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MIS Systems Thread, Groupcall Emerge iPad / iPhone / iPod Touch app for MIS access. in Technical; Originally Posted by stevenewman Am I correct in thinking that once a register has been taken that it can't be ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenewman View Post
    Am I correct in thinking that once a register has been taken that it can't be retaken? It would be useful to be able to take an emergency register so that the device could be used during a fire evacuation.
    You can just open any register be it am/pm or a class register, hit 'Mark All' with 'no mark', so it clears the page showing only previous marks ghosted. Then you can retake the register. I just wouldnt save it, but it's perfectly acceptable for use in an emergency.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LawrenceRoyston View Post
    Hi

    A couple of points to clarify and then I will explain what enhancements we are working on. The Serco API allows us to read and write all codes for roll call (AM/PM), so there are no problems marking a student with any roll call attendance code from Emerge. *You rightly say that the Serco Lesson Attendance API only allows us to writeback 7 codes and this is an issue.

    When taking lesson attendance, Emerge will show you the attendance code (in half intensity) of the AM or PM roll call, if there isnt already a mark for that lesson, otherwise it will show you the mark. At the moment, it filters out marks that cant be entered, so this is the situation you have described where an H entered by the office cannot be seen by the teacher taking lesson attendance. What we plan to do is allow the mark to be shown even though it cannot be entered, so a teacher would see the H and therefore not overight it. This should help, although its not a perfect solution.

    Obviously Serco's main focus is Progresso right now, but we have requested an update to the E-Portal API to allow us to write back all lesson attendance markks (which used to be there in an older version of the API). I am sure our customers support on this may help this happen quicker.

    Lastly, there is an argument to say that detailed reasons of why students are not attending a lesson are probably not known by teachers when they take lesson attendance, more likely they will be prefilled in by School administrators using the SERCO MIS, so the fact that the teacher cannot enter more than the basic marks is not such a problem. If that was true and as long as the teacher can see that mark, in the short term, the solution we have may be a useable workaround.

    Appreciate your comments,

    Best
    Lawrence
    Lawrence this seems like a good solution and will certainly help with prefilled attendance codes. We currently use 13 codes for lesson by lesson but i am sure we can lose 6 of those providing the teachers can see the pre filled values.

    Have you got a time scale for this fix?

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenewman View Post
    Am I correct in thinking that once a register has been taken that it can't be retaken? It would be useful to be able to take an emergency register so that the device could be used during a fire evacuation.
    Once a register is taken, it CAN be retaken.
    Best
    L.

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    The County Council are querying whether Emerge meets their requirements for Dual Factor authentication. The marketing material appears to suggest that it uses dual factor, but i'm not so sure. If the device is found it can be remotely wiped, but in the meantime the data is only a pin entry away. What are our thoughts on this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveB View Post
    The County Council are querying whether Emerge meets their requirements for Dual Factor authentication. The marketing material appears to suggest that it uses dual factor, but i'm not so sure. If the device is found it can be remotely wiped, but in the meantime the data is only a pin entry away. What are our thoughts on this?
    Not really, not the way i understand it. After a fixed period of time, i think 15 minutes, you need the password as well as the pin, but that isn't an extra factor really.

    If you read up the thread, the remote wipe isn't quite as you'd expect, and even if it was implemented as i have suggested, you'd still have a time to live. The only useful thing that can be done now, is with iOS 5 and the find my iDevice feature which has the same flaws but is one step better.

    They do recommend that if you install the software that you ensure the device itself has a passcode for entry, so that's an extra layer. But most people use a pin, and i imagine will set the Emerge pin to be the same, unless it's configured by a tech.

    In theory you've got 3 layers - but all of about equal strength.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ama178 View Post
    Lawrence this seems like a good solution and will certainly help with prefilled attendance codes. We currently use 13 codes for lesson by lesson but i am sure we can lose 6 of those providing the teachers can see the pre filled values.

    Have you got a time scale for this fix?
    As they say "Be careful what you wish for ...", its been done and will be part of the new release of Emerge which will be submitted to the AppStore next week (it takes a week or so before it is actually available).

    If you want to try it before then, give me a call in the office and I arrange something for you.
    L.

    FYI. New version has been heaviliy optimised, is dramatically faster and has a number of minor bug fixes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LawrenceRoyston View Post
    FYI. New version has been heaviliy optimised, is dramatically faster and has a number of minor bug fixes.
    Looking forward to it

    Any news on the native ipad or android releases?

