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Educational Software Thread, report assist in Technical; Anyone use report assist? Now we're approaching the dreaded report time of year I've been installing, configuring and doing instructions ...
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    chrbb's Avatar
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    report assist

    Anyone use report assist?
    Now we're approaching the dreaded report time of year I've been installing, configuring and doing instructions for report assist, but unless I need a trip to a well known opticians the instructions to set permissions for teacher's networked laptops are missing from the instruction book! Unless you give the 'ordinary' domain user full rights to the entire folder they can't use it. Do these companies not realise how school networks run?

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    Re: report assist

    We have used ReportAssist up to 2006 version. I only work term time, and we are on half term all following week. We aren't using it this year, so I'm a bit foggy on what we did to set it up properly without being in school to check it out properly. Can you wait until I get back?

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    Re: report assist

    Report Assist would make it into the top five of any "worst software for educational use" list.

    And thats just running it standalone

    I deeply sympathise with trying to run it on a locked down network
    regards
    Simon

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    Re: report assist

    Unfortunately my schools have just gone the other way and bought into this software. We have taken the easier option (because teachers want to do reports at home) of just using memory sticks to store the reports on etc. One for each registration group. For situations where there is more than one teacher needing to write reports for one registrations group, one school has taken the option to share a single memory stick, another has taken the option to have separate sticks for each teacher and then merge them into one master report file (not my personal option but time to create the reports at this school is an issue).

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    Re: report assist

    I've been trying to think how we did it last year... We have installed the program on a shared drive on the server. For 2006 version, I think we then had to run a client setup program on each workstation. Our teachers used memory sticks for doing the reports. Their laptops are not on the network yet so the program was also installed on these as standalones. I remember 2006 annoyingly putting the data folder into the same folder as the program folder on our shared drive, whereas I think this was different in 2003 version. But I know you can save the data anywhere you want to if you know how.

    Which folders are you having problems with? Just the data folders or the whole program folder?

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    Re: report assist

    Had this fun and games 2 weeks ago at one of my schools.

    Along the way learned that the system to export reports to individual teachers requires either:
    - a completely blank floppy disk
    OR
    - a USB stick that has no report assist files in the root directory


    For anyone going this route and trying to import the reports into a teachers own laptop, etc... it's worth noting this gem.

    The program will not inform you if it fails to complete an import.. it just fails quietly.. The only way to tell if it worked is if the import results in the report assist program actually getting to the report writing stage and not just the splash screen.

    But I'm in agreement, it's a right POS...

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    Re: report assist

    I hate report assist. We get it every year in one of my schools. Previously it was made by a company called Simple-Logic. Personally I don't think the software is either 'Simple' nor 'Logic'.

    What I do with it now is set up the new 2007 RA up to backup to the Report Assist folder, which is bizarrely in the program files folder instead of My Docs like it used to be! I thought it made more sense nowadays for software to use folders in my docs for their saves rather than in the program folder??? duh!

    Anyway I have it set up to backup to the hard drive and then use our backup software to include this folder so the teachers never have to use an USB memory stick (we dont have any dedicated usb sticks for report assist) or floppy (non of our laptops have floppy drives now and USB drives would be took much of a chew on.)

    What's wrong with doing reports in word like everyone else?

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    Re: report assist

    Ok, I've finally checked out our setup and have run a few tests. As I said earlier, the program is installed on a shared mapped drive on the server. For 2006 version, this also means that the ReportAssist2006 data folder is there too. I have adjusted the permissions on the whole lot, by removing inheritance, and removing permission for pupils, and teachers have modify permissions. Then I went to one of our XP machines, logged on as network administrator, navigated to the program folder on shared drive and ran ntwksetup utility (same turtle logo). This is in the manual in the CD case on page A18. The machine has to be restarted, and just to be on the safe side I first logged back on as admin. After that I tested this by logging in as a teacher and I was able to get at the reports he had created last year without any problems. I don't yet have any networked laptops, so maybe these are a separate issue. Hope you get the problem sorted!

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    Re: report assist

    I don't do a network install, having visions of teachers overwriting everything. i do a standalone install on teacher's laptops so they can work at home, they are issued with usb sticks so they can export final offerings to the head who then puts her comments on. All staff have started their reports so it's working!
    But my main gripe is that on networked computers permissions have to be set for domain users and this isn't even touched upon in the manual.

    I also remember receiving typed reports for my youngest son and wondered if the teacher had just copied and pasted every report the same!

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    Re: report assist

    Absolute rubbish from a setup point of view, long winded and annoying. I would personnaly launch it somewhere it would never be found (possibly hire an hypnotist to help the teachers forget about the darn thing). BUT, teachers love it and we do as were told it that respect!

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    Re: report assist

    We've had tears and strops. The teachers that jobshare have shared memory sticks -recipe for disaster ! I've spent so much time merging exporting and then reimporting that I may as well have written all the reports.

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    Re: report assist

    Yes, its that time of year again. Surprising how many teachers come and say it has only saved some of my subjects. "Look its a single database file. It either saves the file or it doesnt!" :x Its usually user error thats the cause of most of my work.

    "I did save and export it correctly" fails with me when I look at the back up files and some are missing, or the date on the latest backup is earlier than the one previous? I think some fiddling going on but hey ho, when you get them back you are the Hero for the day for once, not just the person who keeps saying they want more equipment to replace the broken stuff!

    On a side note, spent a lovely morning stripping two laptops down to bare parts to get one complete one as a spare. Funny how simple jobs like that makes the morning go quickley and people leave you alone when they see lots of laptop bits lying around your chair in the staffroom

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    Re: report assist

    At our school we use i2Report Writer to create reports, we used to use e-portal intergrated with CMIS but switched to this used it for 4 years, completly web based.

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    Re: report assist

    Quote Originally Posted by Andie
    But I know you can save the data anywhere you want to if you know how.
    Yeah, that's easy.

    Getting it to open that data again is a completely different story of course.

    Horrible, horrible program to administer.

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    The nightmare has started again for us. We have 18 classes in 3 year groups and most teachers teach at least one subject to each year group. Last year, I put all 540 pupils on each teachers stick and then merged these to the 18 class teachers at the end. As the database gets bigger it gets slower and slower to merge, up to 30 minutes per teacher. When I tried it this year it got to virtually the end and then I got a "Database size has exceeded maximum capacity" and it hung. I also got some othere strange messages. The Tech Support at ReportAssist didn't have a clue what the meant.

    I've finally found a way around it. All the teachers still have a stick with all 540 pupils but I produce a second stick for the 18 classes with just their kids. The 2008 version allows multiple folders on one stick which makes life easier. I then copy all of the original folders on to one stick and merge from that. It still takes a couple of hours to do all of the teachers but I'm doing it at home and counting it towards the 10 days I'm supposed to work in the holidays (at double time )

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