How School Administrators and Teachers Can Maximize Distance Learning with Google Using zenphi

How School Administrators and Teachers Can Benefit from Google Workspace for Education Workflow Automation

May 25, 20210 CommentEducation Use Cases , General , zenphi Use Cases

Do you want to make distance learning easier for your teaching staff? Then buckle up because Google Workspace for Education can help. With Google workflow automation, your teaching staff can focus more on teaching.

Google Workspace
As authorities in charge of educating young, brilliant minds, school administrators and teachers have their plates full of responsibilities. And the fact that they are still grasping the concept of remote learning and how it works. That is why Google Workspace for Education is on full throttle to answer the increase in demand for easy-to-use distance learning systems.
 
Did you know that you can cut a good chunk of manual data entry work? This is especially true for those who are already utilizing Google Workspace Education who are doing Google automation. Google Workspace workflow automation can connect all your favorite Google Apps in one seamless system. This will allow you to execute repetitive tasks any time with only one or two clicks, so you can focus on tasks that matter.

Automating Tasks on Distance Learning Platforms like Google Workspace for Education

Let’s do a recap first of what automation is in the digital context. With most of our work performed online, we are also using more and more tools. And a lot of times, we copy and paste data from one tool to the next, creating more and more manual data entry tasks. These tasks stack up on top of each other, and the next thing you know, you are drowning doing small mundane tasks.
 
But when you automate, you can execute and deliver results with but a few clicks. Because of this, you can perform your tasks with little intervention from you. So if you are currently using Google Workspace for Education for your distance learning, start automating your workflows.
 
Below are some of the tasks school administrators and teachers can automate on Google Workspace for Education:
 
  • Enrolment. Even using digital tools like Google Apps, you still need to carry out data entry. Automating your distance learning enrolment on Google Workspace minimizes the effort of manually updating your spreadsheets every time a new enrolment form comes in.
 
  • You can now onboard and offboard students at the beginning and end of the year in a breeze. By automating your student onboarding workflow, you can now create hundreds of student accounts within your admin console.
 
  • Create personalized emails for parents and guardians without having to type and send them individually.
 
  • Simplifying the approval process for employee sick leaves and paid time off.
 
 
  • Automatically create Google Classrooms and sync student rosters.

How to Start Automating Distance Learning Admin Tasks

Picking out the right Google Workflow automation platform is crucial. It’s because the automation tool you use can make or break your automation experience. You can choose to code or pick a drag-and-drop Google automation platform.
 
The problem with choosing to code is that one of you must be a coding-techy to do so. Or you can also opt to hire a professional to do the coding and pay top dollar for that service.
 
But if you are looking to both speed up your workflows and save some money, then go for the drag-and-drop platform. It should have an intuitive interface, and its concept should be easy to grasp and understand. The good thing is, zenphi has all that and is very beginner-friendly, especially if you are just starting in automation.
 
With zenphi, anyone from your assistants and teaching staff can build any workflow. Even the beginners and non-techy members of our team created their first automated workflows in less than a week.

Automating Distance Learning Award Certificates Creation Process Using zenphi

One of the repetitive tasks teachers perform is creating student award certificates. And I can bet our entire team’s salary for this month that it is something that most teachers perform manually. Typing and copy/pasting information into the award template, and then repeat. It is nothing if it is just a handful of students, but what if you have to do it for each grade level? I can already imagine the hours upon hours of manual work you would have to dedicate and the breaks you have to sacrifice to get it done.

 
But zenphi has a way around this. We can create an automated workflow, and all you need is a certificate template and a list of names and information we need to include in the award.
 
If you want to know then read on. . .

Tools to Automate Your Certificate Creation in Distance Learning with Google Workspace Education

Recognizing a student’s excellent school performance through award certificates is crucial even with distance learning. An award expresses how you value their academic progress, especially those that are working hard.
 
To create this automated workflow, we will need the following tools:
 
  1. Sheets for the list of students who are going to receive awards.
  2. Slides to create the certificate template.
  3. Drive to store the list of students, certificate template, and the newly generated certificates.
  4. zenphi to automate the certificate creation workflow.

Distance Learning with Google: A Step-by-step Guide to Automating Certificate Creation Using zenphi

Below is the step-by-step tutorial of how you can create an automated workflow for your distance learning certificate creation within zenphi.

Step #1:

You need to log in to your Google Workspace for Education account and then go to your Drive. There, click + New button at the top right of your screen and create a new folder. This is where we are going to store all the documents and files we are going to need for the flow.

Creating a folder within your Google Drive to house all the documents and templates needed for certificate creation process in our distance learning.

Step #2:​

Within the new folder, click once more the + New button, this time select Slides. We are going to create the certificate template. Now, you can start designing it however you want. 

Also, make sure to put curly parenthesis on areas you want to populate automatically.

