4/23/2024 – BuiltOnAir Live Podcast Full Show – S18-E04

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In This Episode

Welcome to the BuiltOnAir Podcast, the live show.  The BuiltOnAir Podcast is a live weekly show highlighting everything happening in the Airtable world.

Check us out at BuiltOnAir.com. Join our community, join our Slack Channel, and meet your fellow Airtable fans.

Todays Hosts

Alli Alosa – Hi there! I’m Alli 🙂 I’m a fine artist turned “techie” with a passion for organization and automation. I’m also proud to be a Community Leader in the Airtable forum, and a co-host of the BuiltOnAir podcast. My favorite part about being an Airtable consultant and developer is that I get to talk with people from all sorts of industries, and each project is an opportunity to learn how a business works.

Kamille Parks – I am an Airtable Community Forums Leader and the developer behind the custom Airtable app “Scheduler”, one of the winning projects in the Airtable Custom Blocks Contest now widely available on the Marketplace. I focus on building simple scripts, automations, and custom apps for Airtable that streamline data entry and everyday workflows.

Dan Fellars – I am the Founder of Openside, On2Air, and BuiltOnAir. I love automation and software. When not coding the next feature of On2Air, I love spending time with my wife and kids and golfing.

Show Segments

Base Showcase – 00:01:41 –

We dive into a full working base that will Attendance tracking has been a struggle for years for our after free school music program in Kansas City, MO called Harmony Project KC. After being introduced to Airtable in 2021, I've since transitioned our organization to using Airtable as our primary database for most of our program operations (enrollment, instrument tracking, parent sms communication, invoice tracking, survey tracking, etc.).

Round The Bases – 00:01:40 –

Following Articles Used in this Segment:

[Airtable Community] Airtable is now HIPAA compliant – Airtable Community

[Airtable Community] What's new – Airtable

[BuiltOnAir Community] New Linked Record Button Change

Audience Questions – 00:01:42 –

Kamille Parks answers the Airtable question: “How to manage student weekly scores”

View the question in the community

Answer: Kamille will walk through a base to solve how to manage student weekly scores.

Meet the Creators – 00:01:41 –

Meet Liz Moreland.

Liz is a certified Music Therapist with degrees in Psychology and Music Therapy from UMKC. Before her role as Music Therapy and Impact Manager, Liz served as a violin and viola Teaching Artist at HPKC for 3 and 1/2 years. Currently, Liz is pursuing her MBA with a focus in Arts Innovation through the Global Leaders Institute. In her free time, Liz enjoys playing volleyball and spending time in nature. She is passionate about her family, her pets, data, and making an impact on others through music.

Full Segment Details

Segment: Base Showcase

Start Time: 00:01:41

Student Attendance Tracking

We dive into a full working base that will Attendance tracking has been a struggle for years for our after free school music program in Kansas City, MO called Harmony Project KC. After being introduced to Airtable in 2021, I've since transitioned our organization to using Airtable as our primary database for most of our program operations (enrollment, instrument tracking, parent sms communication, invoice tracking, survey tracking, etc.).

Segment: Round The Bases

Start Time: 00:01:40

Roundup of what’s happening in the Airtable communities – Airtable, BuiltOnAir, Reddit, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Following Articles Used in this Segment:

[Airtable Community] Airtable is now HIPAA compliant – Airtable Community

[Airtable Community] What's new – Airtable

[BuiltOnAir Community] New Linked Record Button Change

Segment: Audience Questions

Start Time: 00:01:42

Airtable Question – How to manage student weekly scores

Kamille Parks answers the Airtable question: “How to manage student weekly scores”

View the question in the community

Answer: Kamille will walk through a base to solve how to manage student weekly scores.

Segment: Meet the Creators

Start Time: 00:01:41

Liz Moreland – Harmony Project KC

Meet Liz Moreland.

Liz is a certified Music Therapist with degrees in Psychology and Music Therapy from UMKC. Before her role as Music Therapy and Impact Manager, Liz served as a violin and viola Teaching Artist at HPKC for 3 and 1/2 years. Currently, Liz is pursuing her MBA with a focus in Arts Innovation through the Global Leaders Institute. In her free time, Liz enjoys playing volleyball and spending time in nature. She is passionate about her family, her pets, data, and making an impact on others through music.

Full Transcription

The full transcription for the show can be found here:

[00:00:00] Intro: Welcome to the Built On Air Podcast, the variety show for all things Airtable. In each episode, we cover four different segments. It's always fresh and different, and lots of fun. While you get the insider info on all things Airtable, our hosts and guests are some of the most senior experts in the Airtable community.

[00:00:26] Join us live each week on our YouTube channel every Tuesday at 11:00 AM Eastern and join our active [email protected]. Before we begin, a word from our sponsor on. On2Air Backups provides automated Airtable backups to your cloud storage for secure and reliable data protection. Prevent data loss and set up a secure Airtable backup system with On2Air Backups at on2air.

[00:00:49] com. As one customer, Sarah, said, Having automated Airtable backups has freed up hours of my time every other week. And the fear of losing anything. Longtime customer, [00:01:00] David states, OntoAir Backups might be the most critical piece of the puzzle to guard against unforeseeable disaster. It's easy to set up and it just works.

[00:01:08] Join Sarah, David, and hundreds more Airtable users like you to protect your Airtable data with OntoAir Backups. Sign up today with promo code BUILTONAIR for a 10 percent discount. Check them out at ontoair. com. And now let's check out today's episode and see what we built on air.

[00:01:37] Dan Fellars: Welcome back to the built on air podcast. We are in season 18, episode four. Good to be with you this day. We welcome back Allie and Kamille and we have with us special guests, Liz Morland. Welcome Liz. 

[00:01:50] Liz Moreland: Thank you for having me. 

[00:01:52] Dan Fellars: Excited to have you on. We'll learn more about Liz and her story coming up later in the show.

[00:01:57] I'll walk us through what we're going to be talking about today. [00:02:00] Well, we start with our around the bases and everything new and exciting that's happened in the last week. Then a quick sponsorship for onto air, and then we'll learn more about Liz and her background and what, what she's been up to, and then she's going to share.

[00:02:17] Her base on how to do student attendance tracking and then how to join our community. And then we'll finish up with Kamille answering an audience question also about students and managing student weekly scores. \

[00:02:32] ROUND THE BASES - 00:02:34

[00:02:34] So with that, around the bases, we'll start with anything new in Airtable features.

[00:02:42] There was one new thing announced, multi level lists and record detail pages. So they now support multiple levels of hierarchy and lists, but this is only on record detail pages. 

[00:02:56] Kamille Parks: So this is welcome because previously [00:03:00] in practically every other instance where you could put a list apart from dashboards, which is relatively new, you would, you could have a hierarchy of up to three levels.

[00:03:10] And then for whatever reason, detail pages, the new version of detail pages launched without it is very confusing and it kind of limited. Where I could actually use the list for you because it didn't have the features of grid, but it also didn't have the features of list view either. And so now this is much more useful than it was previously.

[00:03:33] Dan Fellars: Yep. Yeah, that's good. They added that functionality and I believe all the others say that again. 

[00:03:41] Alli Alosa: I just said, I'm glad to see them starting to close the gap of all those little differences across. What features are available on what page? It just doesn't. Yeah. 

[00:03:51] Kamille Parks: It's like a crapshoot of inconsistency.

[00:03:56] Someday 

[00:03:57] Dan Fellars: Kamille's going to put [00:04:00] together a list of all the differences between features and locations. 

[00:04:05] Kamille Parks: I think I did. 

[00:04:07] Dan Fellars: It 

[00:04:07] Kamille Parks: was, it was like staggering. It was when they first did the re the new detail pages, I kind of went like piece by piece and it was, you know, An interesting arrangement. 

[00:04:20] Dan Fellars: Yeah. So that was the one new feature announced, I believe.

[00:04:26] Yeah. Troy, this is Troy talking about that functionality and. so there's that. All right. We'll go to the built on air community. So here's a post from Scott, friend of the show, interesting dilemma with a client of mine. They're looking for some sort of date dependency Gantt client capability that actually respects the empty days between date records.

[00:04:55] So if you have two day records on a Gantt chart that are dependent and then [00:05:00] you move them, they want the, They want the other date to move. So I believe, so if you like move, or if you change one of the dates, it doesn't change the end date. Is that what he's saying?

[00:05:18] Alli Alosa: It's hard to say. 

[00:05:22] Kamille Parks: Yeah, I am not as well versed in date dependencies within Airtable. These were table wide setting for date dependencies is, you know, something that was introduced this year and I haven't gotten around to playing with it yet and I haven't really transitioned. Old Gantt views into timelines, which it seems like they're positioning to replace Gantt with timeline.

[00:05:47] 'cause you can now do Gantt stuff in the timeline view. So I don't, I don't know if I have an answer for this one. 

[00:05:55] Dan Fellars: Yeah, I think it has to do with dependent dates, right? So if, if you [00:06:00] move one date that's dependent on, or has a dependent date, if you move one, he wants the other to move. Here, here, Scott's listening, he says the date.

[00:06:11] Should move together. Even if there is no overlap, that was his client's request. Yeah, 

[00:06:17] Alli Alosa: I haven't played with the new dependency features much. Unfortunately, I'd like to, but I wonder if you could have some sort of like field. If you've got like a list of your tasks, you could have a field saying like, You know, that have that five days in a field somewhere and add it to the duration that should be included.

[00:06:42] But I don't, again, I'm tired. I'm kind of just talking on the fly here without actually using them, but 

[00:06:49] Dan Fellars: yeah, and people are saying others like smart sheets, right. And, and CODA does it. So, so it's something that they might, they might come up with as they advance their date [00:07:00] dependencies. So it looks like there's still some limitations with date dependencies.

[00:07:10] Scott, let us know if you ever found a workaround for it. Okay. Another one from the built on your community. This is from Max, firm evidence that relational databases are crossing over to the mainstream. This video has 8. 8 million in the last week and how people are reacting to it. I actually watched this video.

[00:07:36] It's kind of interesting. Like they were blown away with like the most simple spreadsheet you could think of, and it's a Google sheet, I believe. And so basically saying if the mainstream is just figuring out that you can do dropdowns in, in spreadsheets, wait till they see Airtable. 

[00:07:55] Kamille Parks: Wow. Okay. There's, there was a post from my [00:08:00] professional organization, the American Planners Association that, the, the article was like, Stop putting your data in spreadsheets.

[00:08:11] And I was like, yeah, and then it was like, use Microsoft access. And I was 

[00:08:16] Dan Fellars: like, there's still a version 

[00:08:18] Kamille Parks: for access out there. It did. I suppose it depends on the use case. I'll say that. No air table is only very recently HIPAA compliant. So, you know, I'll throw that in there. That air table is not suitable for every possible use case, especially, you know, planners, 50 percent of them are public employees.

[00:08:39] And so data security is, like, very much mandated and all that kind of good stuff. But I did. I was laughing so hard just because I, I personally do not use Microsoft access anymore. Yeah, 

[00:08:55] Liz Moreland: I think there's. That's the main, one of the biggest [00:09:00] benefits for moving from like Excel, Google drive spaces like that managing student records.

[00:09:05] Like you have a spreadsheet and so many different folders, even within the same semester that could have five different parent phone numbers. So yeah, air table compatibility with updating information. It's just amazing. 

[00:09:18] Dan Fellars: Yeah. Yeah. Centralized data. For sure. So, all right, moving on. This one comes from LinkedIn.

[00:09:26] So this is the founder of Pori or co founder of Pori talking about last four years. So Pori has been around. So I thought this was interesting. We've, I don't believe we've ever had anybody from Pori on our show. That's one platform that has been around for four years. And I think it's cool. Cause they.

