Tech Talk Recap: How and Why You Should Create Student Groups

20 December 2021

TECH TALK SESSION

Many student support centers eventually find themselves in a position where they are asked to report on not just the total numbers for their center’s attendance, but specific numbers for students in certain demographics or categories. For example, many schools want to know statistics for student athletes, students in certain majors, or certain high-risk demographics. If you’re an Accudemia user, it’s easier than you might think to keep track of these student groups and report on them. That’s what Senior Support Specialist Nick Armstrong covered in this week’s Tech Talk segment.

How to Create a User Group
The first step to tracking User Groups is to load them into Accudemia. We’ve met with many clients who either weren’t aware of this feature, who didn’t know how to create groups, or who are new to Accudemia, and for the most part, all of them have been tracking student groups the same way: they take their general attendance data and manually compare it to a list of specific students. But there’s a better way! By loading the groups into Accudemia, you can get the attendance data for those specific groups BEFORE you export it, saving you potentially hours of work.

There are three ways to create User Groups in Accudemia, and the one you might use will depend on several factors.

  • Manual Creation: This is the most labor-intensive way to create a User Group. It involves manually typing in each student, so it is best for smaller groups. To create a group this way, from the main Accudemia menu, click on “Administration” and then “User Groups.” Then click the “New Group” button. From there you’ll be able to name your group and search for and select users to be added. Make sure you save changes at the top of the screen before moving on to another task. 
  • Via Report: When pulling a report, you may want the students who will be included in that report to be placed together in a User Group. ForCreating a group using reports example, some centers use this feature for contact tracing in the event of a Covid exposure (where all students who were present during the same day or time as a positive person need to be informed), or to contact students who have not visited their center midway through the semester using a Zero Visits report.To create a group via report, select any attendance report and set up your filters as you want them. Before pulling the report, check the “Create Group” box and then click, “View Report.” A group made up of all students who are included in this report will be generated.
  • Via Import: This is the most common way to create a User Group and the method that we normally recommend. If you’ve never imported data into Accudemia before, rest assured it’s quite easy! However, if you already have an IT department at your institution, which takes care of imports into Accudemia for you, then in that case it’s worth it to ask them if they can roll the User Group import on the normal Accudemia imports. This is especially going to be easier if the data the group is based on is found in the same database that the rest of the data is taken from.

If you do find yourself needing to create the import yourself, here are the steps to follow: Go to Administration -> Advanced -> Imports, and download the AccuDataExchange tool if you haven’t already. You’ll also need to build your import file, which will be a CSV file with two columns. One for the ID number of the students in the group, and one for the name of the group. In the ADX tool, map the import job to the user group name, and then import the file. Again, your institution’s IT can often take care of this for you by mapping the group members to an attribute in your SIS. The advantage there is that they will be able to automatically add and remove members. Generally if you as a center manager do it yourself then you’ll need to manually upload a new file every time there is a change to your group.

How to Use Groups
Creating a group is all well and good, but you may be wondering if you need them at all at this point. Here are the three main reasons to group your students. You can technically perform all of these functions without Accudemia, although it’s much easier if you have it!

  • Filter reports by groups. As mentioned above, seeing the activity of specific user groups is a very common reason to keep track of these groups, and it’s much easier to do when you can filter by those students BEFORE you pull the data. To do this in Accudemia, when pulling a report, check the “Group” box in the list of filters and click, “Select.” A window will pop up allowing you to search for and select the group or groups you want to filter by on the report.
  • Send a targeted survey. Not all surveys need to go to all students. Sometimes, you may want to be sure you’re targeting a specific population when you solicit feedback. To do this in Accudemia, when setting up your survey choose “Manual” under the Display options. From there, a button will appear that will allow you to search for and select the group or groups to which you wish to send this survey once it’s ready.
  • Sending a message to a groupCommunicate with groups. You may wish to send the students in a group targeted messages letting them know about your services or other important information. For example, you may want to specifically target students who have not visited your center at the semester midpoint. Of course, if you have an email or texting program you may be able to load in their contact information that way, but in Accudemia, messaging User Groups is a quick, easy, and secure option by email, text message, or chat (keep in mind that text messages may require extra fees).
    To send a message to a group in Accudemia, first make sure messaging is enabled for your account so that you’ll see the Communications. Then click “New Message” on the bar at the bottom of Accudemia. Search and select the person, group, or groups you want to message, and then compose and send your message.

As you can see, there are many reasons why you may want to group students together for easier tracking and management of your center, and these tasks are all made easier with Accudemia! Let us know in the comments how you group your students and why.

Join us next time!
Engineerica Systems is pleased to present our Tech Tip segment recap for 12/14/2021 for the weekly Accudemia sessions. Held every Tuesday at 1 pm EST, Accudemia clients can join a session to learn about a quick, useful topic from one of our Support Specialists. Each week, we’ll follow up Tech Tip Tuesday with a blog recapping that week’s topic. If you’re an Accudemia client and would like to join us for the next session, just visit
https://www.engineerica.com/accudemia-weekly-sessions/.