Course Requests: Overview

Course Requests

Course requests are used to determine which courses a student should be scheduled to take in the upcoming school year. Some schools enter course requests in Veracross, then use the information to schedule their students by hand. However, most schools track course requests in Veracross in order to make use of the Veracross Scheduler.

Course Requests Version One and Version Two
Veracross currently supports two versions of Course Requests. The following article outlines the process for Version One. To learn more about Version Two as well as differences between the two versions, please see the Version Two configuration article here. Please note that the differences between the two versions is in interface design, not functionality. Both options allow users to create and add course request, but it is up to the school to decide which process best suits their needs.

Information Tracked in Course Request

Course requests track the following information:

  • Request Group *: a collection of related course requests, numerically ordered by preference (see below for more information on course request groups)
  • Course: the course the student wishes to take
  • School Year: the school year in which the student should be scheduled to take the course
  • Grading Period: the grading period during which the student should take the course. Note, “ALL” acts as the superset of all Minor/Major grading periods, according to Grading Period Group on the Course. For instance, if an elective Course has¬†separate T1, T2 and T3 sections, it is sufficient to have one Course Request for grading period “ALL” for the student to be successfully enrolled in one of either the T1, T2 or T3 sections of that class. The only reason to use a grading period selection other than “ALL” for a Course Request would be to specifically force enrollment into a particular scheduled grading period.
  • Enrollment Level: the enrollment level into which the student should be scheduled
  • Priority: the order of choice — first, second or third — in a request group. Note: for Scheduler clients, this field should only be used if your school uses the Request Group field. See below for more information on course request groups.
  • Recommended: indicates whether the student has been recommended to take the course
  • Approval Status: indicates whether the student has been approved to take the course
  • Notes: any comments from the student or administration about this course request

* Indicates a field only used by Veracross Scheduler clients

In addition to tracking this information about each individual course request, schools can also use the “Course Requests Finalized” checkbox on the Course Requests tab to track whether or not a student’s course request entry has been finished. This box is automatically reset (unchecked) for everyone when the Start School Year procedure is run.

Course Request Groups

Note: Course Request Group functionality only applies to schools using the Veracross Scheduler.

A Course Request Group is a way to associate specific course requests together for scheduling purposes. In a nutshell, it means “I want to pick one of the courses from this group of courses to fill one of my schedule slots”. Course Request Groups are meant to specify a “back up course” if the student’s first choice within a subject isn’t available, or doesn’t fit his or her schedule. For example, suppose Johnny Student wants to take Honors English 10, but if that doesn’t fit his schedule, he would like to take regular English 10 instead. He would create a Request Group where Honors English 10 is his first priority request, and English 10 is his second priority request.

A request group is represented by a number**. The number of the group has no significant meaning and does not impact request priority (i.e. group 6 is equally as important as group 1). To indicate Johnny’s preference using a request group, Johnny would use the same number in the request group field for both H English 10 and English 10. He would set H English 10 to be “First” priority and English 10 as “Second” priority. This tells the Scheduler that Johnny should have one of these two requests and that his first choice is H English 10. Course Request Groups can also be used to indicate a students first and second choice within elective slots.

If a student does not need to pair alternative course requests together, each course request must be put in its own request group. If course requests are put in the same request group the Scheduler will only schedule the student in ONE of the requests listed in the group. By default, course requests are put into their own request group as they are added to the student’s course request list. There is no limit to how many course requests can be entered in one course request group; however, there are still only three levels that can be used to indicate the priority of each request within a request group.

Important Note: Entering “0” as a Request Group does NOT signify that there is no request group for the course request. Any number (including 0) represents its own course request group.

Note on Course Priority

Every course request should have a priority (1, 2, or 3) associated with it. Leaving a course request with <none specified> priority will skew the rankings in the Scheduler app. Leaving the course priority as <none specified> will actually give it a higher priority than any course in the group with a priority of 1, 2, or 3. If there are more than three courses to be given priority, it is recommended to have multiple courses with a priority level 3.

Entering Course Requests

There are three methods for entering course requests: individually, in batch or from the Teacher or Student portals.

Individual Course Requests

Individual course requests can be entered either from a student’s record, or from a course record.

Student Centric Requests

To add a course request for a specific student, open the student record you are adding a request for and navigate to the Course Requests tab. Use the input grid to find the Course and mark the other fields as appropriate. When you are finished adding requests for this student, hit ‘Update’ on the student record to add them.

