A: Yes! The programmers have recently done an update to Platinum Planner to allow teachers the option to create labs and allow students to sign up for them, rather than automatically add each student in the class to them.
To do this, start by making sure your role is set to “Teacher” in the upper-right of the page, then go to “Labs” in the black toolbar, select “Manage Labs”, and then select “+ Add New Lab”. You should notice a new option at the bottom of the page called “Allow students to sign up for this lab?” with a Yes/No toggle to the right.
“No” is selected by default, and leaving it set to “No” will allow you to create a lab session the same way you have previously. However, choosing “Yes” means that this is a lab session that students can sign up for, and will open up a few additional options.
“Sign Up Starts/Sign Up Ends” are the date ranges that students have to sign up for this lab. The times are defaulted to 12am(midnight), so if you set the Sign Up Starts date to 3/3/16 and the Sign Up End date to 3/14/16, it means that as soon as it becomes 3/3 students can start signing up for the lab session, and they have to sign up before it becomes 3/14.
“Automatically accept student sign-up requests?” allows you to choose whether students are automatically accepted into the lab once they sign up, or if they can sign up for the lab but are not added into it until they are accepted by a teacher for that lab class. Students sign up for labs on their homepage by going to “Labs” and then choosing “Available Labs”, and teacher can accept students by going to “Labs” on their teacher homepage and selecting “Manage Lab Requests”.
“Maximum Students” is the total number of students who can join this lab session. Once that number has been reached, it will not be available for other students to sign up for. The default number is “0”, so if you want any students to be able to sign up for that specific lab session, make sure to change that number.
Once you select “Create Lab” at the bottom, you’ll basically follow the same steps you had used when setting up labs previously. You’ll notice under the “Students” tab though, that no students are selected initially. You can leave this blank, meaning that the number of students you had listed under “Maximum Students” is the number of students that can sign up for this lab, or you can select “Modify Students” and add certain students from the classes associated with this lab. Since the “Maximum Students” is the total that can join the lab, if you set that to “10” and then added 6 students yourself, that would mean that 4 additional students could still sign up for the lab.
An example of where this may come in handy is if you have a standing open lab every Friday at 5pm that was mandatory for your EMT class, but optional for your Paramedic students. You could set your “Maximum Students” to the total number of students that could attend, select both the EMT and Paramedic classes when deciding which classes it should be available to, then choose the “Students” tab, select “Modify Students”, add all of your EMT students, and allow you’re your Paramedic students to sign up for the lab session as needed.
This new option can also be helpful if you have lab sessions for both Wednesday and Thursday, but students only need to attend one of those days. Since only labs that a student has signed up for and been accepted into will show up as a conflict on their calendar, if a student is accepted into the Wednesday lab session, they can still sign up for clinical shifts on Thursday, and vice versa.
If you have any additional questions/comments do not hesitate to Contact Customer Support, or via phone at 616-818-7877.