Service-Learning Quality Assessment Tool (SLQAT)

GivePulse is honored to be supporting the team of researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Georgia developing a standardised assessment tool designed to provide a quantitative measure of quality for credit-bearing service-learning courses. The team has been hard at work for the past five years, as part of a U.S. Department of Education-funded national project, focused on investigating the impacts of community engagement on higher education student’s educational success. 

The Service-Learning Quality Assessment Tool (SLQAT) incorporates a set of 28 service-learning practices that research studies have found essential for promoting positive student outcomes.  The tool takes into account these elements to establish a composite numerical score that indicates the “quality” of service-learning courses.

The research team has shared preliminary versions of this measurement tool with scholars and practitioners at conferences and workshops across the globe for input and feedback.  They are now inviting you to join in the second phase of the research focused on assessing the reliability and validity of the tool.  They are specifically looking for service-learning scholars, practitioners, and supporters to assign relative weights to each of the instrument’s 28 elements by completing a survey in which you will assign each element a score, based on what you believe its level of influence is on student learning outcomes. The survey will take about 20 minutes to complete.

Complete the SLQAT Instrument Weights Survey here: https://slqat.givepulse.com/survey/take/SoQa8GnFW8M1O3YKkoHZ

Virtual Conferences: Highlevel takeaways on #ACCP2020

Even as states begin to reopen, group gatherings will continue to be limited as a crucial safety precaution. But this does not mean that important events need to be postponed or cancelled — conferences, for example, can be just as meaningful and productive as ever!

Virtual conferences offer the chance to consider important questions and work together to come up with answers, without taking any unnecessary risks with people’s health. This is a screenshot of Hildy Gottlieb, co-founder of Creating the Future, encouraging us to broaden our way of thinking to change the world.

GivePulse teammates attended the Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals (ACCP) conference on April 30 and May 1 (the second half of the conference will happen in June with a virtual networking opportunity for attendees during mid Month), where, in addition to engaging in important conversations regarding corporate social responsibility in these unprecedented circumstances, we also had the chance to think through the Dos and Don’ts of virtual conferences. As with virtual volunteering, it is important to be guided by best practices to make sure that everyone stays connected to and invested in these conversations. 

Below are our main takeaways for those hoping to set up a virtual conference: 

Find creative ways to make sure the conference engages participants

Staring at a screen and listening to speakers may offer less stimulus than most conferences entail. Because of this, it’s important to be creative! Use polls and break-out rooms to encourage participation, and consider shortening speaking times to allow for more breaks. Remind keynote speakers that the format difference may lead to changes in their presentation. Encourage them to avoid lengthy speaking segments in favor of interactive elements. 

Polls encourage audience participation and start important conversations. This screenshot shows the important benefits of encouraging employees to lead through nonprofit board service. 

Conversations, follow up chitchats, downtime, etc. are crucial

One of the most important parts of conferences is the opportunity to chat with others in your area of expertise or interest. This is an opportunity to learn, network, and grow, and needs to be maintained in the virtual environment. Break-out rooms, as suggested above, are a great way to organically recreate this environment; set up some break-out sessions specifically targeted at meeting, greeting or even downtime (either before, between or after panels, just like they exist in “normal” conferences). Create a virtual hub as well, where participants, vendors, and sponsors can display, engage, and promote their organizations and can reach out to like-minded groups. Ideally, offering an opportunity to explore and be engaged with the conference without the need to participate in a panel is important!

Virtual conferences can increase accessibility: 

The ACCP scheduled portions of the conference over different dates across six weeks, and recorded the content sessions for those unable to make these times. They also offered built-in breaks between sessions. All of these reveal the benefit of virtual conferencing: extreme flexibility. Highlight this value, and use it as an opportunity to increase those who engage with the conference. 

By offering recorded conferences, you allow for more members and interested parties to access your conference. This can both increase membership and encourage broader growth. The screenshot shows Stacy Cline from GoDaddy sharing an innovative program model that scales to make long term outcomes and impact.  

Beyond these takeaways, the conference reaffirmed the importance of collaborative and compassionate business models in this time. Compassionate businesses are the ones that survive and thrive. We are grateful to partner with so many compassionate businesses; learn more in our J.B. Hunt blog spotlight and a recent webinar on the impact of what businesses are doing in Austin, Texas through Austin Gives

Guest Writer: Transition to GivePulse – Tips for Success

JCU student at a service-learning placement

John Carroll University (JCU), a Catholic liberal arts institution outside of Cleveland,Ohio with some 3,500 students signed-on with GivePulse in the spring of 2017 with an anticipated launch in fall 2017. They were moving from a custom-coded database that was difficult to navigate, hard to work with, and was quickly becoming obsolete for their expanding needs and level of student engagement. In planning for a successful migration to the GivePulse platform, they developed an integrated implementation plan and worked closely with a variety of key stakeholders at the University to make sure they would be ready to go live for fall 2017. Now after a successful launch and a full academic year of use by students, faculty, and staff, the director of the Center for Service and Social Action at JCU, Katherine Feely, SND, shares her five tips for success and other helpful hints when thinking about your own transition to GivePulse.

