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Do I Need Academic Terms?

July 9, 2020
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An important aspect of the QuickSchools system is the concept of Academic Terms. An academic term is used to manage all subjects/courses that a student is enrolled in within a specific time frame. This containment is important in order to easily manage a group of students that all start/end courses at the same time. It is also important that these academic terms do not overlap, as the system can only support one term to be active at any time.

So what if a school does not have academic terms? There are still courses with multiple students starting and learning together, but some courses run for a week, others for a month, and so on. This is more typical for vocational schools that offer private courses like a Photography School, or a Barber/Beauty School. In this case, we recommend having just ONE academic term, which you can archive on a yearly basis.

This set up works if:

  • Students learn together in groups. All students within a course start and end together, but also go through the same curriculum (i.e. not Self-Paced)
  • You have courses of varying lengths.
  • You want to track students as cohorts, even though the same cohort of students may leave the school at different times (because of the length of their courses)

Here’s what you can do:

  • Turn on College-Level Settings. This will relabel some of the fields to something more relevant. For example:
    • “Subjects” will be called “Courses”
    • “Homerooms” will be called “Advisors”
  • Create ONE academic term.
    • You can name the academic term after the current year.
  • Use the Year Levels to manage the different types of programs.
    • For example, “3-week course” and “8-week course”, or “Beginner” and “Intermediate”, and so on. Other examples on setting up programs are available here.
  • Assign students a “Year Level” and “Advisor” (optional).
  • Create Courses
    • The Course Name will appear in the Transcripts. So the course name should be clear and straightforward.
    • The Course Abbreviation represents the various sections/groups of the same course, and has to be unique. So if you have three “Photography 101” courses, they can share the same course name, but they will need different abbreviations.
    • Abbreviations can also be used to describe the section. You can incorporate things like the Month, Date, and Group. For example:
      • PHOTO101-2020.01-MON-A
        • Course starts in January 2020, taught on Mondays, Group A
  • Enroll Students into their corresponding courses.

Optional:

  • Use Student Tags to record the student’s cohort/intake.
    • For example, you can tag a student as “Jan 2020 Group A” or “Feb 2020 Group C”
  • Use student custom fields to track any additional information, like expected graduation date
    • Note: When students leave/graduate, you can set a leave date

Overall, the configuration described above is not much different than a standard K-12 school. Of course, the main difference being that academic terms are not actively utilized to track when courses start and end. Student enrollment does play a bigger role in relation to the other modules, such as gradebook and transcripts, as well as general student progression. Hopefully, this example illustrates one way to organize your programs, courses and sections to best suit your needs.

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