The back-to-school season is just around the corner educators across the country — which means that educators everywhere are welcoming students back to the classroom for new learning experiences. It also means that those educators are gearing up to make use of new learning tools, student data portals, and available technology and systems. For us, the back-to-school season is about ensuring that all of these educators are able to access the tools, data, and systems they need seamlessly, so they can get back to the exciting work of teaching and learning.
That’s why for this edition of Behind the Cube, we’re focusing on one of our team members who are experts at driving a successful back-to-school season.
Today’s highlight: Julie Harvill, Customer Success Documentation & Training Manager
Can you describe your role?
I started my job just over one year ago, so this is my second back-to-school season with McGraw-Hill. As the Customer Success Documentation Training Manager, my number one task has been to improve our customer documentation. A key focus of our Customer Success team is to ensure that customers are successful using their McGraw-Hill programs. Customer Success also provides McGraw-Hill Integration Services, which includes setting up Single Sign-On (SSO) and Auto-Rostering. SSO enables customers to access their McGraw-Hill digital content directly from a district portal, Learning Management System, or SSO launch point. Auto-rostering automates class rostering so teachers can focus on instruction rather than manually rostering classes on our digital platforms each year. It’s my job is to ensure that we have up-to-date and accurate documentation that supports the efforts of our Customer Success Managers and Integration Services.
What does the back-to-school season hold for you?
Back-to-school is my busiest time of the year. This is the time when our largest software update is released and when new customer integrations are set up and launched for the upcoming school year. Due to releasing new features that improve how customers access and use their digital programs, there are a lot of print and video resources that need to be revised and created. I spend a good amount of time learning about what’s new and what’s changing. I’m especially interested in why we are developing specific features and how they benefit the customer. I think it’s important to communicate the purpose and value of specific platform features in addition to the “how to” steps to complete tasks.
What are some of the challenges the back-to-school season holds?
The two biggest challenges are time constraints and features changing close to the date of the release. There are only a few weeks between getting access to the new features and the software release date. It is challenging to develop a lot of high-quality content in a short amount of time, especially when features continue to change. The most intense period of time is the week or two prior to the release. At this time, features are close to final, so it’s when I add screenshots to print resources and begin video development. Working on documentation for back-to-school releases takes a lot of effort, but it’s well worth it. I feel strongly that teachers and administrators should have up-to-date support resources when software is released.
What do teachers need to have a strong back-to-school season?
The back-to-school season is a very busy time for teachers. As a former teacher and technology coach, I remember how much work goes into establishing classroom routines and getting set up on platforms that deliver instructional content. When time is limited, teachers need a fast and easy way to get help when they need it. That is why I prioritized adding more self-service content to our Digital Technical Support website for customers that use our integrated services. It’s my hope that by saving customers time, they can spend more time on more important tasks, like working directly with students to get the new school year off on the right foot.
For resources and support to help you start the school year with confidence, visit our Back-to-School Preparedness Page.
In addition to program and implementation support, it is our goal to support you on your professional journey as you perfect your craft. Here are just few resources on trending educational topics that you can utilize as you prepare to start the school year.