 

Course Centric Requests

To add more than one student request for the same course, open the record for the course and navigate to the Requests tab. Using the input grid, enter the name of the student and fill in the other fields as necessary. To add more students, continue filling in the name of the students requesting the course in the subsequent rows. When you are finished adding requests for this course, hit ‘Update’ on the course to add them. If you are adding a lot of requests for students at once, you may first want to see if batch entering course requests would be a more useful method.

Batch Entry

Course requests can be created in batch by course using the “Batch Course Requests” tab on the Course detail screen. Course requests that are entered in batch by default have a priority of “None Specified” set on the request and each batch request is entered in to its own Course Request Group.

The list of available groups to use when adding course requests is visible on the left side of the window. To create course requests for any group, simply add a group to the right side of the screen by double clicking on the group (or using the arrows in the middle of the screen) and update the course to create a course request for everyone in that group. For example, if you want to give every current ninth grader a course request for English 10, just double click on the “Students in 9th Grade” group and click update. Course requests can also be added in batch for students in a specific class. For example, you can create Calculus course requests for all students in a Pre-Calculus class by using the class groups.

You can add course requests for multiple groups at a time. Entering course requests via batch entry will only create one course request for each student, even if a student is in two or more groups that have been selected. If a group is removed from the Batch Course Requests tab, the course requests for that group will be removed as well. Students who were in two groups will not have their course request removed if they are also in another group that is still selected on the Batch Course Requests tab.

Adding or removing Batch Course Requests is an action that happens only in the moment a group is added or removed from this tab. There is no overnight process that adds course requests for students who have been added to the group since the group was added to the Batch Course Requests tab. Similarly, course requests are not removed for students who may have been removed from a group that is selected on the Batch Course Requests tab. Veracross only references each group’s membership and adds or removes requests for the group’s members the moment it is added or removed from the Batch Course Requests tab.

These requests will be cleared out at the start of each school year to prepare for the following year.

Portal Entry

Course Requests can optionally be entered in the teacher portal, student portal or both if your school allows teachers and/or students enter Course Requests for the upcoming year.

Course Configuration

Before allowing faculty or students to add course requests in their portals, be sure to review the following course request settings on each course:

  • Available for request: This must be checked if teachers or students should be able to see and request the course from their portal page.
  • Related Courses: Prerequisite and subsequent classes can be linked to a course to help end users know the order in which the classes they are requesting should be taken in.
  • Course Classifications: You may also wish to review any Course Classifications that are set on courses to help end users filter the list of courses. This would include any AP or Honors level flags set on the course.

You can review more about how to configure these items on courses in the Course Catalog documentation.

Student Portal Entry

Students may enter their own course requests through Course Request section in the Student Portal. Students can also view prior year courses, as well as their current year schedule. There is currently no functionality in place to prevent students from requesting courses they are not eligible for; however, requests that are entered in the portal are not automatically approved. See more about entering course requests in the student portal and how to enable this.

Teacher Portal Entry

Teachers can also enter course requests through the teacher portal for their students and advisees. In addition to seeing a student’s prior courses and current schedule, faculty have the ability to view a student’s credit report. The credit report summarizes how many credits a student has earned so far by subject and how many required credits are left for the student to take. *Note: The credit report will only work if the number of required credits has been configured for each subject on the Subject List. See more about entering course requests in the teacher portal and how to enable this.

Scheduler school year

Course requests entered via the student/faculty portal will always be for “next year,” but which requests display depends on the “Scheduler School Year” parameter. Updating this parameter should be understood as a general requirement before beginning any scheduling project, including course requests.

 

Parent Portal

Every school has a Portal Link for parents that can be enabled in the “Child Links (Parent Portal)” context of the Parent Portal. This link will direct parents to a document where they can review their children’s course requests.

This same document can be specially configured for display in the Student Portal. If you want this document to display in the Student Portal as well, first consider whether it might make more sense to display the Student Portal Course Requests interface (Read Only). If you want to display the document, ask your Account Manager.

Data importer

A data import type for Course Requests may be made available for your school upon request. Read more here. Ask your Account Manager if this could be right for your school’s needs.

 

A Combination of Approaches

Using batch entry for some course requests, the portals for other course requests, and Axiom detail screens to enter more course requests, or even using the client data importer for course requests: any of those may be appropriate for some portion of the course request process. For instance, batch entry of “Spanish 2” course requests may make sense for every student currently enrolled in a “Spanish 1” class; but batch entry may not make any sense for electives. Your school may take a very targeted approach and use any and all of the course request entry methods depending on the requirements to get in a good batch of requests.

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