In the previous articles in the Affiliation series, we provided you with an introduction to the Affiliations functionality, how it works and the benefits it can provide to you as an Administrator of your learning initiative. We also discussed the methods you can use to create an affiliation and a sub-affiliation. Now that you have familiarized yourself with the basics around Affiliations, it is time to learn how to add learners to an Affiliation.
Adding learners to an affiliation is critical. By classifying your learners into Affiliations, Genius opens many possibilities – ranging from the ability to enroll all learners in a specific grouping into a specific course, to the ability to filter reports according to your users’ Affiliation.
In general, there are two ways to add users to an Affiliation: manually or in bulk. The manual methods work very well when it comes to modifying an individual user’s Affiliation status, while the Bulk methods are best used when it comes to modifying many users’ Affiliation status. This article will provide you with step-by-step instructions for both cases.
As we described earlier, the first way to associate learners to an affiliation is to use the tools provided for Administrators in the Genius user interface. You can do this in two locations – through the Administration tab and through the Learners tab, although the process is different in each case. We provide more details on the methods required below:
Through the Administration Tab
The first way to associate a user to an Affiliation is through the Administration tab. When you click on this tab, you will find that there is a heading in the sidebar that reads Users and Access. Under this heading, there are six operations - amongst which there is one called Find Users. Click on Find Users, and the following screen will appear:
Clicking on this tab opens a user interface that allows you to search users. You can filter your search by Role (i.e. whether the user you are looking for is a learner, instructor, manager or administrator) or by Affiliation.
In this case, we are going to search for a user called Aardvarky Aardvark, a convenient way to name a user and make it appear at the top of every list. Type in a few letters in that user’s name, email, login name or role – in this case, we type AARD in the search field, and click Get Data to pull out the results from our search:
We now have a list of all ‘hits’ from our search to the term AARD. For each entry in the list, you will find that there is a pencil icon on the left-hand side of the table. Click on this icon, and a floating screen will appear where you can make changes to the user’s profile:
This screen is essentially a summary of that learner’s Profile information. You can use this screen to assign roles[link: assigning roles] to that user, change his or her name, login, email, etc. – or change that user’s Affiliation. Click on the Affiliation drop-down menu, and all the affiliations in your learning initiative will be displayed for you to choose from:
Select an affiliation from the list, and your learner or user will now be a part of this Affiliation. You can also use this screen to change any aspect you’d like from a learner’s profile information, but unfortunately, you can only make changes to one user at a time.
The advantage of using the Administration tab is that it can be used to associate any user to an Affiliation, regardless of that user’s role.
Through the Learners Tab
The second method available to associate a user with an Affiliation is the Learners Tab. When you first click on the Learner’s Tab, you will see a complete listing of all the active learners in your instance of Genius:
Similarly to the way you would change a user’s Affiliation through the Administration tab, the first step in this case is to find the user you are interested in modifying. We again look for the user called Aardvarky Aardvark by searching for the string ‘AARD’ in the Search box provided in the main section of the Learners page:
When you enter a search term, you are presented with a list of all the learners who returned hits when you initiated that search operation. For each user in the list, you will see a link that leads you to that user’s Profile Page – where you can easily make changes to the user’s information:
In the user’s Profile Page, you can see a summary of the information that Genius holds regarding this Learner. So, more than just that user’s information, you will also see:
- A list of the courses that the learner is currently enrolled in
- A log of the communications sent to that learner
- A log of that learner’s completions or progression in the last 7 days.
When you arrive at a user’s Profile Page, you will see that there are a lot of operations you can perform for each user. As you complete this Introduction section of the Administrator’s Knowledge Base, you will become more familiarized with most of the items in this Sidebar. However, to change a user’s affiliation, all you have to do is go to the Main Information section on the sidebar and look for the heading titled Edit Information. Clicking on this heading will display the following screen, which allows you to change a user’s personal information in the system:
Now, to associate this user to a new Affiliation, all you have to do is click on the drop-down menu under Affiliation, and select an affiliation amongst those available within your organization. Simple!
Note that this method is only available for Learners. If, for example, you want to change an Instructor’s affiliation, you will have to either use a very similar workflow through the Instructors tab (Instructors Tab > Find Users > [Access User Profile] > Edit Information) or use the steps described above to change a user’s Affiliation by using the Administration tab.