    I tried the android demo but it crashed when I tried to add our server.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveB View Post
    The County Council are querying whether Emerge meets their requirements for Dual Factor authentication. The marketing material appears to suggest that it uses dual factor, but i'm not so sure. If the device is found it can be remotely wiped, but in the meantime the data is only a pin entry away. What are our thoughts on this?
    @SteveB - I've had some clarification which i didn't think of before to be honest. Each device has to be manually added to the Emerge server console as a device that is allowed to access the software, this is then linked to the users / groups that are granted access. So you could in theory have some devices only usable by senior management.

    The data is encrypted and is only available to the correct combination of allowed device, and login credentials. The physical device is what provides the second factor of authentication. I found this when i switched iPhones, it wouldn't even copy over from the backup properly, and had to be reinstalled.

    In terms of security, if you were to enter the pin code incorrectly 5 times, this would wipe the data, and after the timeout period, you'd need a password too before you get the pin code screen. So, it's only really susceptible to social engineering or over the shoulder peeping attacks.

    With regards my idea to have a time to live for the app itself, that is something they will look into, and would eliminate the last risk factor, that of rogue teacher running off to another country with the device.

    I'm in the process of testing out a BETA version, which resolves some minor issues, and should make things a little quicker too. So will report back if there's anything new.

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    Thanks for that @vikpaw. I think the powers that be a still likely to be nervous that if the device is lost, just a pin could unlock the data (as long as device has not been reported lost). We use fobs for SLG here, and if we lose "the something we have" element it is useless without a working login and password. If this "something we have" is lost a 4 digit pin could unlock it. BUT, i would consider 2 pins and 5 attempts is pretty secure.

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    That's true @SteveB , i would need to get the tech expert to confirm for sure, but the pin is only valid for 15 minutes, before you're looking at an alphanumeric password. So you're talking about losing the device then within 15 minutes somebody going for that app with a chance of 5/9999 . It's not something you can enforce, but i have recommended that the device itself has it's own pin / passcode lock. I've implemented that too. So most likely, they'll have to break your device passcode then the app one.

    For any iDevice users - you can change the passcode for iDevices to be alphanumeric and i'd suggest doing that, much harder to guess and a lot harder to see what is being pressed over the shoulder

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    Quote Originally Posted by ama178 View Post
    Lawrence this seems like a good solution and will certainly help with prefilled attendance codes. We currently use 13 codes for lesson by lesson but i am sure we can lose 6 of those providing the teachers can see the pre filled values.

    Have you got a time scale for this fix?
    I have had an update re this ongoing problem. see below.

    Hi Andy,

    To be honest we’re really struggling to find a way around this…

    The only thing we can thing of now is to limit the number of attendance codes in Emerge to 7 which you will need to choose from your list of 13.

    It’s a real limitation with the API that we’re gutted we can’t get around.

    Would the proposed solution work for you?

    Nick

    So the limitations with the API mean that schools that use more than 7 attendance codes for Lesson by lesson reg are scuppered.......

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    Hi guys

    Well I arranged for a trial to be setup and the general feedback I have been receiving from staff is that it is a useful tool in addition to what we already have. There are a few things we would like to see changed, but other than minor annoyances it is going down well.

    We do get occasional error messages which go away when you dismiss them, but there is a recurrant error that is popping up. Its not a major error as far as I can tell, but its rather annoying that it pops up as it sometimes needs to be dismissed several times before you can continue. The error message that pops up says:

    "Unable to connect to the remote server --> No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it 213.171.218.106:80"

    I have no idea where that ip address is located since its not an internal one, and we haven't had the facility to use the app via 3g setup for the trial. I logged a call with Emerge yesterday but they havent got back to me yet, so was maybe someone here has encountered it before and could shed some light on it?

    Cheers

    Jon

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    @jonrose - is it a trial with your own data. it could be that is the ip of the demo server? why that or any server is refusing, i don't know, but an over eager firewall could do it.

    just tried to look up the ip and it came back with info for livedns.org through fast hosts, somewhere possible in gloucester, so maybe someone is trying to setup external access via a dynamic dns service.

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    @vikpaw - yes it's a trial with our own data. A quick message appears about trying to update the app before the error message pops up, so it could be that its trying to update itself. Tgough I would have thought any updates would have to be done through the App Store?!

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    I thought the update was regarding the databases stored on the phone. So it's checking to see if any have expired. I may be wrong though.
    It does a check prior to taking a register if the server is available. It could be a server issue.

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