I'm a teacher and our school is due to go live with Progresso tomorrow. I've just looked at the template for the first set of student reports we're supposed to write using the new system and was wondering if anyone could help with a quick query.
It looks like the "comment" field we fill in (250 characters of free text) requires us to click "Enter" to bring up the text entry box. This gets extremely click-y (especially when there's a second or two to wait for the box to come up or close again). Does anyone know if we can configure Progresso to present the text boxes inline as they were in ePortal? Even better, can we get Progresso to import report data from Excel (it seems to export to Excel quite happily)? If there's not an import from Excel function does anyone know anything about the Progresso API so I could look at writing a little macro to do it for me?
Thanks a lot!
mike1981 (22nd April 2014)
Progresso Geek MKII here (I shall forever be in his shadow ), Mic Sanderson, I've moved back from the Academy Trust I previously worked for and am now with Advanced.
There are a couple of options here, I'll answer your questions in order...
You cannot change the 'enter' link to an inline box as ePortal was. The reason that it was changed is the sheer amount of requests for ePortal to be formatted differently on screen to stop the screen becoming unmanageable.
What you can do, however, is use individual view, which presents you with a 'card' type layout for each person in the class you're in (assuming you're looking at a teaching group), and you're then presented with each of the criteria and the boxes in line. You simply click next student until you've worked your way through the class. A lot of people find that view more helpful, particularly when there is a fair amount of contextual data on display and you'd like to see the photo, and avoid clicking 'enter'.
You can import data into Progresso by using the data import routine. If you click in the help in the top right, and search the contents for import, you'll find the instructions for the routine. I believe (though don't hold me to it, as I haven't checked as I'm typing this) there is a specific document available on firstline or from the support desk which describes the imports of assessments specifically. I've imported assessment data myself previously as a user, but never tried to import comments, though I don't see why it would be any different.
In terms of the API, you could request access to it and begin writing against it but I would strongly suggest looking at the import routines if you really need to import rather than the teachers enter it.
If I can help any further post back and I'll try to remember to have a butchers at the thread tomorrow, or if you PM me I'll see it straight away in an email.
Customer Success Manager
michael2k6 (23rd April 2014)
[EDIT - Apologies, the below relates to CMIS not Progresso].
You can definitely import comments from CSV. We used to have a system where we generated word documents for each teacher containing sections for each of the students with their current grades etc. We then imported those into excel in bulk and spat out the necessary CSV's. ISTR the import was a little fussy about the ASCII it would accept - so there was a bit of cleaning up to be done. So do-able with a bit of faffing around.
Last edited by pcstru; 23rd April 2014 at 07:59 AM.
Thanks a lot for the quick response!
Thanks a lot for your help - I really appreciate AL staff bothering to help out like this.
On a separate note can anyone comment on the quick search functionality? If I type in a student's name, eg. John Smith, I'd expect any students called John Smith to appear. As it stands Progresso will give me any students whose names include either "John" or "Smith". I know I can type in the name in quotes but most teachers wont... If I wanted to search for all "Johns" AND all "smiths" I'd use the full search menu. It feels like the search should assume quotes unless told otherwise. Similarly, if my search only returns one student can it automatically redirect to that page rather than just giving me one search result (like ePortal used to)?
I'll log your suggestions as change requests; we've got some exciting new feautres coming along soon on Firstline which a colleague has been putting a lot of effort into, and for great results. It will allow people to vote for change requests and add another dimension to the way we develop our product. Keep an eye out for those changes.
Are you a small school per chance? I've got background at an Academy Trust but we had over 500 staff, so doing it outside of the software isn't an option as we'd need 100 admin staff to get the data in!
The data import routines are generally only done by Data Managers and those with similar responsibility rather than end users, so if that's something you'd like to do you'd need to be given access or for someone else to import the sheet for you; they'd be best providing you with a template which matches the import routine for easy import afterwards.
I think the best thing to do here would be to establish best practice across the school, and go with whatever methods suits most people; someone will have to take a hit but it will mean that everything is uniformed and it will be far easier to support it in school. Obviously if you are a small school, it might be easy enough to take a very individual approach.
Thanks for this. Is Firstline available to end users?
I'll have a chat with our Data Manager about making use of import routines. We're in a school of about 1800 students so you're probably right about consistency... It's just a real pain to do so much clicking. As an end user writing reports is among the most tedious parts of the job - staff won't be happy if the process is made yet more tiresome!
Thanks again for all your help...
At the moment firstline is only available to those users which are registered with our support team and so does go through that point of contact in school, with the help files being the first call for end users. It is possible to link your own help files to the help structure in Progresso, though (as an admin) so if you have a particular process for assessments, you can stick them into Progresso help. The long term plan is to link firstline and the help section in which case some of those areas will be available to end users and it will make the whole process a little more seamless.
Although the extra clicking to get to the comments may seem like a lengthening of the process, hopefully, the way in which information can be delivered back to the right people at the right time (such as heads of department or classroom teachers) to give a live overview of teaching and learning outcomes will make the inputting process all that more worthwhile. You yourself will know that if entering the data results in weeks of analysis and the classroom teacher and middle management never seeing it again, or seeing it when it's already out of date, the inputting process seems a little pointless. But with the right configuration and deployment, information is now very much available, and hopefully that will help to tip the balance of the input vs the value.
I'm planning on hanging around, so I imagine I'll speak to you in future.
I appreciate your point, Mic. I'm sure there will be lots of benefit in the long run. However, clicking into writing comments isn't going to provide richer information, is it? It's not like I'll be allowed to write my reports in Comic Sans (with good reason)! My worry is that little things like this will make people get fed up with Progresso before we've really started and so it won't get used properly later on. A similar thing happened to our Moodle roll-out because we didn't manage to iron lots of little niggles out quickly enough. Either way, if you can log it I'll be most grateful!
I absolutely take your point about the 'little things' quickly become a barrier and turn into big things, especially when they're repetitive and I certainly will get those change requests logged for you this afternoon.
I'm not sure I've seen that issue before with the register screen, you're right that you can't submit information prior to the start of the lesson, but I could have sworn I'd opened a future register plenty of times and not had an issue. It's probably worth mentioning to your data manager though so that if it's an issue across the board he can log it with support and get it the appropriate attention with the appropriate priority. It may well just be a browser setting or version rather than an issue across the board, which would be a nice easy solution, but would need to go through the data manager so that the resolution can be applied for everyone.
Scrap that - it works, my clock is just a little slow I think!
michael2k6 (24th April 2014)
Good stuff, as I couldn't break it.
For ref, I've since discovered that if one selects all students in the assessment page and then clicks to "Enter" a comment the user is given a scrolling window that includes all of the comment boxes. Much quicker!
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