[00:09:45] They kind of went more of the bootstrapped route. I don't believe they ever raised money. This talks about they've never really invested in marketing and they're still just chugging along and it looks like they're doubling down and recommitting to, to growing Pori and not, not [00:10:00] doing other stuff. And so that's cool.

[00:10:03] I think it might still be the two original founders still mostly working on it. And just. Just chugging along, growing a good solid bootstrap product. 

[00:10:15] Kamille Parks: Yeah. Pori was always interesting because it was more, it seemed sort of designed for smaller scale sites than something like stacker and softer, which all started, you know, roughly around the same time from my recollection.

[00:10:31] But, you know, stacker and softer advertised themselves as, you know, store thousands upon thousands of. Like records and this site and whatnot, build full fledged apps. And then there was a certain simplicity about editing sites in Pori. And there, there was a time period where my website was built off of Pori and I moved away, not necessarily because there was anything particularly wrong with Pori.

[00:10:58] I just decided to do [00:11:00] everything. With static HTML, because I enjoy torturing myself. But yeah, I, I've used Pori, before and there, there, I do like certain amounts of simplicity and the, they're also one of the ones that remained. committed to Airtable as the data source, whereas others are, you know, branching out to, you know, we'll accept stuff from Sheets, we'll accept stuff from, you know, any API and whatnot.

[00:11:28] And, Pori was always designed and marketed as a Airtable front end.

[00:11:37] Dan Fellars: So yeah, Samantha, come on the show. If we, I don't think we've ever heard you, but if we have, it's time for an update four years. Give us your four years of working with Pori and Airtable. We'd love to hear it.

[00:11:52] There's a picture of them starting off.

[00:11:57] Yeah, here's one. Oh, That's [00:12:00] when we're going to be doing here's a talk about competitors, a competitor to air table just had a big launch on product times. I believe they reached the top product of the day. And so yeah, it's, they're trying to say, I'm not a big fan of saying like a lot of their marketing is basically like, we're, we're an air table alternative and it looks very, very similar to air table.

[00:12:26] It's, it's pretty much a clone, but. It is a paid product. It is a SaaS product. It's not, it's not a open source or anything, but anyway, Retable is out there gaining traction. 

[00:12:38] Kamille Parks: Yeah. At this point, I am looking at my very specific annoyances with Airtable and what do these other platforms offer and looking very similar is.

[00:12:51] I mean, I cracked as many jokes as I could about what was it? Fire table. And C table. Those are real products versus air table. [00:13:00] At this point, I'm out of jokes. So I'm looking at very specific, you know, core things underneath the product that might not be as visible just from screenshots. Like, how do you handle permissioning and how easy it is to take a chunk of Fields or tables or whatnot and say make this visible here, make this non editable here, et cetera.

[00:13:23] Those are, I'm looking at things from an infrastructure view nowadays. 

[00:13:29] Dan Fellars: Yeah, yeah, I believe I don't see any talk of like automations or interfaces. So it's kind of like Airtable, you know, five years ago. That's 

[00:13:40] Kamille Parks: kind of the problem. You, you often start with like a really good foundation for relational database, but at this point in time, Airtable does a whole bunch of other stuff.

[00:13:50] And so it's fine to replace one product with many, but you then need to find those other. Core pieces, like, do you do everything in make or Zapier for your [00:14:00] automations? Those are the logos for make Zapier. And then the bottom right one, I should know what that is, but I forgot what it is. But those are all automation tools.

[00:14:12] So, like, you know, if you were to replace things, I don't know what the. Key differentiator for re ret is quite yet, I'm sure perfectly fine. But you know, if you're saving money based on their license structure, are you, because you presumably have to incorporate other tools to fill in some gaps that Airtable had.

[00:14:37] So what, what added functionality can we get out of this one versus what is currently present in Airtable? 

[00:14:45] Dan Fellars: And here I, maybe they do have automation, so I might have misspoke. So they might have, they might have in-house automations. Column types. Anyways, kind of interesting. They're basically, I mean, wow, it looks [00:15:00] very, very similar to air table.

[00:15:02] Kamille Parks: I wonder how hard it is to design a system like this. That doesn't look that similar to air table because. I remember when Airtable changed their color palette, and they're really just 10 of the simplest colors. So, I let everyone slide on color now, there's not much you can do about that. But like, in terms of, the thing I always look at is the placement of those icons for sort and filter and whatever.

[00:15:30] At least switch that up, put that in a different one. 

[00:15:34] Dan Fellars: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's kind of crazy. So we'll see. Yeah. If any retail users out there curious to hear a comparison. All right, moving on. If you're in the Austin area, it looks like there's a, there's a, a B2B summit put on by Forrester, which is a big, big comparison data.

[00:15:58] Review service [00:16:00] and there will be some executives from air table talking about also with Amazon that case study of how to do that. So if you're out there, go check out air table. So here's one, somebody, this is kind of more of a question. When I saw this, so air table charging by a number of rows.

[00:16:20] Makes it borderline useless to me. Never understood why they charged by something that is essentially zero marginal costs and isn't a meaningful differentiator. I don't believe it charges by number of rows other than the limits, I guess, different tiers. 

[00:16:35] Kamille Parks: Yeah. I, I also wouldn't characterize it as charging by number of rows.

[00:16:41] And I think I'm on a. Different opinion, I think I would rather be charged by number of rows than number of users. 

[00:16:48] Dan Fellars: That's that was my takeaway as well. 

[00:16:52] Kamille Parks: I don't know. I feel like whenever every time once every year, when your table changes their pricing structure or [00:17:00] pricing plans, the structure is fairly consistent.

[00:17:02] We sort of kind of have this discussion and I, I think I would rather. Pay by resources, like how many automation runs am I doing a month? And that to me seems fair because it's not using any of my resource. It's using air table servers to process all that data and that I'm willing to to pay for.

[00:17:21] But. A lot of my bases, the ones that sort of run my business in life, there's one person and that person is me, and it feels odd if you want any level of organization putting them in different workspaces that I have to pay different licenses for that effectively.

