Engage Students with Built-In SMS

One of the most direct and effective methods of communicating important, time sensitive information to a student is to send them a text message via SMS. Typically these are reminder-style message such as “Your placement is starting next week” or “Don’t forget to return your placement agreement” and the like.

Today we have launched built-in SMS functionality in Pathways. This allows you to send messages directly from the student information screen in a few clicks. As SMS messages are often similar we’ve built in an SMS template library so you can set up common messages and then send them with only a few clicks.

Better yet the individual sms sending is free.

Need to send bulk SMS to multiple students at once? Add an SMS package to your Pathways plan allowing you to send an sms to entire class or student list in seconds. Keep your eyes peeled in Pathways for the next few weeks as the rollout has already begun in alphabetical order. Sorry if your name starts with Z!

Student - KUNIS

September 9, 2013

Pathways July 2013 Update Coming

We are very excited that our next major Pathways Cloud update has arrived.  When teachers and coordinators return their June/July holiday and log in for the first time the automatic update will have already done it’s great work and a tonne of new features will be ready to hit the road.

The biggest feature update this month is the addition of mail merge functionality to the custom list screens. Create a custom list of students, hosts or placements, and in addition to showing this list on screen as a dynamic report or exporting it to Excel, you can now mail merge to this list to any of your MS-Word based templates.

For example you could generate a work experience agreement for all placements in August with a specific teacher. Or generate an appreciation letter for all hosts that provided a work placement this year. The options are endless, and smoothly integrated with the powerful custom list screens. We think reports are oh so 1995, but when you absolutely must warm up the printer, custom lists + mail merges make it easy.

Here’s some great eye candy – chances are you may receive one of these post cards in the mail soon as part of our mid year promotion.

Pathways-Work-Experience-Postcard

June 23, 2013 Tags: , , , , , ,

A Creative Endeavour

We are lucky to have the opportunity to be able to flex our creative muscles as well as the more nerdy technical skills, and each month we take on a few public web site projects that help people (eg. the AusHeal project coming up), have some creative outlet or are just plain fun. Avcair falls squarely into the fun category  – great people, awesome product, great sandwich’s during meetings. Let’s just say Avcair is not like long haul economy class….. www.avcair.com

They do Jet Charter in Australia to just about everywhere in the world. So every time we do some work on their web projects we can imagine we are the lucky ones popping over to the Maldives for a few days on our own plane.

Avcair - Australian Private Jet Charter with Global Reach

May 31, 2013

Un-learning to move forward – Xero

We recently spotted this great article on the Xero blog that addresses the exact same scenario we work with on a daily basis – migrating from legacy systems to next generation web apps. We’re big fans of Xero here at Activ8 and see them almost as a poster child for well funded, forward thinking web businesses that don’t mess with their vision.

This particular article addresses the scenario where introducing new systems, in this case a web app for accounting, requires as much un-learning of old systems and processes as it does re-learning. And how you can tailor your materials and process to account for the transition.

Xero and Pathways Cloud are both web apps which dramatically rewrite the ground rules and assumptions for software in their respective markets – and both follow long periods of locally installed software and processes that originated decades ago. These new platforms are built with the future in mind and not constrained unnecessarily by historical process not relevant in the future. And in transition we also try to respect past processes, but not be bound by them as more often than not they are nothing more than habits ripe for improvement.

Good on you Xero. Keep the bright light shining.

May 28, 2013 Tags:

Unique Student Identifier (USI) for VET

In 2014, all new and continuing students undertaking nationally recognised VET courses will need to hav a USI number to receive their certificate of attainment or qualification. As of today we have added the ability to record USI numbers for students in Pathways Cloud, which ensures that by the time this becomes mandatory all our users will be very familiar with it’s presence in the student details screen 🙂

Like to know more about USI – read more on the Australian Government web site.

Unique Student Identifier (USI) initiative for VET

May 24, 2013 Tags: , , , ,

Attach Files to your Student Profiles

Updates to our Pathways Work Experience platform are accelerating this quarter – the latest addition is a file storage tab in the student profile that allows you to upload one or more documents to any student record. Common examples include attaching PDF copies of VET Certificates and Statements of Attainment, resumes or any other documentation that may be useful. For many clients this will save them needing to record the Units of Competency when not necessary, as the attached documents would show the detail needed.

Student Files

May 24, 2013 Tags: , , , ,

Placement Checklists Defeat Paperwork

Student placement coordination is one of those jobs that is likely to rely on paperwork and the classic paper trail for a little while yet.  There are letters to parents and hosts, agreements to sign, inductions to be done and follow surveys to be completed! Multiple these document counts by the number of placements a coordinator may arrange and you can understand why in 2012 we estimated that on average a Pathways coordinator was generating more than 2400 pieces of paper per year! On their own!

Some of our customers would use the Activity Log to record when a document was produced and sent, however in our latest Pathways update we’ve included a simple way to track all the paperwork you need for each placement. It does everything you need and nothing you don’t. A checklist of documents and steps automatically appears when you create a placement (you can customise the checklist) and when you tick an item it automatically dates it.

Student Placement Paperwork Checklist

The most common items for checklists are:

– Parent Letter
– Host Letter
– Placement Agreement (NSW SPR, or QLD Form C or VIC Workplacement Agreement)
– Student Survey
– Host Survey
– Student Placement Details sheet

We highly recommend you use this great new feature as it requires almost no effort and provides so much value to your student placement workflow.

 

April 28, 2013 Tags: , , , ,

One Click Mail Merge for Workplace Learning

Workplace Learning and VET in Schools programs are often a sea of paperwork. The Mail Merge and Briefcase functions in Pathways allow quick production of documents like Placement Agreements, Student Placement Records (SPR’s) and Parent/Host Letters. Up until now you needed to know how Microsoft Word’s mail merge functions worked to build templates, however our new Cheat Sheet guides make it child’s play.

Today we have launched our new starter template guides for Pathways Cloud that make it ridiculously easy to build your own mail merge and upload it in a few minutes. These new starter guides (or Cheat Sheets) can be downloaded directly from the Mail Merge Setup screen shown below and include all the fields and instructions you need to rapidly build your own:

Placement Mail Merge

 

Building a letter, agreement, feedback survey or detail sheet is now a matter of building the file in Microsoft Word to look exactly how you want, and then simply copying and pasting the fields from the Cheat Sheet into your own documents. Upload it and Pathways does the rest!

April 26, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , ,