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General Chat Thread, Helpdesk tickets all complete & No Money - Any (Cheap or Free) Project ideas please? in General; As per title, we have a great network, worked really hard over the last couple of years after a full ...
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    Helpdesk tickets all complete & No Money - Any (Cheap or Free) Project ideas please?

    As per title, we have a great network, worked really hard over the last couple of years after a full rebuild and now have everything ticking away just as we like it...

    We have no money left to implement any new large projects, but I was wondering if anyone had any ideas for cheap or "free" projects that might make a difference in the school?
    We are not sat twiddling our thumbs as there are always the usual IT tickets, but as the budgets are getting slashed it seems that we are just keeping everything ticking over and not moving forward. We would love to have something to work on and challenge us when we are done with the tickets??

    Few previous free projects done:
    Password Self Service
    Shutdownotron
    Room Booking
    Helpdesk installed
    Lanview running
    Truecrypt rolled out
    Network status
    Smoothwall filtering
    In house School website,
    Custom start/homepages for staff/students/Admin

    Any suggestions would be great !!!
    (We do have around 7k that we will have to use to replace aging computers around the school, but if your idea can pursuade me that this money would better benifit the school im all ears)

    Thanks in Advance
    Last edited by burgemaster; 16th October 2010 at 06:29 PM.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    How about a technical knowledge base using some wiki software. The site could host articles on how to resolve common issues and instructions on how to do stuff.

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    webman's Avatar
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    Have a word with other support staff departments - office, first aid, behaviour, those sort of areas. Ask people if there are any manual or time-consuming processes you could help improve or develop software for (if that's your thing) to do something better.

    Several things we've done based on what needs have arisen:

    • Internal searchable phone directory on intranet (search-as-you-type style)
    • First aid requests via intranet (room number, sent to receptionist, they then radio for roving first aiders)
    • Database to manage detentions (staff enter student names/reasons; can be updated if they don't attend; letter generation)


    Do students always know where they need to be? An idea of bossman's would suit us, and possibly others: A touch-screen terminal for students to quickly look up what lesson they should be in now, or later in the day. Entirely possible and cheap using touch screen LCD monitor, ITX/SFF PC and a custom GUI (web based?).

    From a technical side, you could look at server/service monitoring with tools like Nagios and Cacti if you don't already.
    Last edited by webman; 15th October 2010 at 07:22 PM.

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    danbuntu's Avatar
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    Moodle! and then possibly Mahara at a later stage. But defiantly Moodle.

    if moneys that tight think about google apps and maybe linux desktops as well

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    rh91uk's Avatar
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    I would look at looking at services you could possibly bring in house (if you wanted to!) such as Email etc and work on building them.

    Alternatively, I would look at some systems you could get your head around to enhance support you offer. For instance, I was in a similar posistion to you and I messed around with SIMS (and a test DB at that!) in my spare time and I now am pretty much a SIMS manager/Assistant IT Manager.

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    tom_newton's Avatar
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    Some really hardcore monitoring stuff? Thats always fun! Budget for 1 linux box and a big telly to display the results

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Personally, I'd speak to your admin office and ask them about tasks they have to do which take ages, and see if anything can be improved there.

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    Thanks for the ideas, we have been to the admin dept and helped them with plenty of timesaving ideas, labels, detention letters etc.

    Might have a look at:
    1) How about a technical knowledge base using some wiki software - Good idea
    2) Internal searchable phone directory on intranet (search-as-you-type style) Good Idea
    3) First aid requests via intranet (room number, sent to receptionist, they then radio for roving first aiders) - Good idea
    4) Nagios Network monitoring - Great Idea
    5) Microsoft Configuration Manager (License came with VMM but have yet to set it up)
    6) Print Master by Webman

    @Danbunta - School has purchased "Uniservity" and regarding licences we have a M$ select agreement and already purchased licences, so no yearly license costs
    @tom_newton - Can you please suggest where to start? sounds interesting?
    @localzuk - already done, but can ask again
    @rh91uk - Email for staff/student is already on exchange 2k7. We use Serco Facility/Eportal here which I already manage.
    @webman - I have setup facility to produce letters and labels for detention when a report is run. Eportal lets them see their student timetable when logged in.

    Webmain im suprised you didnt suggest your Print Master?


    Great ideas, thankyou all.... any more for any more ??????
    Last edited by burgemaster; 16th October 2010 at 06:26 PM.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Do you use any digital signage? Some standard templates based on XIBO would be good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Do you use any digital signage? Some standard templates based on XIBO would be good.
    Thanks mate, we have 2 OneLan box displays setup (that the receptionist`s manage). The PE department has a 32" LCD on the wall running powerpoints that they manage... they seem to be doing a really good job with it. Even though I might enjoy setting it all up and all that, i think if they had to learn a new software we would end up doing it all for them on a regular basis!!.....

    Thanks

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Do you fancy getting more involved in educational stuff? I have quite a few ideas for you there ... some to do with programming, computer clubs, youtube / flickr style resource banks, etc ...

    Then there are a few things which come down to how much access you allow staff to do things too ... things like changing passwords, etc.

    And then we have things like the introduction of guest devices onto your network (segregation of network traffic, network access control, etc) and looking at the various mobile devices that are about (or shortly to be about) to see what you can do there.

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    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    Things I am looking at doing when I have a second or 2 (HA!):

    Virtualisation plan
    Online forms (either sharepoint or a.nother)
    Digital resource server (videos & possibly pictures)
    & funnily enough after reading something else, documentation Wiki.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TechMonkey View Post
    Things I am looking at doing when I have a second or 2 (HA!):

    Virtualisation plan
    Online forms (either sharepoint or a.nother)
    Digital resource server (videos & possibly pictures)
    & funnily enough after reading something else, documentation Wiki.
    3 of those 4 can be done in Sharepoint

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    3 of those 4 can be done in Sharepoint
    I'm assuming Online forms, documentation/wikis and Resource Server? I'm hesitant though to put so much reliance on Sharepoint, no reason to it I suppose. How much of a setup is needed with sharepoint and does it need a beefy server? I've looked before but always had to remove it due to other projects coming along and needing the space or the web port.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TechMonkey View Post
    I'm assuming Online forms, documentation/wikis and Resource Server? I'm hesitant though to put so much reliance on Sharepoint, no reason to it I suppose. How much of a setup is needed with sharepoint and does it need a beefy server? I've looked before but always had to remove it due to other projects coming along and needing the space or the web port.
    The thing about Sharepoint is that it is hugely customisable. You can take it as it comes, create some document libraries and work with a basic out of the box setup, or you can customise it completely. Its completely your decision.

    The server beefiness depends on how many users are using it - it can vary vastly.

    Putting it all in one place makes sense in my mind, as it becomes a single portal containing everything useful to your staff. You can get custom web parts for it, customise a front end completely and use it as a public facing website, have multiple sub-sites so that you can have a site for parents, pupils etc... sharing information across them, or isolating information as desired.

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