  1. Work closely with your IT department – Review the technical dimensions of the product, including data security, firewalls, scripts needed to run, and the data interface with your student information system. Involve your IT team every step of the way. Enlist their support to migrate the data from your previous platform.
  2. Test the Data – Before doing anything test the integrity of your existing data to make sure you have everything you need.  Identify the essential fields that will be migrated over and match them to the appropriate fields in GivePulse. JCU migrated test data first, comparing that data to their “reliable and verified” data and checked for errors. JCU found key data elements that needed to be re-uploaded, fields that didn’t match up, and scripts that had to be adjusted. Once satisfied, we proceeded full-force with the data migration.
  3. Training, Training, Training! Train every staff member. JCU trained all summer before going live (even those who didn’t necessarily need to know the new platform). Work together as a team so everyone understands the platform. Create a training plan with step-by-step instructions to make sure key stakeholders understand the new platform before going live. Create “test” events, registrations, activities, partners, courses, etc. so you can understand how to navigate each one. Staff members should navigate the site as a student user in order to understand navigation from their perspective.
  4. Utilize the GivePulse Team – Periodic Zoom calls to GivePulse are a great way to go over various features if you can’t understand a feature on our own. JCU staff would explore different features, gather questions in summarized format, and email them in advance to the GivePulse team, then we would work through the questions during our calls.  By working together in the actual platform and gaining a greater understanding of the architecture and capabilities of GivePulse, we could gain the confidence we needed to launch and avoid the pitfalls of ignorance.
  5. Monitor the Roll Out – Have all eyes on roll-out when going live and catch things early!  At JCU we had 600 to 700 students registering for academic service-learning placements during the course of four days. We knew that if we were going to fail, we were going to fail big. We had a few early registration roll outs with targeted courses to make sure all would work as hoped. During these first few days, we were in close touch with GivePulse to troubleshoot and their team was amazing! Their responsiveness and assistance made a huge difference – that was part of the success.
Our Challenges
  • Moving away from a complicated custom-coded database, we had to figure out what we really needed to keep, and what we didn’t.
  • We really had to learn a whole different language and a way of engaging with the registration process. It could be challenging at times, but it was totally worth it.
  • Personnel changes! We lost our database staff member just before the migration started, making it a huge challenge, but it forced me as director to really get in the weeds and learn about GivePulse from the inside out.
Getting Buy-In from Stakeholders
  • Schedule meetings with your various stakeholders to showcase what GivePulse can do. We provided presentations to various departments and decision-makers, showing them how they would benefit from using the platform, and how it could ease their workload.
  • Meet with your director of IT and some team members.  We conferenced with the GivePulse team so we could clear up as many technical questions about data integration, security, etc.  With their support, everything went very smoothly.
  • After completing the first full academic year with GivePulse, we met with our IT director and the team to thank them for their support, and to show them what a difference GivePulse made in our work, data analytics, and in providing an excellent student experience. They appreciated seeing how their hard work and input mattered in advancing the mission of the University.
What Would I Do Differently
  • Not very much. We had a full year of lead time, and we needed it.  Migrate early over the summer – not in August.

GivePulse is a great platform.  It was an excellent choice and has such robust capacity that we are so glad we made the switch. We would never think about going back to the risk and headache of a custom-coded database when we have such a great platform and a team of technical and higher education civic engagement experts partnering with us at GivePulse.



Katherine Feely, SND
Director
Center for Service & Social Action
John Carroll University

GivePulse Collaborates with Campus Labs to provide Community Engagement Capabilities for Member Campuses

Making the Announcement of Campus Labs Collaboration

Austin, TX, March 4, 2018 – We are excited to announce a new collaboration with Campus Labs®, a leader in helping students connect with and manage co-curricular engagement opportunities, through an enriching integration with the community engagement functionality in GivePulse®.

Established in 2001, Campus Labs delivers an integrated platform that provides an end-to-end solution for setting strategic goals, collecting evidence, and reporting actionable insights. Today, 17 years after its founding, over 1,300 higher education institutions utilize the Campus Labs platform to manage their mission-critical information. Their Campus Labs Engage solution allows campus administrators to connect students to meaningful and guided opportunities, manage and track their involvement, and showcase the institution’s impact on the student experience.

Ryan O’Connell, Campus Labs Senior Product Manager for Student Engagement, stated  “the team at GivePulse is very talented” and that “our Engage Member Campuses are going to love their expertise in service-learning and their fresh take on community service management.”

This new GivePulse integration will enable Campus Labs Engage Member Campuses to take advantage of the thoughtful and vast community service promotion, management, and tracking tools within the GivePulse technology; while serving as a valuable resource for student engagement exploration and documentation in Engage. The amazing Campus Labs team will collaborate with GivePulse to bridge together and strengthen a more connected student engagement experience.

“GivePulse is excited to collaborate with Campus Labs to streamline community engagement for students,” said George Luc, GivePulse’s Chief Civic Evangelist and Cofounder. “Together we will enable community organizations to partner with higher-ed institutions on curricular and co-curricular service activities, research, and projects advancing social good!”

To learn more or attend the April 17th webinar, you can go here: https://www.campuslabs.com/resources/upcoming-webinars/enriching-service-management-a-preview-of-our-integration-with-givepulse/

Making the Announcement of Campus Labs Collaboration