Echo allows you to set accounts as "observers" of other accounts. Most commonly, this feature is used to connect parent accounts to their students or to connect resource teachers to the students they are supporting.
As an observer, parents can access:
- student grades
- student assignments (submitted and upcoming)
- course agendas
- student feed
- install Echo Viewer mobile app on their iPhone or iPad devices
Typically, parent accounts are created using an import file created from data exported from the student information system. You can also create parent accounts individually.
IMPORTANT: Creating accounts for parents is a two step process:
- Create the accounts
- Associate the account with the student(s)
TIP: Using Bright Bytes to sync Echo with your student information system(SIS) can be configured to create parent accounts and associate them with their students. To learn more about this option, see How do I Sync Echo with my Student Information System?
New Tech Network recommends using a separate domain to manage parent accounts. Although managing a separate domain adds a layer of complexity, the benefits of using a parent domain include:
- Keeping parent accounts from cluttering up the school domain accounts.
- Simplifies parent account management
- Keeps user lists more manageable
- Allows parents to have one consistent account for multiple children in different schools even if students move between schools
- Allows schools to use a unique content for the parent's login page
If your parents already exists in a school domain, you may simply 'move' them to the Parents domain. See How do I move users from one domain to another? for more information.
If you don't have access to your district's Parents domain, please contact the Echo Help Center.
Exporting Data From SIS
Exporting and using the right data to create parent accounts can make the job of associating them with the student a simple process. Read all of this document before creating the parent accounts so that you can make the most of your SIS's data.
WHAT TO EXPORT:
- Student ID Number
- Student First Name
- Student Last Name
- Parent First Name
- Parent Last Name
- Parent ID Number (optional if SIS generates a unique ID number for each parent)
- Parent Email
Generating Parent Account Using An Import File
Use the data exported from your SIS to generate an Echo User Import File with the following columns. Blue items are from the file exported from the SIS.
- Action - When creating new accounts, use "Add"
- First name - The parent's first name
- Last name - The parent's last name
- Username - Must be unique, we recommend using the parent's email address for their user name
- Email - The parent's email
- Password - Use a formula or password generator to
- External ID - Optional, if the SIS stores a unique user ID for each parent, you can use it here
- Userspace - Optional if creating parents in different domains using one file
- meta-EchoUserType - Use "Parent" to avoid these accounts from being counted against your licenses
Associating Parent Accounts With Students Using An Import File
In order to associate parent accounts with students, it is necessary to use a unique identifier for each. In some cases, this data is immediately available from the SIS export. In other cases, the data must be manipulated or combined from various sources.
Columns used to identify parents (observer)
-- or --
- User External Id
-- or --
- User Id
Columns headers used to identify student (observee)
- Observee Username
-- or --
- Observee External Id
-- or --
- Observee User Id
In cases where the parent account is in a different domain from the student (i.e. when a Parents domain is used), it will also be necessary to identify the domain of the student.
- Observee Domain Id
-- or --
- Observee Userspace
In this example, the original export file contained the student's school ID number and the parent's email address. This association allow for a simple import file to be created. Because the district is using a Parents domain, an additional column was added to identify the student's domain. (See template)
A - "Add" in the action column to create a new observation record
B - The parent's email address that was used to create the "Observer Username"
C - The student's school identification number which had been imported into the "External Id" field
D - The student's home school's userspace (the first part of the Echo URL)
Once the file is ready, select Import observers from the domain vertical menu.
Final Step: Promoting Echo With Parents
As a final step, take advantage of open house, orientation meetings, parent clubs, or even sporting events to promote Echo. The more parents access Echo, the more connected they will be with their child's school work. Here are two templates that might come in handy:
Echo is constantly being improved based on the feedback from users and we strive to keep our documentation up to date. If this document doesn’t match what you are seeing in Echo, please let us know.