Groups (sometimes called classes) are a very handy addition to Pathways Cloud. Whilst this module could be used for managing students and placements for a traditional school *Class*, you can use the Group module for any time you need to group a set of students or placements together to make management easy.
What is a Group:
- A traditional class or cohort of students - eg. 11A
- An entire year of students (eg. Year 10 Work Experience)
- A group of VET Students across mutliple classes in one study area - eg. "Construction"
- One teacher's VET Class - eg. "Bob's Hospitality Students 2021"
- A list of students doing TAFE in Year 12 – eg “2019 SkillsTech – Acacia Ridge” or
- A group of students engaged in a mentoring program that should be tracked separately or
- A specific intake of student applications if you are using the StudentRego.com add-on.
Why Use Groups?
A group provides a single-screen view of everybody in the group along with their placement or course status. During a period of placement coordination you will likely leave the group screen open the entire time as a living checklist.
Activities: You can record activities against the group as a whole. For example “Parent Letters sent home on 15-Sep-2021”
Mail Merge: You can BULK mail merge for an entire group. For example generate all the parent letters for everybody attached to a group in one click, or generate all the work experience agreements/contracts for the 110 students going out of work experience in 8 weeks.
Export Lists: One-Click export of the group list to give to teachers or other VET coordinators, keeping them up to date on students and their placements.
Bulk Email: Ability to bulk email all the students, hosts or parents linked to the group. For example sending a “Placement Next Week” reminder.
Bulk SMS: Ability to bulk SMS all the students, hosts or parents linked to the group. For example sending a “Student Arriving Today” type of SMS to a group of construction hosts, to remind them to get the Day 1 induction or process ready.
- A student can be in one or more groups at the same time
- Each placement can be linked to a group and its related student. For example a student over the years may be in a number of groups and have a number of different placements as they could move from work experience through to structured work placement and then to SATs and onwards.
- A student can have more than one placement linked to them in their group. For example their first placement may have been cancelled, so a new placement has been arranged and it’s also linked to the group so you can see the full history.
- Groups are generally Open or Closed depending on whether you are working on them. At the end of the year you may wish to archive your closed groups to tidy up the list for the next year.
- Groups are often referred to as “buckets” as that concept is apt. It’s a bucket of students and placements.
Group Naming Tips and Hints?
Name a group anything that makes sense to you J
The Group Name is like a friendly name for the group and you can use any description that
works for you or makes sense in the context of your own program
We have a few suggestions that might make things easy down the track, however :
Put a year or timing-based value in the name - eg. 2019, or 2019 Term 1 - it makes it easier later on to see when the group was in a general sense.
Put the area of study, teacher or school in the name. Eg. 2019 Construction Kids. Or 2019 Bob Term 4 Placements.
Keep the name nice and short – long group names can be annoying down the track and we often see coordinators with too-long names shorten them later on.
A few great examples:
1. 2021 Work Experience Yr10
2. 2021 TAFE SkillsTech
3. 2021 Yr11 Mentoring
4. 2021 SWL Yr11 Construction
Attaching a Student to a Group - Via the Student
When you enter a new student record into Pathways one of the main fields in that screen is the groups. If the student is already in Pathways you can attach them to a group using the ”Groups" panel on the right of the student details screen. A student can be attached to multiple groups, and over time this is highly likely.
Attaching a Student to a Group - Via the Group
Depending on how you like to work, you can add students to a group directly from the student screen or from the group screen. From the Group Details screen you can click the + button and search for students to add without leaving this screen.
Attaching a Student to a Group - Via the Placement
The most common way of linking a student to a group is by linking their placement to a group
"Students & Placements" Group Type
If your group is being created to help manage placements, the “Students and Placements” type adds some additional elements to this screen so you can see not only the students linked to the group, but also the host and placement status. The colour coding of the status column is a handy way to see where you are at in terms of coordination of placements. “Linked Opportunities” also appears here and is where you have created an “empty” placement or vacancy and the student hasn’t been decided yet, but you want to keep it in the group ready.
"Students Only" Group Type
When creating a group the option is presented to create a “Students Only” group. This is where you wish to group students but they aren’t being grouped for the purpose of placement coordination. A common example of this is when you are creating groups of students based on a qualification they are doing, or because they are all attending a specific external RTO and you wish to track that list easily. Visually, the biggest difference is the lack of a “Host” and “Placement Status” column.
Often a coordinator will be asked to provide a list to admin or a teacher within the school of placements and students in the group. Pathways offers a very fast way to get a nicely formatted excel report created in seconds. We have a few different templates available.
Group Bulk Mail Merges
Generating documentation for the group is really easy. Tick the mail merge to generate, tick the placements or students and the Microsoft Word or PDF file is generated and downloaded.
Group Bulk Email
Pathways includes the tools to avoid using old-school letters and mailed paperwork to communicate with placement stakeholders. Use Pathways Email Templates to bulk merge and email directly to Students, Guardians/Parents, Host Contacts or Host Supervisors. You can merge in details from the linked placement so it’s like an “Email Merge”, replacing most of your non-legal placement paperwork.
Group Bulk SMS
By having your students or placements in a Pathways Group, you can bulk SMS Students, Guardians/Parents or Host Contacts with ease. Use an optional SMS template if you have a fixed process. It’s very common for Bulk SMS to be used to notify stakeholders of upcoming placements. For example we see construction placements often send an SMS reminder to the Host like this: “Reminder: You have a Student arriving on-site tomorrow. Contact Us If Any Issues”