[00:17:43] Dan Fellars: All right. Next one. Another shout out. This is a tweet from Chris Dancy, one of the main co founders of dare table. So dare tables coming up in October and they're starting a volunteer program. So if you'd like to volunteer, [00:18:00] you can go to dare table. com and see if sign up for, to be a volunteer. You get a free ticket.

[00:18:09] Housing support and access to planning. Very cool. It's a good way if you don't want to pay for the ticket. Oh, we'll skip that one. Okay, last one. Sticking on third party themes. We've had Dara on the show talking about no loco. About a week ago, they announced that they now have live sync. So they used to, so what this means is they actually are storing your data on their servers.

[00:18:38] And they used to have like a scheduled sync every two to five minutes, but now I'm assuming they don't talk about the technical side of how they implement this, but I'm assuming they now leverage air tables web hooks that you can get notified whenever there's a change. And so you can have a live update whenever your data changes, it will sink [00:19:00] it into the, the no loco.

[00:19:02] Database. So if you were hesitant to adopt no loco as your portal platform because of this, it is now available.

[00:19:15] So that's good. 

[00:19:16] Alli Alosa: That's exciting stuff. What it also means is similar to stacker. That's also the direction that stacker went in as well, where they actually cache your data on their side. Which makes it nice because if air table does go down, your portal can stay up. Read only you can't interact with it at all, but it won't like go down.

[00:19:38] At least not for A little bit . 

[00:19:41] Dan Fellars: Yeah. 

[00:19:42] Alli Alosa: But yeah, very cool stuff. It's one of '

[00:19:45] Dan Fellars: em is not, is softer. The softer, not CI think softer might be . They dont cash. 

[00:19:51] Alli Alosa: Yeah. Yeah. They don't cash. 

[00:19:53] Dan Fellars: Yeah. Yeah. Mm-Hmm. So there's probably pros and cons to, to both approaches, [00:20:00] but certainly, yeah. Cool. That concludes our around the bases of everything updated in the community.


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[00:20:33] Make sure it's secure and outside of air table. 


[00:20:41] All right, Liz, we're gonna learn more about Liz. Switch this up. There we go. Welcome, Liz. 

[00:20:53] Alli Alosa: Thank you. Awesome. Yeah, you're welcome. Also, I'm going to [00:21:00] preface this by saying my Wi Fi keeps cutting out. So if that happens, I apologize. But yeah, thank you so much for joining us, Liz.

[00:21:10] What we start out with generally here is we want to know where did you get your start in this Airtable world? How did you discover it and how long have you been using it? 

[00:21:20] Liz Moreland: Yeah, so I, when the pandemic hit, January or like, you know, May, April, 2021, we had to restructure our program. And at the time we did a lot of our processes through paper surveys, enrollment, all of that.

[00:21:43] And we have affiliate sites through Harmony Project. I'm part of Harmony Project, Kansas City. And the director of Harmony Project Phoenix graciously met with me and exposed me to Airtable and shared his space with me. And [00:22:00] demonstrated to me how you can use it with extensions. So we have a Twilio extension where we communicate with our families through Twilio.

[00:22:10] And since then we've really just transitioned it. I fell in love. I was telling Dan earlier for my birthday last week, my My colleagues bought me an air table sweater because they know I love it so much. So I'm kind of become the air table expert. It started as me as the sole user. And as we, I began training and helping share information with the rest of the staff.

[00:22:31] We all now are users. Yeah. And so I can go into various ways that we use it, but I'm excited to show you kind of how we've transitioned into attendance taking. 

[00:22:41] Alli Alosa: Yay, that's wonderful. And that's, I feel like that's the cool thing about Airtable is that's the story I hear so often is like people find it and then they're like, oh, they have this aha moment and they're like, oh, I could use it for this and for that.

[00:22:54] And it's, it's really great. So you're using it for like attendance [00:23:00] taking for students. Is there anything else that you're using it for? 

[00:23:05] Liz Moreland: Absolutely. Yeah. I think The biggest benefit at first again was communication. So we have the Twilio correspondence. We purchased a phone number. It's by use kind of like what Kamille was saying.

[00:23:19] Sometimes that's advantageous if you're not using too much and it just kind of depends on what month we're sending a lot of communication with our families. So they give us permission to text them and we have a toll free number that we've approved. And then we have extended to using Texted as well, which is another third party compatibility.

[00:23:39] So then we can, you know, just communicate with 'em through this program. So communication is one thing. We send assessment results through SendGrid. So those extensions have been really super beneficial. But even just using the enrollment process, we maintain our wait list. So all of those processes that used to be [00:24:00] handwritten, and then we had to input that information, student surveys all of that, we now kind of go around to classes and give them iPads once a semester and get satisfaction surveys where we text out the parent satisfaction surveys and can analyze some of the results and see historical data.

[00:24:18] We also share the teachers. We have about 30 teachers. They don't have they don't have accounts, but we do share the views with them that we call the portal and so I'll kind of demonstrate that a little bit today and we've moved to having project tracking for the staff inventory maintenance for all of our instruments.

[00:24:39] And calendar syncing, which can help with budgeting. So we can then manipulate that information and add hourly rates and kind of track what our year could look like and project out the budget. So yeah, it just keeps expanding. I feel like

[00:24:56] Dan Fellars: maybe if I jump in, could you give some context on the harmony project? I wasn't [00:25:00] familiar with that before. 

[00:25:01] Liz Moreland: Yeah, absolutely. So we are considered an ELSA STEM inspired program, which means We model our program off of El Sistema in Venezuela, which was a government funded organization and offered free instrument lessons.

[00:25:17] The concept is that instrument music is a right to children. And our sole purpose is to get students access to free music education. So instruments, we have many orchestras, we have school partnerships with the public school district here in Kansas City. And then ultimately we aim to get them into college.

[00:25:37] So we have Scholarships that we offer to our high school students, they can apply for additional scholarships. And then we have community partnerships were housed at the Northeast community center, which there are other harmony project affiliates, as I mentioned earlier with Phoenix, but we're lucky in Kansas City to have a brick and mortar.

