of the Permissions → Summary area in the PlusPortals Admin Site. While the Course Name field in AdminPlus is limited to 10 characters, the Course Description field allows up to 40. This allows schools the option to provide a much more meaningful name for the course.

Course Description Visibility

This new option will be unchecked by default. When checked, the name that displays for an individual class to teachers, parents, and students in the PlusPortals will be based on the following hierarchy, depending on when there is an entry in the field:

  1. Display Name for Parent/Student (set in PlusPortals): If an admin or the teacher has entered a name in the Display Name for Parent/ Student field for the class, this entry will be shown. Otherwise, the Course Description will be shown.
  2. Course Description (from AdminPlus): If the course has an entry in the Course Description field in AdminPlus, this entry will be shown. Otherwise, the Course Name will be shown.
  3. Course Name (from AdminPlus): The entry in the Course Name field will be shown.

The Class Summary for a class can now be viewed as a full page

The Class Summary feature is a tool for teachers to create basic web-page-style content for parents and students, including text, pictures, tables, and embedded YouTube videos. Prior to this update, teachers, parents, and students could view this content only in a small scrolling box. A new full-page view option has been added, which provides teachers, parents, and students with the option to see the content in a web-page-style view. In addition, the size of the Class Summary box on the teacher’s Overview tab has been increased to the same size as the students’ and parents’ Class Summary box.

To see the Class Summary in full-page view, teachers, parents, and students can click the button in the upper-right corner of the box:

Class Summary Full View

The full-page view will appear, on which the entire content of the Class Summary box will display, regardless of the length of the content.

Class Summary Full View

Progress Reports can now be appended to students’ records to show historical reports

The Progress Report Settings option in the Progress Box, Scores, and Progress Reports Settings for Parents and Students section of the Permissions → Summary area has been expanded. Prior to this update, this option allowed schools to either show or not show Progress Reports posted from TeacherPlus Gradebook on the Progress Reports tab of the PlusPortals. Two new options have been added:

  • Show only the newest reports: When selected, only the most recent Progress Report for each class (per marking period) will be shown to students, parents, and teachers. This option is the default setting.
  • Show all reports: When selected, a history of all Progress Reports will be shown to parents, students, and teachers, in descending order by date (per marking period). This option is recommended only for schools with a policy of showing historical progress reports. The PlusPortals is designed to show students and their parents live performance data, so they can track their progress continuously. This option cannot retroactively include Progress Reports posted from TeacherPlus prior to the release of this feature.

Append Progress Reports

PlusPortals credentials can now be e-mailed or printed for non-activated parents and students

Prior to this update, to send credentials to users that have not yet activated their accounts, the list of users needed to be filtered to show users that have never logged in. A new Show only non-activated users option has been added to the Select Criteria menu, which appears when a user clicks the E-Mail/Print Login Details button in the Manage Accounts area of the PlusPortals Admin Site.

This option is always checked by default and will automatically filter any user whose account is already activated from the list of recipients.

Show Only Non-activated Accounts

PlusPortals credentials can now be e-mailed or printed for students and parents by homeroom

A Students by homeroom option has been added to the Select Criteria menu, which appears when a user clicks the E-Mail/Print Login Details button in the Manage Accounts area of the PlusPortals Admin Site. This option will allow users to e-mail or print credentials for students (or parents) based on the students’ Homeroom.

Select Students by Homeroom

Note: This feature applies only to homeroom gradebooks created using the HOMEROOM field in AdminPlus. If a homeroom gradebook was created as a section of a course, it cannot appear in this feature.

Group Heads can be prevented from seeing student members’ grading information

A new Overview checkbox option has been added to the Permissions tab of the Groups setup menu under the Student Information section:

Overview Display Option

Note: This option is checked by default for all groups that existed at the time of this update so that their existing functionality is not interrupted.

