Title: PeopleSoft, PeopleSoft, What Do You See? I See A Blank Page Looking at Me! - Lessons of a First-Time Activity Guide Creator
Author: Chris Lopac, University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Being a father to three young children, I catch myself spending most of my time reading children’s books. Much like the amazing book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, everytime I navigated to a new activity guide page, I was seeing something completely different than the animal on the previous page!
Activity Guides can be a beautiful way of capturing data that is not captured via delivered PeopleSoft pages. Activity Guides allow a mixture of using delivered PeopleSoft functionality, while incorporating your own custom verbiage, look, and feel. This Spring I built my first Activity Guide. Learn from me and don’t make these common mistakes!
Building an Activity Guide, in my mind, is similar to building a house or baking a cake. It’s essential you perform the steps in a certain order. Just like you can’t paint the walls in a house before you build the basement and you can’t frost a cake before you mix the eggs and flour, you can’t plug in all the bells and whistles to an activity guide until you have some of the main functionality in place.
Step 1: The Basement (Navigation: Campus Community > Task Management Work Center > Manage Templates)
The “foundation” or basement of an activity guide is the template. The template ‘houses’ all of the functionality, steps, bells, and whistles of the activity guide. Similar to a house, it’s often overlooked, but without it, nothing else would be possible. Within the template, you will see some technical jargon – don’t let that scare you!
When building out a template, I strongly advise using the clone function, to simplify your own activity guide creation. I normally like to figure things out myself and build out new functionality from scratch, but cloning an already existing template saves a ton of time and ibuprofen. You can clone a delivered or custom template that may have already been designed.
Within the template you have the ability to build out the flow of the activity guide (guide process), as well as build out the security that is needed to access the activity guide. Quite frankly, it’s all downhill once you get through the nuances of the Template configuration.
Step 2: The Walls & Plumbing (Navigation: Campus Community > Task Management Work Center (Task Configuration))
The Walls & Plumbing are just as important as the basement. They hold the insulation to keep your house comfy, electrical wires run through to help keep your gadgets running, and the plumbing so you don’t have to use an outhouse.
The Task Configuration page is similar. This page holds the “mechanicals” of the activity guide. Without the Task Configuration page, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy any of the functionality of an Activity Guide.
Step 3: Paint the Walls & Pick Out the Appliances! (Navigation: Campus Community > Task Management Work Center > Page Definitions)
I refer to this section as the Painting of the Walls or Picking Out of the Appliances, because this is the part that people see. All of your work and time spent configuring the previous pages are to essentially house the beautifully painted walls and the shiny new appliances.
This is where you add in all the verbiage, the descriptions, the instructions, the activity guide details, as well as options to accept/decline. This is the most user-friendly of all the pages within the Work Center.
Step 4: Plug in the Appliances! (Navigation: Campus Community > Task Management Work Center (Task Configuration))
The final step! You poured the foundation, you put up the walls, you added the electrical and plumbing, painted the walls, picked out the appliances. Now, you just need to plug in the appliances!
For the last step, you simply “plug in” the Page Definition from Step 3 into the work completed in the Task Configuration (Step 2). By adding the Page Definition into the Task Configuration, you’ve completed your activity guide! You’ve built your home! You’ve baked your cake!
By following these four steps, you can successfully build your own Activity Guide! Just remember, you can’t paint the walls before the concrete for the basement is poured and you can’t frost the cake before you bake it!