[00:25:55] Where we can have summer school programming, have our afterschool program and then also go [00:26:00] out into the school district to offer strings wins. And some of our students have been here for 10 years now, and so they're graduating high school, going on to study music or study other things, and we're really supporting them through that process.

[00:26:15] Dan Fellars: Cool. 

[00:26:17] Alli Alosa: That's so cool. And you, you mentioned earlier, you're a musician yourself. 

[00:26:21] Liz Moreland: I am. I'm a certified music therapist. So I actually started a harmony project one of the first years as a teaching artist. So I was leading the violin and viola classes while I was studying music therapy and psychology. And then I joined the staff, implemented a music therapy program here.

[00:26:38] That was another thing that the pandemic, you know, really exposed was a need. And so we, we offer free music therapy groups. Now I supervise the groups and we have, we've hired music therapists. And yeah, so I play guitar, piano, violin, viola. My first instrument was accordion. So sometimes I'll pull it out and play happy birthday for the kids here.[00:27:00] 

[00:27:00] So yeah, definitely 

[00:27:01] Kamille Parks: me and 

[00:27:03] Liz Moreland: my twin brother, my mom just decided she wanted to teach us accordion, so, 

[00:27:10] Yeah, 

[00:27:11] Alli Alosa: so anyway, incredible. And I love that the intersection of art and technology is, A sweet spot for me. So that's wonderful. Super, super cool. So is there, anything that you've got in the works or you're planning to do next with Airtable?

[00:27:33] Are you, have you, are you using interfaces at all? That I was telling Dan earlier 

[00:27:37] Liz Moreland: too, before the podcast started, I have my first contract position with the Teaching Artists Training Institute. Where I will be supporting them with visualizing pre post survey results for their teaching artists that they offer training to.

[00:27:53] And it might be in the works that we offer through Harmony Project. I will become a consultant for other El Sistema [00:28:00] organizations as well. So my hope is to do kind of what Diogo did, was able to do for me which is supporting El Sistema organizations, providing a base, example of base template.

[00:28:13] And just really able to use it as a tool because it's so expansive in its possibilities, but it can also be intimidating because of that fact too. And so offering solutions that are quick and easy and don't require a lot of upkeep. So that's kind of in the works and using all the fields to figure out, you know, data analysis, all that.

[00:28:34] It's been exciting. 

[00:28:36] Alli Alosa: Excellent. Well, I'm excited to see what you've got to share with us today. 

[00:28:42] Dan Fellars: All right, let me give a quick tease. 


[00:28:46] So yeah, you're going to be doing a base showcase with us on how you track student attendance. Share your screen. There you go. 

[00:28:55] Liz Moreland: All right. So I have this example, I've also [00:29:00] worked with some other organizations who kind of want to get started.

[00:29:03] So this was inspired as a way to have de identified information that you can then. Look at and see. So what you're seeing right now is the gallery view of all of our students. So I went ahead and added some fun pictures in there and use the formula field for the date of birth to show what age they're in their active class.

[00:29:23] And so what, what, just a backstory attendance we had, we speaking of row limits, we almost maxed out our row limits and the old attendance taking process, which was making sure every single student had their own. Row or their own field with their name, with a dropdown of present, absent excuse, and it just took so much maintenance, so much work.

[00:29:48] It wasn't giving us the data we needed. We had to export to Excel and then analyze the information. So. I just was wracking my brain of how can we communicate better with parents, what the attendance is like, how can we [00:30:00] communicate with teachers and see instantaneous data. And so this is something I realized was not something I am alone in the solution to to have come up with, but I wanted to demonstrate what our new solution is.

[00:30:15] So we have our different classes, which. We do by instruments, but you can name them whatever. So each class has its own individual form that they submit. And as you'll see, you can link to the teacher. So we have our active teachers table and then instead of having a field for every single student, which requires us, remove them from the form, add them back.

[00:30:41] The conditionals were helped a little bit, but. Now it just automatically updates as we change our attendance or change our records. So you'll see that we've limited the record to a specific view. So, in order to make this happen, you have to in the enrollment table, have [00:31:00] that column of the active class, which then you have to build the table of violin.

[00:31:06] But now this violin class, anytime any changes are made for absent and present, that will be. Those kids will be accurate and so you basically duplicate it, make the same for each student. And as the teacher submit, you can see, I, I created a column that was last date. The teacher submitted. So you can check and make sure.

[00:31:30] They submitted on the right day. So we have a Monday, Wednesday group, and we had a Tuesday, Thursday group. So you'll see the last date they submitted to guarantee that attendance is being taken. And then in the enrollment and the attendance, you can set up actual percentages, which is really exciting.

[00:31:51] And then which that leads to communicating with. So you can use the count field to [00:32:00] use both the student present. This does require some manual. If there's an error made, you either have to delete the date that was made or delete the record that was wrong and use the record that's correct. Or you can.

[00:32:15] you know, manually go into the student and change their records. We've had to do some of that a little bit. But you can count the present, you count the absent, and then you set up the attendance percentage, which probably you could figure out, but it's just the present divided by the sum of the present and absent, and you format it as the percentage.

[00:32:36] And so that gives you the student's individual attendance percentage. And then from here, what that, that does is it gives you a couple opportunities to connect with the parents to talk about what is, what are the concerns for attendance that you might have for their kids. You can also set up how many absences are allotted in general and track through those automations, which I can [00:33:00] show you an example of, but you can track.

[00:33:02] What? How many are remaining? So here I just set up a simple, the allotted absences are always six for all of our students. If there are more that some students get because of extra agreements, you could add another column and, you know, give a specific amount extra that they get. But then this is just.

[00:33:23] This is just trying to show a simple, more simplified example of how you can track this data from the teacher attendance submissions. And so you can see that for Grace Abbott, we have five remaining. So if that makes sense on the front end, then the back end, you can communicate with parents through an automation.

