Release Blog

Release Update 07.12.17

'Anytime Evaluation' and Skills Performance Heatmaps now available.

Student accountability and ownership of learning are key concepts in Project Foundry. Students master new skills and competencies at different pace and should be evaluated when they are ready. , advisors, and parents understanding learning progress.  Our Development Team has been taking a Deep Dive into experience evaluation and we are excited about several feature enhancements that provide advisors with the flexibility to modify learning targets for an individual student and proceed with evaluation of a student's work when the individual student is ready for that. We have additional enhancements in the works that will introduce project closure at the individual student level possible and we'll inform our schools when this becomes available later this summer.

We spent a considerable amount of time evaluating the usability of these pages for both student and advisor. Some elements have been simplified to remove clutter, others made to look and function consistent with the same components in other areas of Project Foundry, etc.

Updates

The updates available in this release fall under the following categories:

  • Student Evaluation is now possible at any point in time after the project has been approved. 
  • Student Project Plan modification is now possible at any time until the project is closed by the assigned advisor.
  • Performance page 'Skills' ('Habits') presentation in heatmap format has been enhanced with functionality similar to the 'Content Targets' and 'Credits' pages.
  • Visual accuracy and consistency of functionality between the Performance page Content Targets and Credits and Skills tabs was reviewed and adjusted.

These enhancements are available to all of our customers as of today July 10, 2017. We recommend you take a bit of time to familiarize yourself with the enhanced functionality.

Anytime Evaluations

Until today, it was not possible in Project Foundry to add or modify learning targets to a student project that was in active state. With the enhancements released today, advisors will be able to:

  • Add a learning target to an existing, active project and save that target together with the existing student record. 
  • Evaluate student performance for a specific learning target when the student is ready, regardless of whether other students are ready to be evaluated.
  • Projects still need to be closed for all students at the same time.

Skills Heatmap

Below a brief description of the major components we addressed regarding the Heatmap for Skills development.

The Advisor role Skills (Habits) Heatmap shows progress toward mastery of competencies/skills/habits in the assigned learning plan.  clicking on the arrow next to the Skill unfolds a list of Skill Group items with their individual evaluated results for the student.

Advisor view of a specific students' Skill development progression (all names are fictitious)

Advisor view of a specific students' Skill development progression (all names are fictitious)

Clicking on a green square (Initiative, Exemplary) shows  the detail description of the skill (if provided), the advisors that were involved in evaluating one or more of the opportunities, as well as the projects in which the student practiced and demonstrated the specific skill.Clicking on the highlighted project name will take the user to the specific project plan to review detail.

Advisors can view Heatmaps for each student in their advisory group, by switching students in the column to the left of the Heatmap on their screen. Student have access to their own results to keep track of their progress in the Performance section of their environment.

Like all Performance page screens, this screen can be printed exactly as shown on your screen by selecting 'Print' from the 'Performance Actions' menu.

Heatmaps with the same set of functions are also available for students to track their individual progress (see sample below). 

The student view of individual skill development (names are fictitious)

The student view of individual skill development (names are fictitious)

 

READ MORE

For more detailed description of this updated functionality, please see the Project Foundry Help Center sections for Student, Advisor and Administrator. This is also accessible from everywhere in the Project Foundry environment.

Discover a bug? Tell us about it at support@projectfoundry.com or directly through our Help Center bug reporting feature in every Project Foundry window.

Have ideas for new functionality for Project Foundry to help students do even more exciting projects? Make Project Foundry work for you. Tell us where we can continue to improve our product.

 

Release Update 2.20.17

Enhancement: Presentation of student performance results.

Student Performance Views in Project Foundry are key to students, advisors, and parents understanding learning progress.  Our Development Team has been taking a Deep Dive into performance and we are excited about several feature enhancements that provide additional clarity, consistency, and understanding of a student’s accomplishments in real time – more ah-ha moments in seeing growth!  And though we have additional enhancements in the works that will make evaluation and performance workflow more seamless, we want you to benefit from these latest improvements right away.

We spent a considerable amount of time evaluating the usability of these pages for both student and advisor. Some elements have been simplified to remove clutter, others made to look and function consistent with the same components in other areas of Project Foundry, etc.

The updates available in this release fall under the following categories:

  • Performance and scalability (overall system architecture). Many ‘under the hood’ enhancements are aimed at improving the predictability of how learning is represented in Project Foundry.
  • Visual accuracy and traceability of performance in the components on the Performance page Content Targets and Credits tabs.
  • Usability enhancements such as color consistency, simplification of presentation, reducing the number of navigation steps.

These enhancements are available to all of our customers as of today February 20, 2017.

We recommend you take a bit of time to familiarize yourself with the enhanced functionality. Below a brief description of the major components we addressed.

This a sampling of enhancements we made in this release of Project Foundry.

FEATURE 1 - The Learning Plan Pie Chart shows progress toward completing the total number of targets/competencies in the assigned learning plan.  In the image below, the total plan equals 132 targets: 49 completed, 10 in progress, and 73 remaining to be done.

