Thursday, July 23, 2015

3 Smashing Tools to Create Online PD (Part 3)

The essential question of part 3 is "How do I distribute certificates to everyone who completes my online course?" The answer? Autocrat.

In the ever-expanding world of Add-Ons, all the indispensable ones seem to be coming out of New Visions Cloud Lab. These developers work closely with teachers to create tools that actually meet a need and solve a problem, and with Autocrat, they've knocked it out of the park.

Autocrat is a mail merge utility that can take all that data that accumulates over the course of a school year, merge it into formats that are actually useful (letters, reports, etc.), and can automatically email it to students or parents. According to New Visions, Autocrat has merged nearly 3.9 million documents since its release, so it looks like they're doing something right.

Using Autocrat to Create Certificates

You can set Autocrat to send certificates automatically after teachers complete a survey or course evaluation. (Wesley Fryer has a great video on this that seems to have disappeared off the face of the planet, so if anyone has the link, please put it in the comments and I'll add it to this post.)

In my professional development example, though, I'm manually checking responses and only running Autocrat if the teacher completes all the requirements. This means setting up a conditional merge (easy to do) so Autocrat only creates and emails certificates for the teachers that meet the completion criteria.

The Small Bytes playlist below starts with making your own basic certificate with merge tags, then goes step-by-step through creating your merge, setting up the email your teachers will receive, and creating a condition to only run certificates for the teachers who meet the criteria.

Once you've set up your merge, just send the link to your Classmill course out to your teachers and staff. Best of luck trying something new and smashing, flipping and blending your back-to-school professional development!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks! Now I'll be able to easily create certificates for my pre-service professional development.