[00:33:44] So when a record enters the view, which is parent attendance for minor automation, when absence is submitted. On that day, it shows up into this view, and it triggers the automation to go out. And so you can see, let me expand [00:34:00] my view a little bit, and we'll do a preview, choose record.

[00:34:13] You'll see that here it is, the generate preview. If you can see this preview, it's saying, oh, I think our email recipient isn't there. So, If the email recipient is there, you basically pull from the parent first name. We marked this name as absent today. If this was an error, please contact and we have them contact our phone number reminder that your student can only miss this amount of absences and they have this many remaining.

[00:34:46] And so this has been a great way to communicate with our parents of, you know, this is just a heads up. Here's where your students land and we can make it more flexible or, or, [00:35:00] less flexible in some ways. But, yeah, it's just because it has helped us instead of having to export and relook at things, it's helped us have that instantaneous.

[00:35:14] So just like with percentages too, you can see the average overall that's been unique and you can break it down by the class. You can see which classes have the higher attendance percentage. And just. Different sites might have different different attendance themes to and different factors that contribute to attendance.

[00:35:36] So, 1 of the things I wanted to talk about too, is that we have, at our site again, we have the fortune of having a brick and mortar. And so when our students come to campus, they pass a staff member before they head to class. So we do have checks on attendance and it's, we confer, we verify the attendance from [00:36:00] the staff more so than the teachers, their tenants is more of a backup for us.

[00:36:05] So, to do that, the downsides we found, because a lot of it is trial and error and what works well, and what doesn't, but 1 of the issues that we've, found is that because we're looking at an entire site of students. And so for us, that could be 100 students on a day when we're submitting our attendance.

[00:36:25] Here, let me kind of create a new site attendance. Say this is the staff site one and, our entire students present might be a hundred students. So we're going to limit this to site one students. And if you open it up, Then it will be so it's as simple as that to create a form, which is really nice.

[00:36:51] You might not see this. Let's see if I can share this tab instead. 

[00:36:56] Alli Alosa: Yes. 

[00:36:57] Liz Moreland: Okay, perfect. So you'll see [00:37:00] we have a long list of students here. So when we're submitting Our information. You can do type in names, which has been nice to some of the teachers have had a hard time adjusting to the new process.

[00:37:14] It is easier on a computer, but say we had half and half, you'll see that the remaining kids that are here for our present need to be marked as absent. So I almost have to go in and say, Jane, Napoleon and do it manually like this. So I have, I have worked on a work around in that way to kind of have a view that it and and maybe I can walk through that if there's time.

[00:37:45] But basically I'll have a view. That is last date submitted was not today. And so the present was not today. And so that just shows me a list of all the students in the roster, and I can just see exactly what students I need to mark is absent. [00:38:00] And so that really helps when we have, we're working with a long group, a huge list of students for us, but having it from the staff perspective as well has made it helpful for us to maintain things.

[00:38:17] And so you have to put a lot of trust in your teachers and some of these situations, but I think some of the alternatives for other sites that I've heard, it's been. Pretty tricky. So yeah, I want, I hope that this gives a good example. I'm happy to go into some of 

[00:38:33] Dan Fellars: curious. 

[00:38:34] Liz Moreland: Yeah, 

[00:38:34] Dan Fellars: you could just an idea.

[00:38:37] Is it assumed that if they're if they're not present, then they're automatically absent. Could you just automate anybody that you didn't mark as present? You could just auto it through an automation, just mark them as absent for that day. 

[00:38:51] Liz Moreland: Hmm. I, I mean, I'm sure I could, that's where some of my limited time with not looking into things.

[00:38:57] Correct. I, but is that, [00:39:00] does that work with Linked Fields as well? You can auto link. Amazing. Well, that's my homework for this week. I would say I'm 

[00:39:09] Dan Fellars: having to enter the absent people or it would probably be easier to just mark the absent people and then everybody else was present. 

[00:39:18] Liz Moreland: Totally. Totally. Yeah.

[00:39:21] And those are ideas that some people have said, and I know with their table, anything is possible. It feels like but yeah, it's just kind of learning how to work through that. So yeah, absolutely. I think Between that and kind of some of the, the simplified ways we took attendance from the field into something that's just a little more friendly.

[00:39:43] It's been a really, really nice game changer in so many ways. So yeah, thank you for like giving me that suggestion. I'll dive into it for sure. 

[00:39:53] Dan Fellars: Yeah. Yeah, that'd be good. And then, yeah, I wonder if I'm trying to think if the new [00:40:00] forms would give you any added benefit. I don't know. It's pretty 

[00:40:03] Kamille Parks: strong.

[00:40:04] I don't think in this instance I know linked records have, you have the option of, having links assisted by ACI or, I'm sorry, AI. But I don't think that is available on forms A and then B. It is still a little bit of a manual process. It will, AI will suggest which records to link to, but if we're trying to automate the process, I think you could, you could definitely get this done with a, a find record step that's like, to your point, when last entered is not today, and the class is today.

[00:40:44] whatever the class is, you know, the relevant class, violin or viola, then dump all those students into absent or vice versa, if it's easier to do present. Yeah. 

[00:40:59] Alli Alosa: Yeah. [00:41:00] Absolutely. I wish air table. There's a feature that many extensions has when you have a linked record field and you could pick records. If you have multi select on for records, you can just like it keeps the pop up open until you hit.

[00:41:14] Okay, so you can just check off the ones that are there. I really wish that were available in air table forms as well. I think that would make this particular use case a lot easier. 

[00:41:24] Liz Moreland: Allie, is this let me like, make sure I understand that. Right. But is it almost like this? visualizing that in a way that's more of a list view versus kind of selecting from a drop down.

[00:41:35] Alli Alosa: It's like instead of, instead of selecting a student and then having to click add again and select the next one and click add and select the next one, it's like that pop up stays open and you just check off the ones that you, that you're picking, which is just way less clicks. Absolutely. But, but yeah, it's nice to have, I think.

