Deeper Dive into Virtual Academy's Enhancements

Being a public safety professional, we know you deserve more and we hope these enhancements to our platform help you and your staff develop more training, manage your workload more easily and much more.  In this article, we will go over a brief description of some of the big-ticket items you can expect to come your way on your Virtual Academy Platform over the next couple of weeks.  Just in case you don’t have much time, here are some of the highlights:

  • Better communication through General Orders, Announcements and Discussion Forums
  • More engaging content through interactive courses and DIY Roll Call training
  • Streamline training management through Homepage, Eforms, Reporting and Gradebook Enhancements.

Still with us? Let’s take a deeper dive.

Homepage

You know that overwhelming feeling you get when you KNOW you have some training to finish up but you keep thinking to yourself, I’ll do it later… Then, “later” comes and it turns out you have 6 courses to finish by the end of the year and it's December 12th!  To help make sure this doesn’t happen to you (again) we have added an enhancement to the homepage that shows you how many Active courses you currently have assigned.

General Orders- Policies and Procedures

General orders used to be only viewable by those in your group or district.  For large departments, this made disseminating General Orders out to all their staff difficult.  Our job is to make your job easier, not harder, so NOW you can disseminate them across groups/districts.  If you are wondering whether or not this applies to your department, feel free to reach out to our technical support staff through your Virtual Academy Help button.

Announcements

Announcements modules throughout Virtual Academy have been enhanced to allow you to choose whether or not notifications go out after posting.  This is great if you are managing multiple departments on one system.  Now you can post an announcement in text, video or document form without forwarding to everyone’s emails or phones, if you choose.  Just like reactions and comments, the default setting is to send push notifications but for those who prefer it as optional, you are good to go!

Profiles

Profiles have been updated with a new, cleaner look.  No changes to functionality were made but log in and check it out!  We will wait for you to OOOOOO and AHHHHHH.

Eforms

We very rarely remove functionality from Virtual Academy but we have altered Eforms use in this case. We have removed the Eform editor and now provide the building of those Eforms as a service, free of charge.  Whether you are wanting to track address changes, purchase requests or time-off, we can build those out for you.  We have also added the ability to add logos to your forms.  We do provide 3 example forms on every TMS, but please don’t limit yourself to those.  Contact your partner support team to discuss some paperwork hurdles you have, and let’s see how we can help!

Roll Call

Now calling all training officers wanting to build your own roll call trainings!!!  It is here!  You can now upload your own videos and build out roll call trainings relevant to your department.  This is achieved by clicking the edit button in the top left corner of a roll call course in Roll Call Course Assignment.  This will open the Roll Call Course Designer where you can then add a Video, Image, Document, Embed a YouTube or Vimeo video or a Google Slideshow.  We also cleaned up how you interact with the roll call catalog, making it easier to search and identify the training to fit your needs.

State Reporting

Our State Reporting Tool is a quick way for you to access the training you need to report on.  This could be to the state or it could be to other governing bodies.  Therefore, we have added the ability to include Non-approved training to the list, so you can easily export a list of all training recorded in Virtual Academy.  The default in the system is to not include non-approved training, but if you are running to a meeting in 15 minutes and need to give the Chief or the Director a snapshot of the training taken so far, we’ve got you covered.

Classroom

Originally, Virtual Academy was designed for more asynchronous training, meaning not everyone had to be in the training at the same time, but times they are a-changing.  We have several clients asking for the ability to have discussion forums in their classrooms and you now can!  Once you start creating your course, contact tech support to have the discussion forum added.  You can also request a discussion forum to be added to any of Virtual Academy’s courses as well.

Presentations

We are enhancing the design of our courses.  We are bringing you more video and less talking head.  Along with that, we are making sure the content we produce is interactable.  Want to see an example?  Check out Security Assessment for Places of Worship when it debuts soon!

Gradebook

Gradebook has been completely redesigned for a more user-friendly experience.  It also now has the ability to grade discussions if they have been added to that course.

General Fixes

We are also pushing out some general fixes to streamline and enhance the user experience. These include:

  • Adding more user-friendly instructions for different tool sets
  • Resolved a bug where fill in the blank sometimes did not grade correctly
  • Resolved a bug where sometimes publishing a custom course would cause navigation on left hand side to look odd
  • Fixed issue where sometimes the course archive would not open in IE11
  • Resolved a bug so that if you create a roll call and do not add officers, it will show in the list correctly
  • Fixed an issue where unpublished courses showed in Course Assignment
  • Resolved a bug where sometimes officers could access roll calls before start date

Have any questions about these enhancements or how you can use your new tools?  Contact technical support at 855-227-9119.