In the article above, we described the ways in which you could associate a single learner to an affiliation by using the graphical user interface provided by Genius. However, most learning initiatives have hundreds or if not, thousands of users. How can you associate more than one user to an affiliation?
The only way to do this is to perform a bulk edit of your learners. To perform a bulk edit, you will need to do a .CSV Upload. We will dedicate the rest of this Article to describe how you can perform a .CSV upload to make bulk changes to your user’s profile information.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When you are performing bulk edits that involve Affiliations, it is critical that the Affiliations you want to place your users into have already been created in the system. To learn about how to create an affiliation in Genius, click here[link: how to create affiliations]
Step 1 – Finding the Users you Want to Modify
The first step to performing a bulk edit of a large number of learners is to find them. Fortunately, Genius provides us with the tools to do just that. Click on the Learners tab, and look for the heading Search in the sidebar. The Learner Search interface appears:
Now, you can search for the users that you want to modify. Throughout this example, our aim will be to associate all users named ‘Sebastian’ with the Test Affilation we created earlier[link: creating affiliations article]. To do this, we just search for the name ‘Sebastian’ in the search box, and click Get Data. Genius returns a list of all the users who meet our search criteria:
Genius displays a list of all the users who contain the string ‘Sebastian’ somewhere in their profile information. In total, there are four users – our old friend ‘Aardvarky Aardvark’ [username: aardarky], who has an email address with this name, and three other users, Sebastian Arboleda [username: sarboleda], Sebastian Arboleda-Palacios [username: sarbopal] and finally, NARFY MCNARF [username: mytestuser]. Note the Affiliation column in the Main Content area on the center-right of the screen, showing how none of these users are members of the affiliation we want (Test Affiliation Genius KB).
We do not want to change NARFY MCNARF’s or Aardvarky Aardvark’s Affiliation, since their name is not Sebastian. But now, we have a list of the users we want to focus in. We can proceed.
Step 2 – Exporting those Learners to Excel
Now that you have found a listing that contains the users you want to operate in, you can make changes to those users in Microsoft Excel. Because Excel allows you to manipulate and visualize your data at the same time, it is a lot easier to use Excel to perform changes on large numbers of users.
To export your Search results to Excel, click the Export to Excel button on the upper right-hand corner of your screen. An Excel spreadsheet will be generated and downloaded to your computer, with a title that will read: “GeniusExportDD-MM-YYYY HH_MM_SS.xlsx”, where DD, MM, YYY mean the day, month and year in which the export was generated, and HH_MM_SS represents the time of day (hour, minute and seconds) of the moment in which the export was generated.
Access your Downloads folder, and open this file in Microsoft Excel to review it if you would like:
Step 3 – Obtaining a Sample CSV to Format your Data Correctly for Bulk Editing
One of Genius’ most powerful features is its ability to accept CSV imports to edit large numbers of entries in the system. You can use this feature to create users, or edit the existing entries on large numbers of users. In this case, all we want to do is associate those two users (Sebastian Arboleda and Sebastian Arboleda-Palacios) to an Affiliation.
To do this, we must place the data in the exported Excel file in a CSV – a comma-separated file – that can be ingested by Genius. This file must have a specific format and specific column titles for it to be ingested by Genius. A sample .CSV file you can use as a guide has been attached to this Article.
Open the sample .CSV file and compare it with the exported Excel file you generated earlier. You will find that there are a few differences between the two – outlined in the screenshot below:
Note that Genius will only ingest data in the format that has been specified in the sample .CSV file. This leads us to the next step in this process – updating your user’s information and formatting the data using the guidelines provided in the sample .CSV file.
Step 4 – Updating your User’s Information and Placing the Exported Learner Data in the Sample CSV Format
Now, it’s time to return to Microsoft Excel. Open both documents (the Exported file and the sample .CSV file). Copy the columns in the Exported columns over to the corresponding columns in the sample .CSV file using the following equivalency:
- Login in the sample .CSV file is the same as Username in the output from the Learner’s Search – note that the columns do not match in this case.
- LastName in the sample .CSV file is the same as the first item in the learner’s entry under the Name column in the output from the Learner’s Search (e.g. Arboleda, Sebastian – his last name is Arboleda)
- FirstName in the Learner’s Search is the second item in the learner’s entry under the Name column in the output from the Learner’s Search (e.g. Arboleda, Sebastian – his first name is Sebastian).
