Edsby groups are a very powerful way for groups of people to collaborate with each other in a convenient, secure and effective way. Most schools using Edsby very quickly end up with 50 – 100 groups as they add groups for sports teams, clubs, teacher professional development, the student council, parent advisory councils and the like.
Groups can be closed or open to the entire school (or even wide open across a school district). Groups can be shown to everyone, or only made visible to people with specified roles (e.x only teachers).
Members can be added by invitation from a group moderator. Members can also be added automatically to Groups based on role. For example, a group named Staff Lounge can be configured to automatically include all staff as members of the group. When new teachers are added to the school they will automatically be put into the Staff Lounge.
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The Groups Zooms shows all groups created by staff members at the school. This provides a good mechanism for administrative staff to have visibility into the kinds of conversations that are happening in the groups at the school.
Click on the group name to view the group, or hover over the name to view the Setup form link.
Creating groups with the Groups Zooms
To create a group, do this:
- On the home screen, click Groups
- Click the drop down button in the top right corner.
- Click Create Group button.
- Enter the name of the group.
- Set the Show To and Membership fields.
- Click Create Group.
School Administrators can create groups in the both the Groups Zooms and by clicking My Groups on the home screen.
Teachers create groups by clicking My Groups on the home screen.
Groups Setup form
Name The name of the group. Type Regular Group, Club, & Team have the same functionality. A Professional Learning Community includes a Course Plan. Picture Use the standard group icon or choose the group’s icon by clicking Browse and locating a jpg or png file from the computer. Drag and drop is also supported. The image file will automatically scale to the dimensions of the group icon. About this group Add a brief description about the focus of the group. Moderators Type in the names of additional Moderators. Moderators are automatically members of a group and see the group in the My Groups panel. Show to Choose which type of users can see the group name when they click on the Find More link in the Groups panel. Permissions The Permission section is collapsed initially; click the blue arrow to expand the section. Invite People Controls who can invite other people to this group. Make Posts Controls who can post Notes, reply to Notes, and create Polls. Reply to Posts Control who can reply to Note or participate in a Poll. Edit Knowledge Base Controls who can create, edit, and delete Knowledge Base entries. Edit Calendar Controls who can create, edit, and delete Calendar Events. Academic Info Groups can be included in Report Cards. The Subject and Grade field are used to ensure the Group receives the correct report card template. Enable Attendance Organizations that use the Edsby Attendance system for classes can also take attendance for groups. When enabled, an attendance link will appear within the group if the group has at least one student as a member. Automatic Membership The Automatic membership section is only available to School Admin roles. Automatically subscribes and maintains membership according to the criteria set in the form. Subscribe these user types The field lists all available user types. The Staff Zooms list the roles used at the school or district. For Grades and or subjects Enter a list of grades, subjects or grade.subject. For example, 9, English 10.Mathematics. Unsubscribe users if they no longer meet the criteria Membership will be adjusted during the daily synchronization. For example, if a group is setup for the grade 9 students, at the beginning of a new school year, the membership will change to include the current grade 9 students.
This checkbox is not required to unsubscribe people who are no longer connected to the school. When people are no longer members of a school they are dropped from all groups. For example, when parents no longer have a student at a school, they lose all access to groups.
Changing a group’s Setup form
Group names, moderators, icons or any other information can be changed by editing the Setup form. To open a group’s setup form, hover over the group name to view the Setup link.
Archiving a group
When a group is no longer needed, open the Setup form and set the type to Archived. This will remove group from everyone’s desktop. The content is retained for the remainder of the school year. Just before a new school year begins Archived groups are deleted. Moderators and school administrators can change a group’s type to Archived.
Group Setup examples
The following examples can be used for groups such as:
- Tecumseh Parents
- Parent Volunteer Opportunities
- Community Volunteer Opportunities
- Parent Council
For example, the Parent Volunteer Opportunities group can be seen by staff, parents, and students. Anyone can ask questions about volunteer opportunities. Younger students, who love having their parent on a field trip, can tell parents about new posts.
The Parent Volunteer Opportunities group could also be set up to only enable the moderators to make a post, but permit anyone to reply to posts.
When naming groups for parents, remember that a parent may see groups from more than one school. Consider using the school name as part of the group name, or choosing the school logo as the image.
Sometimes it is a good thing for parents and students to be aware of all the work and activity that happens at school, but to avoid overwhelming the parents and students with a list of groups that they can’t join staff groups can be hidden from parents. For staff groups, set the Show to field to All Staff.
Groups provide departments or committees with a great way to collaborate. In this example, only staff can see the name of the group and any staff member can enter and join the group.