When this Overview box is unchecked for a group, the Overview tab will not appear to Group Heads when they click the View Details button for a student. This Overview tab was previously represented by a family icon, on which the selected student member’s summary of grading, attendance, discipline and upcoming homework is displayed.

Overview Tab

Multiple Groups can now be imported simultaneously from the previous year

The process of importing groups from the previous school year has been enhanced to allow multiple groups to be copied at once. Prior to this update, each group needed to be copied individually.

Import Multiple Groups

Note: Once the groups have been imported, it is recommended to review the details of each group to make any changes in heads, members, and permissions applicable to the new school year.

Restricted parents and students can now be prevented from accessing Portfolio documents and the Class Page and Lesson Plans

The Restriction List feature, located in the Permissions > Summary area, now allows you to optionally restrict the parents and students on the list from accessing the E-Portfolio, the Class Page, and the Lesson Plans tabs of the Classroom menu. To restrict these users from these areas, check the Restrict from E-Portfolio or Restrict from Class Page and Lesson Plans boxes.

The Skills selection menu in the Lesson Planner has been improved

The screen on which teachers can specify which Skills (attached to the course in AdminPlus) will be covered in a lesson has been updated. In addition, checkboxes have been added, making it easier for tablet-users to select multiple Skills at once.

Link Skills to Lesson

Users will be prevented from moving forward when adding recipients to an e-mail when both the Students and Parents boxes are unchecked

When adding recipients to an e-mail, by selecting an individual student from the list the user is indicating which student the e-mail will be regarding. The Students and Parents checkboxes are what determine whom the recipient(s) of the e-mail will be. At times, the user may click the Next button before checking one of these boxes. The menu now prevents the user from moving forward to a list of blank recipients.

Select Recipients

The Approved by Reviewer checkbox will now be the only checkbox considered when course requests are received into AdminPlus

Prior to this update, when an admin or teacher reviewed a student’s Course Request Form, both the student’s course selection box and the approver’s Approved by Reviewer check box were required to be checked for that course request to be received into AdminPlus.

In some schools, teachers or guidance counselors meet with the students for this process and submit the form for the student. This change will remove the need for these teachers and guidance counselors to check two separate boxes for one course.

The Course Requests and Course Request Form Status exports have been improved

Changes have been made to these exports available in the Setup > Course Requests > Course Request Exports area of the PlusPortal Admin Site. Minor modifications have been made to improve these exports while also addressing an issue of the exports not generating for schools with a large amount of course request data. See the details of the changes made below:

  Improvement
Course Requests Export

This option will now generate a zip file, which will contain a separate Excel file for each course request form. Additionally, the dates that students, parents, and reviewers submitted the form is now included in the Excel files.

This form is intended to show the details of the submitted forms – which courses were selected by the students, which were approved by parents and reviewers, and any comments left by students, parents, and reviewers regarding the selected courses.

Course Request Form Status Export

The unnecessary duplicate rows have been eliminated from this export. The export now contains one row per student per course request form, creating a much smaller and more manageable Excel file. Prior to this update, the export unintentionally contained one row per student per course per course request form, which led to a much larger file.

This form is intended to provide schools with the simple status of the forms – allowing the admin to quickly determine which students (or parents or reviewers) have not yet submitted so they can reach out to them. The Course Requests option is the export that is intended to show details on which courses the student selected on the course request form.

Note: The same changes mentioned above will also be applied to the version of these exports that is included when using the Combined Report (Course Recommendations, Requests & Form Status export option).

Students’ AdminPlus Unique IDs are now included in all Course Request exports

 

Users’ temporary passwords can now be hidden in the Manage Accounts area

A new option to hide users’ temporary passwords has been added to the Password Management settings. This can be enabled by setting the Hide temporary passwords? option to Yes. When enabled, temporary passwords for all users will always be hidden, except for students who have usernames instead of e-mail addresses.

Note: Only the PlusPortalAdmin user can see this option. Once it is enabled it is not possible to switch the option back to “No.” If you mistakenly enabled this option, please contact Tech Support.