- MiddleName is the user’s middle name. If you do not want Genius to modify the existing entry for this field, leave it
- Email is the user’s Email
- Affiliation is the user’s Affiliation. Right now, all of our target learners are registered under the Blackboard Products We want to move them to our “Test Affiliation Genius KB” affiliation that we created earlier. This means that in the .CSV you are preparing, the Affiliation field should read Test Affiliation Genius KB.
- LearningPath is the list of Learning Paths that the learner is currently enrolled in. Leave this field blank if you do not wish for changes to be made to a user’s enrollment status.
- LocalID is a field reserved for learners who may have an internal ID that they wish to include in Genius. This has no equivalency from the
- Password is the user’s Password. Leave this field blank to avoid making changes to the learner’s Password.
- Status denotes whether the learner is Active or Archived.
- Notes correspond to the learner’s Notes that may be included in his or her profile by an Administrator or an Instructor. We will add
This is complicated, but now, you are ready to make changes to the CSV file before you upload the file for Genius. In this example, remember that our goal is to change out the Affiliation of the users Sebastian Arboleda [username: sarboleda] and Sebastian Arboleda-Palacios [username: sarbopal]. Remember: we want these users’ Affiliation to change from Blackboard Products to the Test Affiliation Genius KB affiliation we created earlier[link: creating affiliations].
Edit the sample .CSV file so that it looks like this:
Save your file in Microsoft Excel. Under File > Save As…, set the file type to “Comma-Separated Values” when you save the file. We have saved our example as an Attachment to this Article.
Step 5 – Uploading the Updated CSV
Now that you have completed your CSV, you are now ready to upload it to Genius. Click on the Administration tab, and scroll down until you see the Operations heading in the sidebar to the left of your screen. Under Operations, you should see a link that reads “CSV Import”. Click on that link, and the following screen should appear:
Under Type, you will find a drop-down menu. You can use this drop-down menu to choose what type of data you want to edit or create in Genius. In this case, we want to create Learners, so we choose Learners.
Under File:, you can click Choose File to browse through your local machine and pick the file you recently created via .CSV input. To make sure everything works, click Preview, and you will see a preview of the data that will be edited or created when you upload this .CSV file:
If you are satisfied with the preview, click Choose File again, and pick the file that you just uploaded to the system to perform the preview. Next, click Upload and you should see a record of the records that were updated as a result of this operation:
Once you see this screen, you are set!
Final Step – Double-Check
Let’s quickly double-check that our efforts paid off. We can go back to the Learners tab and click the Search button on the sidebar. We now look for all learners called Sebastian, just like we did at the beginning of our effort.
We can now see that Arboleda, Sebastian [username: sarboleda] and Arboleda-Palacios, Sebastian [username: sarbopal] belong to the affiliation Test Affiliation Genius KB – just like we wanted them to when we performed our CSV import. Note that our “weird” users – AARDVARK, AARDVARKY and MCNARF, NARFY did not undergo any changes, just like we wanted it to. Excellent!
Now, you have gone through the steps to make changes to your learners’ profiles in bulk. If you want to create or make changes on many learners, this is a way to do it. CSV imports allow you to make changes to up to 500 users, so this is a very efficient way to create users, change their names, usernames, even their passwords – or, as this article shows, assign them to a new affiliation.
To learn more…
The next article in the Affiliations series is Assigning Managers to an Affiliation. We have also prepared documentation for you to learn about how to Manage Affiliations in Genius. You can also go back and brush up on how to create Affiliations, or for a more complete overview on the topic of affiliations.
This Article also has two Advanced Administration articles at your disposal. The first article is relevant to Administrators of Genius instances that are running in parallel with a Blackboard Learn LMS. In Affiliations and Roles in your Blackboard Learn Instance[link: ditto], you can learn about the way in which Blackboard Learn Roles and Genius Affiliations work together to create a customized tailored user experience for your learners.
The second article is designed to help you with the topic of CSV uploads in general, which can be tricky. This Article, titled CSV Uploads in Genius[link: how to perform csv uploads in genius article], is designed to help you work through any issues you may be having related to bulk data creation or edits via CSV upload. Please expect both these advanced-series articles to be available for consultation by the first quarter of 2019.