Step #3:

Now, using Sheets, create a list of students who are going to receive the award.

Step #4:

Next, create a sub-folder that will house all the newly-generated certificates.

Creating a sub-folder that will house the generated certificates.

Step #5:

Log in to your zenphi dashboard using your Google Workspace for Education account. You can signup for a free basic account if you haven’t got one yet. And then click + Create Flow button at the top right of your screen to get to the next stage.

Step #6:

Time to select your trigger action. In zenphi, we have several different actions ranging from inbox-watching such as form responses and incoming emails. 

You can also choose a trigger to run on a regular schedule and another that can be triggered manually. In this case, we are going for the Manual Flow, this means this flow will only run when you click the play button.

Choosing Manual trigger as the action trigger for our certificate creation process.

And this is what our blank flow looks like:

The blank workflow within zenphi.

Also, you can click the configuration section to assign a name to this new flow.

Step #7:

Now, it is time to drag and drop the necessary actions to build our automated certificate creation workflow.

First, go to the Designer panel and click the Sheets icon. Then from the dropdown menu, drag and drop the Read Rows action into the empty flow.

Next, click the gear button to configure this action.

Dragging and dropping the Read Rows action into our flow for our distance learning automated award creation using Google Apps.

You can leave the Name field the way it is, but you can also assign a name for the sake of naming convention.

As for Connection, if this is your first flow, you can click the + button to add a new one. In zenphi, Connection is the element that lets you interact and connect with any Google Apps like Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive, Gmail, and more.

Creating Google Sheet Connection wihtin zenphi to connect the Google Sheet API to our flow.

At the File field, click the Drive icon and select the List of Students file from earlier.

Selecting the spreadsheet containing the list of students to receive the award of participation of our distance learning.

Let us make sure that we selected the right sheet in the Sheet Name by clicking the Sheet icon and selecting the “Grade 7 sec. Honor”.

If you scroll a bit further down, we will arrive at the Row section. Then, enable All Rows, this allows all the rows in our spreadsheet to be retrieved when we need to. And if we enable Has Header it will treat the first row of your spreadsheet as headers or column titles. 

Next is to click the Load Columns button, it will load all the columns within our spreadsheet and their corresponding values.

Enabling the rows to retrieve the right information.

Step #8:

The next action we are going to use is Current Date Time under Date Time in the Designer panel.

Again, click the gear button to configure this action.

Dragging and dropping Current Date Time into the flow for our distance learning certificate creation process.

We will opt to leave the Name field as it is and then choose the time zone we want in the Time Zone field.

Configuring the Current Date Time action by specifying the time zone.

Step #9:

Still, under Time Date, let’s drag and drop the Format Date Time action.

And when configuring this action, let’s directly head to the Date field and click the parameter icon. From the Tokens panel, click Current Date Time and select Result. Also, we will set the date format in the Format field.

What this action will do is automatically log the date-time value when you generate the certificates.

Adding the date and date format.

Step #10:

And then go back to the Designer panel, and under Control Flow, let’s select the Foreach item. This particular zenphi action will go through our list row by row to log or retrieve data.

Adding the Foreach Item to our flow. This will go through each row to retrieve and log the necessary information for our distance learning certificate creation.

To configure this action, you can opt to rename the pre-filled name in the Name field. And in the Collection section, click the parameter icon, then select Rows under “List of Students”.

Configuring the Foreach item action of oue distance learning certificate creation flow.

Step #11:

Finally, onto our last action, the Generate Slides under Google Slides in the Designer panel. This action is where the magic happens. Our Certificates will be generated using the Slide template we created earlier.

Drag and Drop Slide

Now, to configure this action, we are naming this action “Generate Certificates” to make it easier for us to identify what this step is for. 

In the Connection field, Let’s click the + button to add a new Drive connection and point to the right Google Workspace account. What this action does is to connect the flow to the Google Drive housing the template.

Configuring our Generate Slides action for our distance learning automated certificate creation.

And then find the Slide template by clicking the Drive icon.

Let’s scroll a bit further down and we’ll arrive at the Destination File section. We will click the Drive icon in the Destination Folder field and select the sub-folder we created.

Let's point to the right sub-folder that will house all the newly generated certificates for our distance learning.

Assign a name to the generated documents.

Let’s make sure to enable the Generate PDf button so the document generated has a PDF version. And as for the Token mapping, these are the fields with the {{}} in our Slide template. 

To start mapping our token, let’s click the parameter icon first, and then select Name[A] under Item.

Mapping the tokens inside our certificate template for our distance learning. This will automatically populate the fields inside the curly parentheses of our certifiate template.

And as for {{Date_given}}, click the parameter once more and select Result under Format Date Time.

Mapping the last token for our distance learning automated certificate creation..

Conclusion

That’s it! Make sure to hit Save and Publish and don’t forget to test this flow to make sure that everything is in place.


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