SpidersEngage Faculty Guide

SpidersEngage is the University of Richmond-branded volunteer management system/database where UR students, faculty, and staff can search and sign up for volunteer opportunities and events posted by non-profit or government community organizations.

You can access SpidersEngage at richmond.givepulse.com. Please use your University of Richmond Single Sign-On when registering your account.

SpidersEngage is run by a company called GivePulse. The software enables non-profits and university administrators to organize, schedule, and manage all types of community events. Their mission is to match individuals, educators, professionals, groups of all kinds to service opportunities; to transform them to be engaged citizens of our community; and to assess and understand the direct impact they are having in the community.

If you are a faculty member teaching a community-based learning class, SpidersEngage can be a helpful tool. SpidersEngage can help you find volunteer opportunities for your students, track/verify hours, and help with some of the logistics of scheduling and coordinating student volunteering.

The Center for Civic Engagement can help you navigate the SpidersEngage system. To get started, email the program manager for community-engaged learning, Brittany Jezouit.

Please reference the FAQs below to get a better understanding of SpidersEngage’s capabilities, and how it might be helpful for your class:

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  • Is my class in SpidersEngage?

    If your class is indicated as a Community-Based Learning (CBL) class in Banner, then it will sync to SpidersEngage. The CCE team provides the registrar with this CBL information, so your first step is to send your class information to the CCE at bjezouit@richmond.edu.

  • Does SpidersEngage link to Banner and keep a current roster?
  • What course management capabilities does SpidersEngage have?

    SpidersEngage is not meant as a replacement for Blackboard - it functions best as a platform to work alongside Blackboard.

    On SpidersEngage, you can post documents, syllabi, or readings. However, it functions differently from Blackboard - for example, you can’t organize documents into folders. It does not have a grade book or track attendance.

    SpidersEngage has a “wall” that admins can choose to display for their group, and there are also options to approve posts and enable discussion threads to which students may subscribe. Please note that the Wall conversations are visible to community partner organizations, so we encourage managing class discussions outside of SpidersEngage.

  • Does SpidersEngage link to Blackboard?
  • Who can view the class page?

    Class members and administrators of parent groups can view the class page.

  • How do I find volunteer opportunities for my students?

    Students (or other users) may search by community partner or volunteer opportunity ("event") using the Get Involved portal in SpidersEngage.

    There is the option to search for any opportunity posted on GivePulse.com, or to limit the search to only those community organizations who are already affiliated with UR. Organizations typically "affiliate" with UR in order to post volunteer opportunities, and those opportunities are visible to everyone in the UR network on SpidersEngage.

    In cases where the faculty member wants to work with an organization that is not currently affiliated with UR, there are several ways we can set things up in SpidersEngage, depending on the needs of the organization and the faculty member.

    You can also use a feature called “promoted opportunities” for your class. When volunteer opportunities are promoted to your class, your students will see those opportunities as a match on their class page.

    Example 1: You are teaching a class called Regarding Disability, and you’ve already identified the nonprofit, Virginia Home, as a partner for your class. Virginia Home has a SpidersEngage account, and they post several volunteer opportunities on SpidersEngage throughout the semester. You can navigate to the Virginia Home’s page, find the opportunity that works for your class, and then promote that opportunity so that it shows up on your class page for Regarding Disability. You can then instruct your students to sign into SpidersEngage, where your course will automatically show up on their class list. Then, students can browse and sign up for volunteer opportunities at Virginia Home directly through your class page on SpidersEngage.

    Example 2: You are teaching a class called Spanish in the Community. You’d like your students to complete volunteer hours connected to the Spanish speaking in the Richmond community, but you would like for them to be able to choose from a variety of different partners. You can browse the list of community partners on SpidersEngage and “promote” the organizations that have Spanish language-related volunteer opportunities (such as Communities in Schools Richmond, the World Pediatric Project, Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Sacred Heart Center, Higher Achievement, and the Legal Aid Justice Center).

    The CCE can help you with this process, and with identifying potential partners for your class.

  • How do I know if an opportunity is open to my students?

    If an opportunity is posted on SpidersEngage, then the community organization has decided that this is an opportunity open to all students - including students who will be volunteering within a class setting. Please note that the organization has no way of knowing whether a student is volunteering because of a particular class or as an individual sign-up.

    Faculty may also identify specific opportunities for their class by "promoting" those opportunities to the class page. This doesn’t guarantee volunteer spots for your students, but it does add the opportunity to your student’s view of the class page.

  • Does SpidersEngage allow me to track/verify volunteer hours?

    Yes, SpidersEngage has the functionality to track volunteer hours, and allows you to verify your student’s volunteer hours. Typically, the volunteer coordinator at the community partner organization will verify hours, but this is not always the case. If you need to verify or track hours for your students, please reach out to the CCE.

  • Can SpidersEngage help with transportation?

    Yes - students can use the UR Volunteer Trip Planner form. The trip planner is an online Google form that is owned by UR Transportation Services. After students submit the form, transportation will help students find the best option (which may be using local transport, the GRTC/Pulse, the Spider Shuttle, or other options).

    We will implement changes for fall 2019 that will help users identify which organizations are on a service shuttle route.

  • Does SpidersEngage manage orientations at each individual organization?

    Yes - when a student signs up for the first time for an opportunity (event) at an organization, they will receive instructions about orientation. Please keep in mind that if you have multiple students going to the same organization, it may be easier on the students and the organization to arrange an orientation on campus where the organization can speak to all of the students at once instead of doing an orientation for each student.

  • How do community/nonprofit partners interact with SpidersEngage?

    Community partners use this platform to advertise their volunteer opportunities. They may also use the system to approve student registrations after pre-requisites are met and to verify student participation (if necessary). In many cases, they will already be doing this, but if not, the CCE will assist in onboarding them.

  • What emails will I receive from the system - and can I opt out of notifications?

    Faculty may receive emails from students in their class because they are set up as administrators of the class.

    Notification settings can be controlled on your SpidersEngage account profile.