Follow this example, if the group only needs to be seen by the group creator and people invited to join the group. The Show to and Membership fields can be changed at any time. A group may begin as a private group while people create content then opened to all staff. For this scenario start with this setting below, and then switch the Show to field to All Staff and the Membership field to Open.
When working with a group of people to create content, follow this example to enable everyone in the group to have the same set of permissions as the moderator.
Groups can give students a safe place to practice digital citizenship. Groups such as student volunteer opportunities or clubs that are always open to new members can be set up like this:
People who are not in a group can click on the group name and request to join the group.
To create a group where students can only read content and reply to moderator posts, follow this example.
To create a group that can only be seen by the creator and members, set the Show field to No-one (Private)
Adding people to groups
People can be added to groups in 6 ways
- Joining in any open group displayed in the expanded Group panel.
- Requesting to join any closed group displayed in the expanded Group panel.
- By moderators of groups, by opening the group and clicking the Invite link.
- Teachers can invite students they teach and their parents to groups they moderate through the My Students and My Parents Zooms.
- School Admins can bulk invite people to groups through the Students, Staff, and Parents Zooms.
- School Admins can configure the Group Setup form’s Automated membership section.
School administrators can automatically subscribe staff members, parents, and students to a group. Automated membership is based on a user’s Edsby role. The Staff Zoom can be used to identify which people are designated as which user type.
For example, if a group is set to automatically subscribe Guidance staff, every time new guidance staff members are added to the school, they will be added to the group.
For teachers, the automatic membership can be refined by specifying grade, subjects, or a combination of grade and subjects. For example, the administrator can create a Staff Room, which for all time, will automatically add any new staff members to the group. Or groups can be created to enable grade 9 English teachers, or high school Art teachers to collaborate.
The For Grades and or Subjects field enter a list grades (K-12), subjects, or combine grade and subject.
This example illustrates how to automatically subscribe all current and future grade 6 and 7 teachers to a group.
This example illustrates how to automatically subscribe all current and future teachers of English and Language Arts classes to a group.
This example illustrates how to automatically subscribe all current and future high school English teachers to a group.
The Classes Zooms lists the valid choices for the For grades and or subjects field.
Automatic Membership for students
To create a group that includes all current and future students set the Subscribe these user types field to Student.
To create a group that includes all current and future students in a specific grade set the Automatic Membership as follows.
When the Unsubscribe users if they no longer meet the criteria check box is enabled, students will be subscribed or unsubscribed based on their current grade level. At the beginning of a new school year, only the current grade 9 students will be subscribed to this group.
Automatic Membership for parents
To create a group that includes all current and future parents set the Subscribe these user types field to Parent.
Bulk invitations for Students, Parents & Staff
In addition to automatic membership, the Students, Parents and Staff Zooms include the ability to invite people to pre-existing groups.
- Filter the list to the people who need to be added to the group, or click the Gear icon to select people.
- Click on the drop down menu arrow and choose the Invite to Group.
- Click Choose Group. The Groups Zoom appears. Select the group or groups and click Select.
- Click Invite to give people the option to decline the invitation. The group will appear on the home screen with Accept & Decline button
Click Add to immediately add people to the group. Students and teachers cannot choose to leave a group if the Add button is clicked. Any moderators and school administrators can leave a group or remove a member from a group.
Closed Groups workflow for teams and clubs
One of the challenges at the beginning of the school year is to get students connected to the right groups, whether a sports team or a club. Closed groups can be used to help with this task. The faculty member creates a closed group that is visible to students. The team members request an invitation to join the group, and the moderator approves or rejects the request. When all the team members have been added, the moderator can then change the group’s Setup form’s Show To field to No-one(Private).
If a group is closed, but not private, moderators may receive requests from people to join a group.
To request an invitation, the person does this:
- From the home screen’s Group panel click Find More link.
- Click the group to submit the request. The person can send an optional message with the request.
- Click Request Invite.
The request is sent to the moderator’s Edsby Message Center.
The moderator clicks Approve to add the person to the group. If moderators do not wish to grant access, they can do nothing, click Reject, or click Reject and enter a message in the space provided. The person requesting the invitation will see either the Approved or Rejected and optional message in his or her Edsby Message Center.
Removing members from a group
Moderators can remove any member of the group, by doing this:
- Open the group.
- In the Active panel, click the view all members link.
- Click Remove and confirm.
Sending a message to group members
In addition to posting a message within the group, an Edsby message can be sent to groups members or group moderator. This example illustrates sending an Edsby message to all the members of the Parent Committee and the Parent Volunteer Opportunities groups.