In addition, the Password Management settings have been reworded and moved from the Permissions > Summary area to the Manage Accounts > Settings area.


Feature Fixes

  • When New Year Transition Mode is enabled, scheduling information will be hidden from all parents.

    Previously, while all scheduling information was properly hidden from students and parents with only one child, parents with multiple children were able to see scheduling information.

  • The ability to batch approve course requests on the Review Requests screen of the Course Requests feature has been restored.

    Previously, the Approve Selected Course Requests button was not functioning, and each submitted form needed to be approved individually.

  • Generating Course Request Exports will no longer cause errors for schools with a large amount of course request data.
  • Events feeding from Google Calendar will now display properly in the Calendar box of the Overview­ tab.

    Previously, while teachers, students, and parents with multiple children were able to see all events in the box, parents with only one child were able to see only the next upcoming event in this box (though they were able to see all events on the Calenda­r screen).

  • Line breaks in events feeding from Google Calendar will now appear properly in the PlusPortals calendar.

    Previously, the empty space between paragraphs was not appearing in the PlusPortals.

  • Event times will always be set correctly for events imported into the PlusPortals from .ics files.

    Previously, these event times were being reflected in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC).

  • Recurring events will now print properly on the Agenda print out of Group Calendars.

    Previously, if the start date for the printout was the same day as an occurrence of a recurring event, that event was excluded from the printout.

  • Announcements posted to the PlusPortals login page will now disappear at the specified end time.

    Previously, Announcements posted to the login page would remain visible until the end of the day.

  • File names longer than 50 characters will no longer be truncated.

    Previously, if a file name uploaded to the PlusPortals exceeded 50 characters in length, the name of the file was truncated and the file was inaccessible to users. This issue impacted School Files, Class Files, and Teacher Resources (Lesson Planner).

  • Tables added to the Class Summary will now be displayed properly for parents and students.

    Previously, when a teacher added a table to this box, the width of each column was reduced to the size of the content in the table for parents and students.

  • The Count in Averages setting for Homework/Assignments and Quizzes created in the PlusPortals will now always adhere to the settings in the TeacherPlus Management Site.

    Previously, in some instances, the Count in Averages setting was defaulting to unchecked and teachers’ ability to check the box was not allowed.

  • The E-Locker → Quizzes screen will now retain the teacher’s filter settings during the quiz review process.

    Previously, each time the teacher finished reviewing an individual student’s submitted quiz the list was reloaded to show all classes and any column filters were reset.

  • The YouTube and image upload buttons will now display properly for teachers when editing the Overview/Objective box of a lesson on the Lesson Planner tab.
  • Group Heads of groups created for co-teaching are now able to post Homework/Assignments for the teacher.

    Previously, if the Group Head was an administrator, an error would occur when the user attempted to add a Homework/Assignment to one of the teacher’s classes. This issue did not occur if the Group Head was a teacher.

  • Admin users that are Group Heads will always be able to add events to the Group Calendar.

    Previously, if a Group Head was an admin user without permission to access the main calendar, the user was unable to add events to the Group Calendar.

  • Admin users that are Group Heads will always be able to download students’ E-Portfolio documents if the group permissions are set to allow Group Heads to access the E-Portfolio.
  • Assignments with no score posted in marking periods that are hidden will no longer appear to parents and students on the Performance tab.

    Previously, if a marking period was hidden from parents and students (in the Permissions > Summary > Progress Box, Scores and Progress Reports Settings… area of the PlusPortals Admin Site), they were still able to see any assignments that had no scores posted in the No Scores Posted as of (today) box of the Performance tab.

  • Quizzes posted in PlusPortals will now be visible to all parents and students until the due date passes.

    Previously, in some time zones (i.e. Hawaii-Aleutian Time), a quiz posted on the current day with the due date also set to the current day was not appearing to students and parents.

