14 October 2014

Celebrating Success #1 - Progress Reports

I've not ever been very good at celebrating my successes. In fact, it has only been recently that I have allowed myself to acknowledge any sort of success in my professional or academic life. I've only ever considered my immediate family in terms of success and that has not been very long that I have done that either! 

I consider today a very successful day at work. Not that it was spectacular in terms of productivity (although I did get some things done), but today was the culmination of a couple of weeks of working on a project. The project was one in which I created a progress report workflow and tested it out on the automotive service program. 

When I say I created a progress report, I mean I took what my Student Services Director created and made it into something that would be automatically created from a spreadsheet in GoogleSheets. If you aren't familiar with GoogleSheets, you can check out Google's Getting Started with Sheets here. 

Anyway, over the last couple of weeks, I've been working on learning Javascript over at Codecademy so I can leverage Google Scripts (within Google Apps for Education, aka Google Drive, Calendar, etc.) 

When I say leverage, I mean automate. The project I've been working on is one in which faculty enter grades into a spreadsheet (among other things - employability ratings, attendance, etc.) and then the script populates a template document and creates a progress report for the student. Here's an example: 
Image credit: Jody Bowie
Identifying information removed
Bear in mind this was created automatically. I like to think of it as my internet minions doing my work. Granted, could have typed up these 53 progress reports, but this is just a test. We have far more than 53 students. Once the teachers learn to use the spreadsheet, progress reports then become easy. It's a matter of clicking on the administration menu (which is created by the script) and selecting the function you want to run. Or these could run on a specific date. The triggers for scripts are customizable. 

This is a brief overview, hopefully at some point I'll have the opportunity to present on this in the future. I've been working on this project, but also on a transportation form which auto-crates calendar events on specific calendars, a professional development form which creates a yearly transcript for instructors, and a daily work log in which student enter what they have done for the day and the teacher goes in and enters a rating on several factors - the script then moves that grade to the students' own spreadsheet. Imagine putting the daily grade form and this progress report together. Basically you have a gradebook which will can create documents for individual students. Scripts can also send email (like the results of a test or even send the progress report to a parent's email). The possibilities aren't endless, but I sure haven't plumbed their depths yet. 

Hopefully, I'll be posting more successes as I learn more, but I'm sure glad today for this one!

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