[00:41:56] Dan Fellars: So maybe to summarize the strategy that, that you went [00:42:00] through. I think this is a good, good strategy. So originally you had one row for every student, for every class, whether they attended or not. And so I assume, did you have a form and the teacher had to go one at a time for every student and resubmit the form?

[00:42:16] Liz Moreland: Well, okay. The way it worked actually, I feel like teachers liked it better prior. It just was a lot more work on the staff and it led to a lot of potential, Errors, if staff didn't quickly update certain things. So the way it worked is we had the field for we had one form really for teacher attendance, one form for for staff and had conditional fields where you know, show field only if class is violent.

[00:42:46] So the teacher would select the class and the kids that were in that class would populate for the teacher. And they'd be a single select field and it would have their name, present, absent, excuse, and it can be required as well, which can [00:43:00] avoid, issues and errors. And so they would do present, absent, present, absent, kind of like what Ali's saying, you're just seeing all the kids through the name and just press, press, press, press, press, instead of this drop down where you select the students, select another student, select another student, but that required that when we had a new student enroll, we add another student.

[00:43:20] Field for them. When a student is dismissed, we immediately remove them from the field. And then, yeah, so it was slow to because we had 500 fields. So there were a lot of issues with that. 

[00:43:34] Dan Fellars: Gotcha. Gotcha. Okay. So that's the concept of you want to scale vertically and not horizontally. Exactly.

[00:43:42] Liz Moreland: Yeah. 

[00:43:43] Dan Fellars: And 

[00:43:43] Liz Moreland: that leads to the potentials for, you know, Attendance calculations and communication, which I didn't necessarily demonstrate here, but part of the SMS capability with Twilio is so nice. [00:44:00] Let's see if I can full screen. So you select the phone number, you select the view. So say it is one class that you're working on.

[00:44:09] You can customize a specific message to that parent. And when you preview it, you'll see. The parent name the student name, exactly what their attendance percentage is. And so that has been such a, an amazing opportunity for us to communicate specific information with groups of kids or groups of parents instantaneously.

[00:44:35] Dan Fellars: Awesome. Excellent. Thank you for sharing that. That is great. 

[00:44:42] Liz Moreland: Of course. Yeah. Thank you. 

[00:44:45] BUILTONAIR COMMUNITY - 00:44:46

[00:44:46] Dan Fellars: Okay. Let's move on. If you aren't in our community like Liz and many others, we have thousands of users of air table in our community. Join us built on air. com slash join. We'll get you in our free Slack community and signed up for [00:45:00] our newsletter and join the conversation.

[00:45:02] We'd love to have you in with that. 

[00:45:05] AUDIENCE QUESTIONS - 00:45:07

[00:45:06] Let's go to Kamille audience question. How to manage student weekly scores. 

[00:45:14] Kamille Parks: Okay, so in browsing the air table community, I came across this one question and I thought it was interesting because there's a base structure that immediately came to mind for me. Basically what this person is asking for is they want to be able to track scores for their students weekly across different terms and be able to get certain information about it.

[00:45:45] They want to make reports. Obviously, everyone gets a grade for their work. They've submitted. So being able to see who got what grade on which assignment and then tracking things by teacher, et cetera. There were a couple of responses [00:46:00] that Sort of try to tease out additional information. And then the follow up response earlier today is we're going into the fact that they have 100 different student teachers and keeping track of this in different sheets and like a spreadsheet is key.

[00:46:22] Getting a bit cumbersome. And so the first thing I wanted to do was see if we could do this without this last bit of information here. So do we have to have one column for every test? And then this kind of runs into similarly what you were saying, Liz, is in that you're going to run into those limits pretty quick.

[00:46:46] If you start to build horizontally in Airtable, So I wanted to talk through how you might set up a base that cover some of the asks in the [00:47:00] post. So starting off with all of the different pieces of information, We all remember from our school days, we have terms they might be semesters or they might be quarters.

[00:47:15] So starting with spring 2024 has a start date and end date. Pretty simple. Then there are courses point of order. I have separated the idea of courses from classes. There might be a better. You know, use of terminology there to differentiate the 2 a little bit more, but, of course, in this space that I'm showing is something that can be re taught in multiple semesters.

[00:47:41] Like English. 1 of 1 is going to be taught every year. And then a class is the specific instance of that course. So, in this case, english 1 0 1 for the term of Spring 2024. And then as I go on and time passes, we're gonna teach English [00:48:00] 1 0 1 again, but this time in fall 2024. And then each of these classes, when we have a specific instance of them, can be taught by one person.

[00:48:11] So one of the points in the. Post is that it could be difficult to reassign a class to a different teacher. So using the power of linked records, we could say this one is taught by Allie and this one is going to be taught by Dan. And then later down the line, we could say, actually, no, this one's going to be taught by me.

[00:48:33] So switching out a teacher for who is assigned to a class can be made pretty simple with using linked records. Continuing on, very simple. You have a table of teachers. So in this instance, I just have been typing everyone's name out. But if you wanted to use air tables, built in interfaces feature.

[00:48:56] You might consider using a user field. [00:49:00] What user fields allow you to do is say when I log in. to the interface, only show me the classes that I am teaching. You could also use an email field, so you don't necessarily have to use the user field type. You would get at the same, you would arrive at the same place.

[00:49:20] But the general idea is that rather than showing Dan all of my classes, just give him a customized view of all of the ones that he's teaching. Somewhat similarly, you have a table full of students and you could Similarly, have an interface designed for only show me the classes where I am enrolled. A lot of the times, though, when people are building these kind of systems, students aren't ever supposed to see the air table.

[00:49:47] This is more for administration or for the teachers. So it's up to you what you, The audience that the base eventually has, and then we're getting into the meat. So [00:50:00] assignments in this case the class of English 101 in the term spring 2024 so far has 3 assignments. I've just given them an arbitrary due date and 1 of the things that you could help.

[00:50:16] Automate is it sounded like from the post that each new week there's at least one new assignment. There might be 1. there might be 2. there might be 3. but what you could do is create an automation that is triggered at a scheduled time once every week. Or if you know, you have multiple assignments per week regularly, you could have this do it daily and then have it every three days or something like that.

