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MIS Systems Thread, Any good options for writing to SIMS? in Technical; Originally Posted by LosOjos The reason I say that is that ScholarPack already has it's own parent portal, albeit not ...
  1. #16
    garrysaddington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post

    The reason I say that is that ScholarPack already has it's own parent portal, albeit not one that could be directly integrated in to the VLE, but you could link to it. This also makes sense from a data protection POV, as it requires parents to enter an additional username and password to access any data.
    That's true, ScholarPack has a fully integrated parent portal, but we are now a fair way along with the development of an integrated VLE. We hope to have a RC out in a couple of months. Thanks for all the kind mentions of ScholarPack on this thread.

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    Innovate (5th April 2011), LosOjos (1st April 2011)

  3. #17

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrysaddington View Post
    Thanks for all the kind mentions of ScholarPack on this thread.
    I've been seriously impressed with the demo's I've used at different points over the past few months, I only wish I could get our SLT to agree to take the plunge and move over to it! I shall persevere

    Not that I want to discredit SIMS of course, I'm not here to knock SIMS I just like the ethos behind ScholarPack and the fact it's completely web based I think is great, it has to be the future for MIS systems

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  5. #18

    russdev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    I don't know what Merlin is, but I assume it's just a VLE based on Sharepoint or something? (just because that seems to be the norm for LA's). If that's the case, surely you could disable the SIMS part and just pop in a link to whichever system's web portal that you decide to use?

    Sorry, I don't know enough about Merlin to give you a definitive answer there, might be worth checking with your LA just how rigidly SIMS is integrated with it.
    For those not in the know..

    Merlin is a version of RM learning platform created for SWGFL. It has number of tools including the standard learning platform from RM plus number of third party tools integrated into it.

    The parent reporting brings in things from VLE (RM own custom code not sharepoint), MIS data and few other bits and bobs..

    Regards

    Russell

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    Innovate (5th April 2011), LosOjos (2nd April 2011)

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    Accessing SIMS data isn't all that bad, since all the data is just stored in an SQL database. I wouldn't suggest writing back data until you are confident on how the data is manipulated, but as soon as you get the hang of it, its not too bad.

    We have created some T-SQL that export data from SIMS into our learning platform automatically every night. The only writing back I do is replacing data - not creating new data, just in case!

    i.e. We use SIMS for our reports, the staff can just enter a number which corresponds to a comment bank (hence creates the data in SIMS) then our code just replaces that number with the correct comment.

    Hope that helps, and if you need any more info please just ask.

    Regards

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  9. #20

    matt40k's Avatar
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    @Dageezah
    What VLE is that going into? And wouldn't it be better to go via the API so your not sticking to fingers up at SIMS auditing and security?

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    @Dageezah
    What VLE is that going into? And wouldn't it be better to go via the API so your not sticking to fingers up at SIMS auditing and security?
    I was going to say that!
    Replacing data is still 'hacking' into the sims db through unsupported channels, and most likely without permission. Be very careful, as you could be unsupported!

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    Thanks for all the replies everyone - ScholarPack sounds interesting (that's a decision beyond my control though and while I can do my best to influence ultimately I can't see it happening - too much training already been put into SIMS).

    Have contacted LA and they could provide us with SIMs in the classroom. They state in their email that...

    The price for Sims in the classroom is as follows:

    1 x 5137 Checkpoint box @ £182
    1 x 5138 Checkpoint licence @ £53
    Configuration on Curriculum Side (installation of SIMS on workstations etc) - up to 4 Hours - £210

    Does this sound good?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Innovate View Post
    The price for Sims in the classroom is as follows:

    1 x 5137 Checkpoint box @ £182
    1 x 5138 Checkpoint licence @ £53
    Configuration on Curriculum Side (installation of SIMS on workstations etc) - up to 4 Hours - £210

    Does this sound good?
    Well, the Checkpoint stuff, I'm assuming, is some kind of firewall / security solution (Check Point - Security Appliances, Security Gateways, Firewall, Security Management, Endpoint Security & Software Blades). Whether you need that or not purely depends on your network infrastructure. 4 hours at £210 doesn't sound that bad for the SIMS installation (depending on the number of workstations) and Curriculum - Admin link.

    Assuming a few things about your network, the 4 hours should include:

    1. Ensuring there's a network link between the two networks.
    2. Setting up a domain trust between the two domains.
    3. Setting up the permissions on the domains for the Curriculum staff.
    4. Configuring the DNS suffix search order list.
    5. Altering the login scripts on the Curriculum side to map the SIMS share for teachers.
    6. Install SIMS.
    7. Make sure it works.


    This will be the bare-minimum to get SIMS in the classroom and there are a boat load of things that can interfere with the plan. You'll also still need to know if the network can handle it, and that the SIMS server can handle it (specs of the SIMS box would still be useful).

    To give you an idea as to why the SIMS server needs looking at, 8 months ago I was still working in the UK, offering SIMS and network support to approx 150 schools in a large local authority. There were primary schools, with a lot more pupils than yours, running the SIMS server on the admin's workstation, with several other SIMS workstations in use. The 'server' was a single core P4 2.8GHz, 1GB RAM, single HDD, Server 2003 running on a 100Mb network, with tape backup. And they thought SIMS was just a clunky, slow mess. They didn't stop to consider the server specs, or the network.

    Hope this helps!

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    I was going to say that!
    Replacing data is still 'hacking' into the sims db through unsupported channels, and most likely without permission. Be very careful, as you could be unsupported!
    For those of you who think about not using the SIMS API, report tool, VLE (IMS??) tool, or a supported 3rd party tool. Have a look at what it will cost you to repair any mistakes...

    Back on topic - encryption perhaps @Innovate \ @NorthernSands? Sounds not too bad.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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  17. #25

    vikpaw's Avatar
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    £210 for half a day sounds really good, i'd have expected double that.
    If they sign the job off, you can at least be sure it's set up and working properly.

    @northernsands - now i see where you get your hate for P4 single cores from

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    @northernsands - now i see where you get your hate for P4 single cores from
    Absolutely! The problems we had with them! Grrrr! To be fair, a lot of the schools that had these shoved them under desks and left them there for years, regardless if building work was going on around them or not! (sorry, overdoing the exclamation marks) They ran slowly at the best of times, but because dust blocked up the HSFs the CPUs would over-heat and then start throttling to keep running (90 degrees C or more for weeks on end), slowing them down even more. It could be some considerable time like that before it would overheat enough to shut down. Then we were called out. I'd get very strange looks from teachers as I stood outside in a grey cloud, blowing into Heat-sinks, fans, motherboards etc. I'd turn up in a nice clean suit, then leave completely covered in dust and dead spiders. We went through a fair amount of thermal paste and re-conditioned fans, too.

    The worst case had a colony of Silverfish living underneath!

    The nightmares!

    Sorry, a tad OT...

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    Quote Originally Posted by russdev View Post
    For those not in the know..

    Merlin is a version of RM learning platform created for SWGFL. It has number of tools including the standard learning platform from RM plus number of third party tools integrated into it.

    The parent reporting brings in things from VLE (RM own custom code not sharepoint), MIS data and few other bits and bobs..

    Regards

    Russell
    Merlin is a lot more than just a custom version of RM Kaleidos LP.
    Merlin is a SIF based project that provide an SSO identity, access to Kaleidos (more but i cant remember what else)
    The identify is shibboleth based allowing suppliers to integrate there shib enabled products.



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