  • The quiz score displayed on the E-Locker > Quizzes screen and the score displayed on the Quiz Results pop-up screen (which shows all questions and the student’s answers) will now always match.

    Previously, while the student's score was calculated properly on the Quiz Results screen, and the correct score was being transferred to the linked column in TeacherPlus Gradebook, the score shown on the E-Locker > Quizzes screen was occasionally different when the quiz was copied from the previous school year.

  • Students’ saved quiz answers will be retained if internet connectivity is lost.

    Previously, if a student lost internet connectivity while taking a quiz that had no duration (minutes) set by the teacher, when the student regained connection and logged back into PlusPortals to access the quiz their answers were unavailable.

  • The e-mail body text will no longer be missing from e-mails sent by students to teachers when submitting assignments through the E-Locker.

Parent/Student Section Menu Improvements

This menu has been reimagined to provide a more user-friendly experience for parents and students when navigating through their classroom and school content. In addition, the changes included are designed to make the menu more adaptive for Android/iPad tablet users. However, while the changes are significant, students and parents (and Group Heads viewing student details) should be able to intuitively adjust to the new menu quickly.

Summary of Visual and Structural Changes

The tab icons have been removed and several tabs have been renamed.

  • The main tab (previously represented by a family icon) has been renamed to Overview, as this tab contains information feeding from several areas of the PlusPortals.
  • The Classes tab has been renamed to Class Page, as this is the tab on which student and parents interact with most of the content of each individual class.
  • The Scores tab has been renamed to Performance, as this tab contains a more comprehensive view of students’ performance than just assignment scores.
  • The Reports tab has been renamed to Progress Reports to more clearly indicate which reports are shown on this tab.

A new Classroom menu tab has been added.

  • The Class Page, Lesson Plans, Performance, and Progress Reports tabs have been grouped under this menu tab.
  • The Class drop-down has been integrated into this tab so that it is clear to parents and students that the information on these tabs is contextual to the selected class.

    Classroom Menu Tab

A new School menu tab has been added.

The Schedule, Report Card, Attendance, Discipline, and Demographics tabs have been grouped under this menu tab.

School Menu Tab

Summary of Functionality Changes

  • The new Classroom and School menu tabs do not need to be clicked – when a parent or student hovers the mouse over the tab its menu will expand, similar to how menus on many websites function. Tablet users can press these menu tabs to expand them.
  • Once a tab under the Classroom or School tab menu has been clicked the menu will remain open, allowing students and parents to easily navigate between the tabs in that area.
  • The currently selected tab is now represented by a white background and a teal underline.
  • When the screen-width is too narrow, the Classroom and School menus will collapse into a More drop-down.

    Note: In this mode, when a section of the Classroom area is selected, the Class drop-down will appear directly on the page.

    School and Classroom Menu Drop-down


Teacher Section Menu Improvements

This is the menu which contains the teachers’ classroom content. Several visual and functional changes have been made to provide teachers with a better experience when navigating through their class content and their students’ grading information. The changes included are designed to make the menu more adaptive for Android/iPad tablet users.

Summary of Visual and Structural Changes

The tab icons have been removed and several tabs have been renamed.

  • The main tab (previously represented by an icon of a figure in front of a chart) has been renamed to Overview, as this tab contains most of the content of the class.
  • The Homework tab has been renamed to Turn-ins as this tab shows the assignments that have been turned in through the E-Locker feature by students.
  • The Progress tab has been renamed to Progress Reports, as this tab displays the Progress Reports and Combined Progress Reports the teacher has posted from TeacherPlus.
  • The tabs have been reorganized into an order more representative of how frequently teachers interact with them, from left to right.
  • The currently selected tab is now represented by a white background and a teal underline.

    Teacher Menu Update

Summary of Functionality Changes

When the screen-width is too narrow, all tabs other than the Overview tab will collapse into a More drop-down.

Teacher Menu Update