Veracross currently supports two versions of Course Requests. Schools may choose which version of course requests they would like to enable. Each version offers the same functionality for student and teachers signing up for course requests from their portals, however the interface is different between the two versions. See the following articles for Version One Course Request – Student Portal Entry and Version One Course Request – Teacher Portal Entry for specifics on how to enter requests using the Version One interface. This article will discuss enabling Course Request Version Two and how entry is done from both the student and teacher portal. The differences between the two versions will also be outlined so schools are able to make an informed decisions about which version will work best for their course request workflow.
Enabling Course Request Version Two
Similar to Version One, schools can decide whether or not they would like to allow advisors to enter course requests for students from the Teacher Portal or let students enter their own course requests from the Student Portal.
Course Request Version Two is enabled on the Teacher Portal using the “Faculty Portal Course Requests” system parameter (System homepage > System Configuration > System Parameters). Set the “Public Value” to “2” to enable Version Two.
Each school has a portal link configured for Student Portal Course Requests. Portal links are available under the “Communication” section on the System homepage. Enable the portal link to turn on course requests in the student portal. This portal link has been set to the context of “Student Portal Notices,” which means it will appear at the top of the Student Portal homepage. Schools may change the description of the portal link to change the name of the link on the portal. They can also set visibility filters to enable the link for particular grade levels, groups of students, or everyone.
Every school has a Portal Link for parents that can be enabled in the “Child Links (Parent Portal)” context of the Parent Portal. This link will direct parents to a document where they can review their children’s course requests.
Entering Course Requests from the Portals
Course requests are understood as the courses a student is interested in being scheduled to take in the upcoming school year. Each student’s request is organized into a request group which associates course requests and alternate requests together for scheduling purposes. Request groups are meant to specify priority levels for one course selection that will fill one block/period of a student’s schedule. One course within the request group will be set to “First Choice.” All other courses within that request group are then considered alternates to the first choice if the first choice course does not fit in the student’s schedule. If a student does not need to specify alternate courses for his first choice, each course should still be entered in separate request groups. When a student or advisor enters a request from his portal, he will be automatically entering a request directly into separate request groups. Request groups are indicated by the “Course Request #” header above each request entered.
Note: Before course requests are enabled for student and advisor entry, verify the “Available for Request” checkbox on each course record is selected for all courses that should be enabled for student and advisor entry on the portal.
Student Portal Entry
Students enter course requests in three steps:
- Select a Subject When a student clicks the “Add Course Request” button he will be presented with a list of all subject areas from which he can select a course to sign up for. Clicking on the subject will expand the list of all courses available within that subject.
- Select a Course Students will select from the list of courses within the subject area they clicked on.
- Set Priority Once they select a course the last step is to finalize the request by setting the priority level (first, second, or third choice) and clicking “Add the Course Request.” If this is the first request being added for a request group, the priority should be set to “First Choice.” When alternate courses are added in that request group the priority level will set automatically to the next priority level.
Students can optionally add alternate courses to their first priority requests in each request group by clicking on the “Add Alternate Request” at the bottom of each group.
Teacher Portal Entry
Schools may allow teachers, usually students’ advisors, to enter course requests on behalf of the students. The process is similar to the student entry process with a few additional steps because advisors have the ability to add requests for multiple students at once:
- Select Student All students for whom the advisor is able to add course requests will be available to select from the student dropdown on the course request page. When the advisor selects the student, the advisor will be presented with the same subject list as the student course request page.
- Select Subject Click on the subject area of the course.
- Select Course Click on the course that the student would like to sign up for.
- Set Priority Set the priority level for the course. If this is the first course entered for this request group the priority should be set to “First Choice.”
- Flag Approved or Recommended The advisor can optionally choose to mark the request either “approved” (the student has been approved to take the course by the advisor) or “recommended” (the advisor recommends the student takes this course). This can be particularly useful if the advisor is submitting a request for a course a student has not completed a prerequisite for. When a course request is marked “approved” the student will be able to see the request in his portal, but not update or delete it. When a course request is marked “recommended” the student will be able to see the request in his portal and make updates, but not delete it.
- Enter Notes Enter any notes about the student’s course request in the text box to the right of the fields.
Advisors can optionally add alternates to the first priority courses requests in each request group by clicking on the “Add Alternate Request” at the bottom of each request group. Additional tabs are available to advisors to help them recommend courses for their students. The “Previous Courses” displays a list of all the student’s courses for the last school year. The “Credit Report” displays how many credits the student is required to take, has earned, needs, and is scheduled to take in each subject.
Scheduler school year
Course requests entered via the student/faculty portal will always be for “next year,” but which requests display depends on the “Scheduler School Year” parameter. Updating this parameter should be understood as a general requirement before beginning any scheduling project, including course requests.
Version One and Version Two Differences
The process for entering course request is largely the same between the two versions. In Version One, course requests are selected per subject area rather than per course. Requests are added by clicking on the green + button next to the desired course. Selected courses will be added to the top of the page under the “Course Request” tab. Version Two is similar, but the selection process has been pulled out into a separate window where students or advisors may select the course and each request appears in its one block on the course request page. The difference is in the interface design, not the functionality. The biggest area of difference, however, between Version One and Version Two is the way Request Groups and Alternate Courses are added and displayed on the course request page.
- Each course request is added to its own request group.
- Request groups are indicated by the number in the Group column. Each new course request will be assigned a new number.
- Added the same as new course requests and placed in its own request group.
- To include as an alternate course for an existing request group, the number in the Group column must be changed to the same number as the “First Choice” course request for the group.
- The priority level for alternate courses will need to be manually set to the next priority level (i.e. second and third).
- Each course request is added to its own request group.
- Request groups are indicated by the Course Request # heading. The number will change as each new course request is added.
- Added directly to the request group by selecting the “Add an Alternate Course” button.
- The priority level is automatically set to the next priority in the request group (i.e. second and third).