[00:50:48] And then what you want to do is have a fine record step. In this case, I want to find all of my active classes. I don't need to create new assignments for classes that are already ended or classes that [00:51:00] haven't started yet. So my. Filter condition is fairly fairly simple, just the start date has already happened or it's today and the end date hasn't happened yet or is today.

[00:51:13] And that'll give you active classes, then for each of those active classes, create an assignment and something that I've done to sort of. Smooth things over, make things easier is I've set the due date to be the next trigger time. Something pretty useful about the scheduled time trigger is that if I say, do this every Monday at 7 am, last Monday would have been April.

[00:51:40] 22nd April. 22nd. So, what this would have done is say next week's Monday. That's when it's due. Just saved me a bit of time from going back in there and saying what the due date is. So that's how you could help automate the creation of assignments. But you also want to [00:52:00] track what each student got on each of these assignments.

[00:52:03] And you'll see I have an average grade being shown up. I have a last table that's just called grades. And I've grouped it so it hopefully makes a little bit more sense. For each class, for each assignment, What is each student's grade? So student one got 75 percent, student two got 90, student three got 84.

[00:52:32] How do you automate this? Because if you have 20 students in each class, it would be pretty annoying to go down here and create a new new grade and then pick which assignment and then pick which, Sorry, that's look up and then pick which student and then remembering which student has already an assignment record for them already created.

[00:52:58] So, I've [00:53:00] automated this table as well. My 2nd automation is creating grade records. So, whenever I create a new assignment and I fill in which class it's for, what I want it to do is search through all of my students. Who are enrolled in that class and then create a record for them in the grades table. So assuming I've done everything correctly, I should be able to create a new assignment and give it some arbitrary due date.

[00:53:33] Doesn't matter, but you could see my automation is running in the background to create all of those grading records. So assignment four, which I just made right now, I now have those three students. Already pre filled. And so now when I'm greeting, I could go, you know, could use some work. This is only a 70.

[00:53:57] Actually, this one was pretty good. Maybe that one's an [00:54:00] 85. and then as a student, as a teacher of these classes, I could just go in and fill in these scores and not have to worry about the sort of manual upkeep of creating these grading records each time I create a new assignment. Something that was also mentioned in the post is that sometimes it's difficult to tell, if a grade has been assigned already.

[00:54:29] If you can imagine when this table is full of real data, you're going to have a lot of fields and just looking for blanks might not be enough. So I have a simple formula field called graded. If there is a score, then a great, if not do this red emoji just as a heads up, you might run into an issue. If your score happens to be 0, it's going to still say it's an ungraded.

[00:54:56] So here's where you can start to improve on this sort of [00:55:00] very quick example that I've thrown together. And the reason why I've done a formula is because if you're on a lower tier plan, you won't have access to record coloring. But if you do have access to record coloring, you could just set up a condition where you could color the record red if it hasn't been graded yet.

[00:55:18] So some of the things that you could do to, again, help make these things stand out. And of course, you could always create a filtered view where score Is empty. And then here's my to do list. Essentially, you know, this one was 89 percent and then once it's graded, it goes away.

[00:55:42] Dan Fellars: Very good. It's a complete solution in a box right here. 

[00:55:47] Kamille Parks: Yeah, this is a relatively simple to string together. However, this is my best guess at what the original poster was after, but a lot of the, [00:56:00] the structure of this is pretty consistent across most. sort of teaching methods that I am aware of. You might not need this level of detail.

[00:56:10] For instance, if classes are never retaught, you don't need a courses table. You can skip straight to classes. If you don't need to track terms, then you can skip this entirely and really just start at your classes table. But the idea of linking a class to a teacher and then students to a class and then assignments to a class And grades to assignments should be enough to sort of get you started for how to think about this from a structure point of view.

[00:56:40] And then you have access to useful information across these different tabs, like lookups. So, in classes, because I've selected a term for each of them, I could quickly see when does this term and because presumably the class last the whole term. Then you get into things like split [00:57:00] terms and. And whatnot, but.

[00:57:02] That's not that wasn't requested. So I didn't do it 

[00:57:05] Dan Fellars: very good. And this comes with authority. Kamille's too humble to admit, but she is adjunct faculty at a major university. So we have some credentials to share here. 

[00:57:17] Kamille Parks: That is true. And so I did build something relatively similar. For, my own personal tracking with this idea of grading rubrics.

[00:57:28] So you could go even beyond what I've shown in this space for each assignment. You could attach a rubric to it. So that when you're going through your grades, rather than just saying as a whole student, 1 God. You know, 84 percent on the assignment, you could go through different scoring criteria and say criteria one.

[00:57:49] They did really well in criteria to they did. Okay. And then have that score average out. So there's more and more. You could do to build off of this. And lastly, [00:58:00] before I forget something that was pointed out in the post, they also wanted to be able to track when a teacher made that grading. So all I did was add a field called date graded.

[00:58:13] That is the type last modified time. And I'm looking specifically at the score. So for all of the ones where the score is empty, date graded is also empty, of course. But when I. Type in 97. It's gonna tell me when I graded this assignment. So again, letting you track that information fairly automatically.

[00:58:36] If you know which type of field to use and when to set it up. 

[00:58:40] Dan Fellars: Yes. Awesome. Great. Thank you Kamille for walking through. We've got a nice Teacher student theme going on today. So thank you all for joining the Liz. Very much appreciate you coming on and sharing your story with us. 

[00:58:56] Liz Moreland: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me and Kamille.

[00:58:58] That looks [00:59:00] amazing. I. I will definitely be using that for our assessments, some sort of structure like that. Thank you for taking the time for that. 

[00:59:08] Dan Fellars: Awesome. Thank you all for joining and we'll catch you next week on the built on air podcast. Take care.

[00:59:28] OUTRO-00:59:28

[00:59:28] Thank you for joining today's episode. We hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to check out our sponsor onto our backups, automated backups for air table. We'll see you next time on the built on air podcast.