Content Targets Performance Page view

 

FEATURE 2 - The Performance Level Bar Chart shows the performance level on all targets/competencies attempted by the student. This includes any targets that are extra to, or over-and-above, the learning plan.

Progress Bar Graph Performance Page

 

FEATURE 3 - If you have multiple Learning Plans for a student, you can limit the data that will be visible by clicking “Show This Plan Only.”  This will allow only the information from the selected learning plan at the top to be visible.

Show This Plan Only

 

READ MORE

For more detailed description of this updated functionality, please see the Project Foundry Help Center sections for Student, Advisor and Administrator. This is also accessible from everywhere in the Project Foundry environment.

Discover a bug? Tell us about it at support@projectfoundry.com or directly through our Help Center bug reporting feature in every Project Foundry window.

Have ideas for new functionality for Project Foundry to help students do even more exciting projects? Make Project Foundry work for you. Tell us where we can continue to improve our product.

 

Release Update 12.16.16

What’s new in Project Foundry?

Friday evening (12/16) we released a set of enhancements to PF6.

This release addresses a significant amount of feedback, number of suggested features and other issues you shared with the Project Foundry team since the initial release of PF6. These enhancements are available to all of our customers as of today.

We timed this release so that as an advisor you will have an opportunity to review and practice with this new functionality over the Christmas vacation time. We recommend you take a small amount of time to familiarize yourself with the enhanced functionality that shows up throughout PF6. Many ‘under the hood’ enhancements are aimed at significantly improving the reliability and predictability of PF6, which are more difficult to pinpoint on the screen. However, a number of enhancements address the overall user experience, reducing frustration, introducing consistency and saving steps to achieve a goal.

This a sampling of enhancements we made in this release of Project Foundry.

  1. Forms now will appear without ‘double scroll bar’. This improves the efficiency of scrolling to the desired section in the form on forms with large amounts of information.
  2. Sorting Time Logs is now implemented independently from sorting the summary information in the right margin
  3. Students can no longer delete a task that was created by an advisor
  4. In the ‘Students’ tab, it is now possible to select allgroupsindividual students in left side listing.

Additionally, a number of enhancements were made to improve the stability and dependability of Project Foundry 6 for you.

Descriptions of some of the enhancements

Forms now will appear without ‘double scroll bar’

What is it?

In the past, when forms contained a significant amount of information, both the form itself, as well as the PF6 window it was contained in, would generate a scroll bar to move the window up and down. With this enhancements, there will be only 1 scroll bar, making navigation easier, quicker and less frustrating.

Why did we introduce this feature?

This was a technical implementation that had not been sufficiently addressed in previous release packages that was causing confusion and frustration among our users. We streamlined the underlying functionality to reduce that amount of unnecessary steps for our users.

Time Logs ‘work’ tab allows for editing time logs independently from displaying the summary information in the right margin.

What is it?

The middle window would show a changing subset of time logs depending on the time range selected in the right margin. This is now functioning independently from each other.

Why did we improve on this feature?

Allowing the date range in the right margin to influence the selection of time logs in the central listing would introduce confusion and the possibility of error in the processing of changes made to individual time logs.

To do this, perform the following steps:

  1. Access your advisor environment
  2. Navigate to ‘Experiences’
  3. Select an experience to review
  4. Navigate to ‘Work’ tab
  5. Navigate to ‘Time Logs’ tab
  6. Manipulate the selection date range in the right hand margin. The middle window shows no change in number of time log entries.

 

Students can no longer delete a task that was created by an advisor

What is it?

PF now prevents a student from ‘moving’ or ‘deleting’ a task that was assigned to him or her by the advisor.

Why did we introduce this functionality?

Advisor added task to student project. Student can only edit

Advisor added task to student project. Student can only edit

This functionality was enhanced to behave consistently. Students should not be able to modify items that advisors has added to their experience, either as comments, tasks or evaluations.

To see this, perform the following steps:

  • Access your advisor environment
  • Navigate to a student experience that is active.
  • Navigate to the ‘Work’ tab, then to the ‘Tasks’ tab.
  • Select ‘Add Task’
  • Add a task and assign it to the student (note that by default, all students associated with the experience will be on the list to receive the task).
Student added task. Available for edit, move and delete.

Student added task. Available for edit, move and delete.

 

 

The two screen shots show the difference in available edit menu options between an advisor assigned task (on the right) and a student self assigned task (to the left)

 

In the ‘Students’ tab, it is now possible to select all, groups, individual students in left side listing.

What is it?

A more user friendly way for advisors to find specific students, or students in specific (advisory) groups quickly.

Why did we introduce this functionality?

As schools add more students to the Project Foundry workflow system to support their learning, the original lists were becoming too long and unwieldy to find specific students. We’ve now introduced mechanisms that make it easier and faster to find the right student whose experience needs to be edited or reviewed.

As a result, an advisor’s time spent per student reviewing work should be reduced.

To do see this, perform the following steps:

  1. Log in as an advisor.
  2. Navigate to ‘Experiences’
  3. Select an Active experience
  4. The left hand margin will now show a list of students associated with the experience.
  5. At the top of this list, next to the title (‘Members’) a sorting mechanism will be available.
  6. The initial mechanism will order student names alphabetically ascending or descending.

