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MIS Systems Thread, Text Messaging Systems in Technical; It is a process that ensures parents only ever get information if they opt-in, and also ensures that the contact ...
  1. #46

    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    It is a process that ensures parents only ever get information if they opt-in, and also ensures that the contact data is bang up to date.

    Where contact data is extracted from SIMS it is often missing or out of date and so the comms service is limited by the quality and comprehensiveness of this data. It then becomes the schools burden to maintain the quality of this data in order that messages get home successfully (the comms provider doesn't care!). ParentMail is different and allows parents to login to their own accounts and update their own contact data and their system notifies the school whenever a parents updates their details. They also automatically remind parents to do this every term.

    In summary, we chose ParentMail very carefully ... because their processes are better thought out in terms of maintaining data accuracy over the long term, and also because they try hard not to place the school in any danger from a DP standpoint. They also take a longer view of the amount of work a school has to do to keep communications accurate.

    Apologies if this reads like an advert (and No I don't before someone asks) ... but I hate to see products maligned by people who are simply speculating.
    It's the schools responsibility to make sure that the data stored within their MIS is accurate. Most staff I imagine will go to SIMS to look up contact information for parents and therefore they expect this to be correct. What is the point in a company having the correct data stored on their website but the school not having this information within SIMS or another MIS? Are you saying that staff should go to ParentMail to look for contact details instead of the MIS? To me it seems a more sensible idea to use the data capture forms to ensure that the data stored within SIMS is up to date and then synchronise this with a SMS service rather than them having the correct data and you having to manually compare their data with what you have. That is in effect meaning data has to be input twice.

    I think it's complete nonsense to say that ParentMail will handle the data management side of things and that the school don't need to wory about the accuracy of the data in their MIS.
    Last edited by Edu-IT; 11th April 2011 at 11:24 AM.

  2. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edu-IT View Post
    It's the schools responsibility to make sure that the data stored within their MIS is accurate. Most staff I imagine will go to SIMS to look up contact information for parents and therefore they expect this to be correct. What is the point in a company having the correct data stored on their website but the school not having this information within SIMS or another MIS? Are you saying that staff should go to ParentMail to look for contact details instead of the MIS? To me it seems a more sensible idea to use the data capture forms to ensure that the data stored within SIMS is up to date and then synchronise this with a SMS service rather than them having the correct data and you having to manually compare their data with what you have. That is in effect meaning data has to be input twice.

    I think it's complete nonsense to say that ParentMail will handle the data management side of things and that the school don't need to worry about the accuracy of the data in their MIS.
    I don't recall saying that ParentMail handle the data management side of things did I?

    Show me a school secretary who hasn't tried to call a parent using a mobile number stored in SIMS to find that the number is wrong or has been changed. It might be inconvenient for you, but it's a fact of life and something most school secretaries will have experienced many times.

    Every change made by parents in ParentMail is pushed straight back to school the instant it happens. All updates are also stored on a downloadable CSV inside each schools account. This way schools can make changes back in SIMS at a time that suits them - we do it once each week.

    It means we make constant but small updates to SIMS with just the relevant changes, rather than a once yearly massive data collection process which involves checking every piece of data to see if it has been changed.

    It works well for us and saves us lots of time - but please don't let me persuade you Edu-IT ... keep doing what you're doing if it works for you

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    It's possible for data to be pushed directly into SIMS, there seems no point in extracting it, getting it corrected and then pushing it back as a csv. Why not take out that last manual process?

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    It's possible for data to be pushed directly into SIMS, there seems no point in extracting it, getting it corrected and then pushing it back as a csv. Why not take out that last manual process?
    Whilst this is technically possible, there are other issues. Most UK schools would not, and should not allow parental input on a website to automatically update their MIS. As a Data Controller, they have a responsibility to maintain the integrity of the MIS data and this leaves it open to abuse.

    I agree with others that data should be maintained in one place (the schools MIS) and used many times, it is a core principle of interoperability and anything else is a backward step. Whilst there is an appeal for parents to maintain their own data, in practice, itís not a complete solution and hence is flawed.

    It seems to me that there is no difference between manually copying data out of a returned CSV file or manually typing in changed parental contact information from a form. If that is true, why go through the whole process of creating parent accounts, securely sharing logon details with parents, maintaining all of that, when the information you get back has to be entered in the same way as if you asked the parents for updated contact details every so often. There is an illusion that this is saving time, on the basis of the above, it looks like it would take longer.

    Schools have a responsibility to maintain their MIS with parental contact information for students in their care. We are one a of few companies that read MIS live and in real-time from SIMS and other systems, we donít copy the data, and we donít export it, which means that none of the synchronisation and security issues highlighted above apply.

    Lawrence

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    Quote Originally Posted by LawrenceRoyston View Post
    Whilst this is technically possible, there are other issues. Most UK schools would not, and should not allow parental input on a website to automatically update their MIS. As a Data Controller, they have a responsibility to maintain the integrity of the MIS data and this leaves it open to abuse.
    I agree with you Lawrence.

    Quote Originally Posted by LawrenceRoyston View Post
    I agree with others that data should be maintained in one place (the schools MIS) and used many times, it is a core principle of interoperability and anything else is a backward step.
    I agree with you again Lawrence but I don't understand why you make the point?

    Quote Originally Posted by LawrenceRoyston View Post
    Whilst there is an appeal for parents to maintain their own data, in practice, it’s not a complete solution and hence is flawed.
    I don't agree with you Lawrence. Why is it a flawed process? I'm guessing you'll say because not every parent does it, and if that is the case, then it's no more flawed than not getting every parent to complete and return data slips each year! Our last survey of schools on this subject (late 2009) showed the average percentage of returned data collection slips was less than 60%.

    Quote Originally Posted by LawrenceRoyston View Post
    It seems to me that there is no difference between manually copying data out of a returned CSV file or manually typing in changed parental contact information from a form. If that is true, why go through the whole process of creating parent accounts, securely sharing logon details with parents, maintaining all of that, when the information you get back has to be entered in the same way as if you asked the parents for updated contact details every so often. There is an illusion that this is saving time, on the basis of the above, it looks like it would take longer.
    You missed the point here I'm afraid. You only have to update the specific details that have changed and just for the people that have changed it (there's a nice simple list ). The alternative is to check every form from as many people as care to return it, and check each piece of data to see whether it has changed or not i.e. you are forced to check EVERY single slip. As for parent logins, well that is fairly useful if you want to enable them to do other things such as paying for things for example.

    As my first post said, all these systems do things slightly differently or in this case substantially differently. There are supporters and detractors for the various methods.

    Paul

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    Ok, i thought that parent's checking their own details and submitting changes was a feature of SLG, i didn't realise it wouldn't be a live update. So that too must be storing it somewhere for review.

    I'm with the opinion that the MIS is the central information store and all other systems are fed from it. Ideally, the upkeep should happen from source too, so we send out data collection forms.

    We insist on their return, and have a 100% rate. Checking for changes isn't that hard, as it's a printed form, so any pen notations are quite noticeable. I think that at least 60% probably much higher have changes of some sort or another.

    The only major errors we get from Schoolcomms are when the parents have blocked our mails as SPAM / JUNK, and the system quite smartly takes them off the list until we hammer the parents

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