Building Templates

For those requiring a greater detail of information on building a template, this article should provide everything one would need.

To Build a Template

Once you have created the Elements, Checklists and Value Lists required to collect the data you need, you can assemble them into the instrument or form that we call a Template. The Template is what you fill in with observed data, and upon which the reports are based. The first step in creating any element is to navigate to the area where elements are created. This is done by selecting ‘Build’, and then ‘Templates’ (Fig. 1)

Figure 1 - The Build Menu

Templates are edited and created by selecting the ‘Templates’ tab (Fig. 2) which lists all of the current elements and has a a button to create new ones.

Figure 2 - The Template Menu

Selecting ‘New’ to create your template will popup the New template window (Fig. 3).

Figure 3 - The New Template Window

Before you can begin to build your template, you give it a name and must indicate if there will be a ‘subject’ (identifiable person) for the walkthroughs that this template will make. If there will not be anyone identified (i.e. an anonymous walkthrough), then you should select <none>. Otherwise select the appropriate subject (Teacher, Principal, Administrator or Student). Of course you need to have the teachers or students etc. available for access in your site(s). Figure 4 shows ‘Teacher’ selected as the subject.

Figure 4 - The New Template Window with Teacher indicate as the subject

If you own an existing template, or have been given permission to copy someone else’s, you can copy the template and then edit it. When making a copy, you can select ‘Copy all elements as new elements’ which will give you a completely new set of elements (with the same names as the original) and this is not usually recommended as you could then have many elements with the same names and not be sure which is being used where. After indicating who (if anyone) the subject of the walk-throughs will be, you enter an appropriate name for the template and then select ‘Next’. The next step brings you to the Template Building Screen which is organized with tabs ( Figure 5).

Figure 5- The Template Building Screen

The General Information Tab is where you provide some basic information about how the template will operate, the Manage Filters Tab is where you employ any filters you would like to use, the Manage Elements Tab is where you build your template, and the Signatures Tab is where you can enable and control up to 3 electronic signatures on your form - controlling who can sign, if signing locks the form, what text is displayed to someone signing, and who if anyone should get an email when the form is signed. To begin your template creation, you would select General In- formation. You can change the name of your template by editing the Template Name. If you intend to share the template with others, you may wish to enter a Template Description. The subject of the of the observations has already been selected a ‘Teacher’, but it can still be changed in the Select Subject box. Select Form, Select Default Print Format and Select Export Type, are usually left as-is as in most cases they will not be any options. If there have been any custom reports created for you, they will be available for selection in the Select Custom Report box.

In the General Settings box, you can choose to allow users to attach files to their forms, and if you have purchased iCoach (a Private, video-based instructional coaching system), you can select this template to be made available for rating videos.

There are 2 optional filters that you can integrate into your template. Figure 6 shows an example where Grade and Subject are the filters being used.

Figure 6- Using Filter 1 ( Grade) and Filter 2 (Subject) in an observation.

To enable a filter, select the type of input the user will use. a ‘String’ (text input) is not a very good idea as it will skew reporting if users do not always spell things in the exact same way ( ‘1’, ‘GR 1’, ‘GR-1’, ‘grade 1’, ‘grade-1’, etc. would all be taken as different items. Because of this type of problem, filters are typically selected from a list of items presented to the user, and this is initiated from a Value List. Figure 7 shown setting Filter 1 to a Value List. To do this you select a value list from those you have already created (you can both View one or you can create a New one on-the-spot), and then selecting the default value from the list that the user will see. Figure 6 shows ‘~Select a Grade~’ as the default value for Filter 1.

Figure 7- Selecting a Value List for use with Filter 1

Figure 8 shows the completion of setting up Filter 1. ‘Grade’ is the selected Value List, ‘~Select a Grade~’, is the selected default value form the list, and the filter was named ‘GRADE:’

Figure 8 - A completed setup for Filter 1

In addition to the 2 filter option, there is a third option which is to have a note box at the top of the form whose contents will not be used in reporting, but could be useful when viewing the observation itself. Furthermore, if you enable this text field box, you can have some default wording that can guide the user on what to enter. Figure 9 shows setting up an optional Text Field note box with a default text entry, and Figure 10 shows the result when the template is used to make an observation.

Figure 9 - a completed Text Field set-up

Figure 10 - Making an observation with Filters and Text Field being used.

Once General Information has been entered, the Manage Elements tab is selected, and you are shown the screen where you assemble the contents of your template. The left side of the screen shows you all the elements you have already created, and the right side of the screen shows all the elements that have been used to build your template. Figure 11 shows the initial Manage Elements screen when creating a new template and the Template Elements side is empty.

Figure 11 - The Manage Elements screen

If you have created or been given a large number of elements, it could be difficult to locate the ones you wish to use since initially, as everything is shown in the list. Figure 11 shows Labels, Rubrics and Drop Lists for example. A handy feature is the ‘View by Type’ selector as shown in Figure 12, which will only show a single type of element, making it much simpler to locate what you want, and once selected, only that type of element is listed. Figure 13 shows the Manage Elements screen with Drop Down Lists as the selected type of element.

Figure 12 - Selecting an element type to view

Figure 13 - The Manage Elements screen with Drop Down List type selected

You select an element to include in your template by clicking on the ‘+’. This moves it from your list of Available Elements ( you can only use an element once in any template), and places it on the right side of the screen as a Template Element (Fig. 14), with the properties for the element shown.

Figure 14 - The Manage Elements screen with an element selected

The element description is highlighted in yellow until the template is saved so you will always know what is only on your computer screen and what is permanently a part of your template. Figure 15 shows how you can Remove an element (move it back to the list of available elements), Edit an element, Change the page an element is on (when you have more than a single page in your template), Change the order of the element on the page, and Collapse the properties listing.

Figure 15 - Element properties

The element properties themselves let you attach an existing checklist (or create a new one without leaving the template), add a Media Capture option (image, document or audio), to the element, control who can edit the element, add a note box or enable timeline (scripting), require the element to have a value before the observation is saved, enable a dialog box, or show the element’s history. Figure 16 shows the Quick Settings that can be applied to all elements on a page, and Figure 17 shows the legends for the element.

Figure 16 - The Quick settings options

Figure 17 - The element’s legend

In addition to the Quick Settings and Element Properties control, you can also control the Element Numbering, adding pages , deleting pages and editing page names (Fig. 18).

Figure 18 - The Template properties with non element numbering selected

Once you have created your template, you need to Save it (Fig. 19).

Figure 19 - Template saving and options

Once saved, you can preview your template, share it with others, and if you have made changes to an existing template and wish to delete all previous observations recorded using the template, you can Clean it.

If you wish to employ electronic signatures, select the Signatures tab (Fig 20), where you can control who can sign, the instructions given, and what occurs upon signature.