This mechanism is available in user lists in the left hand margin. It will only appear when it makes sense: For instance, when the list of students shown is greater than 5.

 

What’s Next?

This release resolves many bug issues and requested improvements. Our team is already working on the next release which will cover addressing the following functionality:

  • Rolling out improvements in sorting and filtering through the application, where it makes sense to do so.
  • Addressing opportunities for introducing consistent functionality and removing those occurrences where this is not the case today.
  • Improvements to presenting the Calendar
  • Correcting anomalies in the calculation of content targets and credits

Release Update 12.12.2016

What's new in Project Foundry?

 

On Dec. 9th we released a set of enhancements to our platform. This release addresses a significant amount of feedback, number of suggested features and other issues you shared with the Project Foundry team since the initial release of PF6. These enhancements are available to all of our customers as of today.

We timed this release so that as an advisor you will have an opportunity to review and practice with this new functionality before your new week starts. We recommend you take a small amount of time this weekend to familiarize yourself with the enhanced functionality that shows up throughout PF.

This a sampling of enhancements we made in this release of Project Foundry.

  1. Students are now prevented from editing, deleting or moving tasks after approval by an advisor.
  2. Advisors can now filter task lists for all students by up to 3 criteria.
  3. Advisors can now sort & filter student time logs shown in the portfolio tab.
  4. Admin roles can now add new Users through import of spreadsheet with a layout that reflects their school format.

Additionally, a number of enhancements were made to improve the stability and dependability of Project Foundry 6 for you.

Description of some of the enhancements

Students are now prevented from editing, deleting or moving tasks after approval by an advisor.

advisor view

advisor view

What is it?

The edit menu for the individual task now will show ‘strike out’ font on menu functionality that is no longer available, if the task has been approved.

Why did we introduce this feature?

Once an advisor has reviewed and approved a student task associated with an experience, the student should not be allowed to modify that tasks, unless the advisor agrees with the reason this is necessary and ‘unlocks’ the task.

Verifying a task triggers a message to the student(s) whose task is/are being modified.

To do this, perform the following steps:

student view

student view

  1. Access your advisor environment
  2. Navigate to experiences, All Members
  3. In ‘Overview’, identify a task that is ready to be verified
  4. Select ‘verify’ from the options to the right of the task

In the student view, for the same task that was just verified, the student will now see those menu actions that are no longer available indicated with ‘strike-out’ font. The actions can no longer be performed.

Using Tasks to Manage Projects

You are building your first house. So far you have poured the slab (which could have cost less if you had priced other companies), framed it up (which took a bit longer than expected since you ran out of lumber), and are ready to put on the shingles … Wait, what? I thought YOU were supposed to buy the nail gun???  

While building your first house is a difficult project, it can be made simpler by breaking down the final product (a finished house) into a set of tasks (including gathering the materials, resources, knowledge) and clearly ordered steps of completion.  How detailed a task list is can vary, depending on one’s knowledge of the subject and experience with the process of creating the final product.  According to the Buck Institute for Education, “it is helpful to write out the tasks with enough specifics for you to identify any resources you may have to gather.” These resources may include skills, time, information, tools, materials, people, technology, etc. Anything you need to get the job done!

A task list not only needs to include tasks, but also a timeline. Set a date by which each task will be accomplished. This can often be an eye opener to the amount of time a project will take to complete, as well as the order for the tasks (you need to order lumber before you can build walls, but after determining the amount of lumber needed). These benchmarks will keep your project moving efficiently. While the order of tasks and amount of time needed for tasks may seem like a “no brainer” to some, to a novice these are essential pieces of information that cannot be overlooked!

Lastly, each task has to be assigned to the respective project member(s) who will be accomplishing it.  There will be no progress if the project members don’t know who is supposed to do each task; and progress will be slower than anticipated if someone is working alone when, in fact, they should have been working together with help of other project members.

Now, here’s the best part…Project Foundry can help your students do all of this! Within most project request forms there is a Task prompt that allows users to create a list of tasks or to-dos for their project (if you don't see one, your Admin user can easily add one). Encourage and guide your students to create a list of skills, activities, resources, and time allotments that need to be achieved in order to create the product.

taskPrompt.png

Once entered into the request form, Project Foundry will automatically keep users notified of upcoming tasks and benchmarks they set for themselves. Students can manage their tasks for all their projects simultaneously via the Tasks component on the student homepage.  

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 6.58.10 AM.png

Advisors can also see/manage all of a student's tasks via the advisor home page, as well as see project tasks for any given project.

During the completion of a project, the advisor role provides the functionality to verify the completion of tasks by students. This features is useful when a student has notified the advisor they're done with a task (the advisor can then verify the completion), as well as during a seminar or jointly-managed project to keep a group of students moving forward. 

Lastly, we are aware that some projects bring unforeseen tasks. Project Foundry lets both students and advisors add tasks in the middle of projects, too!

What are your thoughts and ideas on how to use tasks to manage a project? Please share them with others who are, like you, helping students become successful project managers!