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MIS Systems Thread, Sims Learning Gateway.... a failure? in Technical; I've been asked to asses the success of our Capita Sims Learning Gateway (SLG) by our SMT . We paid ...
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    zag
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    Sims Learning Gateway.... a failure?

    I've been asked to asses the success of our Capita Sims Learning Gateway (SLG) by our SMT.

    We paid around 15k for the local version of it around 18 months ago with the hope of it replacing written reports and giving parents online attendance data.

    Here's some statistics:

    1,176 Total Parent accounts created
    270 Total Parents who have accessed the SLG (1 or more logins)
    12 Regular parent users (more than 10 logins)
    4 Regular teacher users (more than 10 logins)
    76 Generated Support Requests

    So my question is really out there to anyone, has it been successful in your school?

    My personal opinion is that its a great idea but based on the wrong technology. Sharepoint is just too complicated for casual users.

    An iPad app or integrated with Sims would be a much better option.

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    Non of my primary schools took it up even though our LA was pushing it hard.

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    We took it up last year and found that uptake from parents was around 70% in year 7 dropping down to around 30% in year 11. This years roll out to Year 7 parents has had an 80% uptake so it is definitely being accessed. We regularly get requests for password resets throughout the year too but I have no idea how often parents or staff are using it.

    On our hosted install Site Usage reports are switched off so I just wondered how you got your statistics / info?

    Thanks

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    zag
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birchy View Post
    On our hosted install Site Usage reports are switched off so I just wondered how you got your statistics / info?
    I'm using an active directory tool called "AD last login" by dovestone software which shows all the users last login and other statistics.

    We have found great family take-up (around 60% as both parents have logins) but no one really uses it regularly.

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    We have it here as a hosted solution for the purpose of letting teachers do reports at home and also share information with parents.

    Nearly 2000 parents accounts have been issued of which we have used it for a single Year group, getting reports this way. Captia claim we cannot get any reports on usage. I do a few password resets now and then.

    Not many teachers use it at home now as they claim it to be to slow and not very user friendly. And due to seeing no reports i am not sure how many parents are using it.

    I myself do not like the system , its expensive (+ cost of letters to 2000 parents) , clunky to use (especially the report hosting feature) and not very engaging for parents who do not really use it anyway.

    Is there a yearly fee for this as well? I was not part of the procurement of this system but now support its use.

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    We ditched the hosted version after a year, poor feedback response from the trials as it's pretty buggy and ugly. Have moved to TASC Insight for parental access, we've had much better feedback, their support is far better and it's really easy to setup and maintain, plus a fraction of the price. I've heard good things about the Bromcom one as well. Staff access is now being rolled out via a remote access solution.

  7. 3 Thanks to teejay:

    Alis_Klar (29th June 2012), jenny_urey (20th January 2012), zag (31st May 2012)

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    zag
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    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    We ditched the hosted version after a year, poor feedback response from the trials as it's pretty buggy and ugly. Have moved to TASC Insight for parental access, we've had much better feedback, their support is far better and it's really easy to setup and maintain, plus a fraction of the price. I've heard good things about the Bromcom one as well. Staff access is now being rolled out via a remote access solution.
    That's fantastic info. Do you have any screenshots of TASC insight? I couldn't find any on the website.

    Also do you you know how much it is? I'm guessing less than 15k

    We use remote web desktop for teacher access so I have no need for that functionality. But parent access is a big thing.

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    Fill in the contact form on their site and they will arrange a demo for you, it looks much nicer than SLG and is very simple to set up.
    Cost wise, it's a fraction of the price, I'll pm you as I'm not sure if the price is publicly available.

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    zag
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    Thanks I just had a good chat and demo with them.

    Does anyone use any other software like bromcom?

    I think we have made the decision to ditch SLG. There are certainly better options available.

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    We were at bett and a lot of teacher we spoke to were on the look out for SLG alternatives as they wanted to dump it due to the cost and lack of benefits.
    Teachers were only wanting a subset of what slg offered but wanted it extended in other areas like tight integration with VLEs to have the whole picture of the students learning.

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    I had a look at the SLG but to be honest wasn't overly impressed and thought it was way overpriced and went for a product from TASC software called Insight as a couple of people have mentioned which we feel is much easier to use for Parents and Staff (Attendance,Assessment, Behaviour, Reports and much more) and has a better feel and look, it doesn't allow staff to write reports but costs a fraction of the cost going by the price above around £1,200 a year. As regards staff writing reports we have developed a remote solution for this using an encrypted App for Security, SSL etc.

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    Some schools find it's the main way they communicate with parents. Are you using SLG on top of your own website or other forms of communication. To maintain interest, as with any other website, you need to be providing content and keep interest going in order to keep the stats up. For us, I think the biggest usage would be for remote access for staff. Making grades and reports available for parents is great though not a necessity now, but letting them know it's there, and opt out of mailings would make it easier and reduce some costs on sending letters home.

    I'm going to look at TASCs offerings as i didn't get a proper chance to see what they offered at BETT - The Jenny was too busy I believe they work on a per student charge model.

    I was really impressed by a new module they have called SMyLE which lets kids rate their lessons, though it's not quite VLE territory, looked a great way to inform and feedback teachers on how effective they are.

    Bromcom's MCAS might be overkill, especially if you don't have the parents engaged, but the other remote tools are pretty good and again cheap.

    Most offerings i saw from MIS suppliers are predominantly web based now, so offer easier access for parents and staff, some like Follett's Aspen, coming coupled with it's own built-in VLE.

    I came to your stand @penfold_99 and spoke to someone about how keen companies are to work with SIF, i don't think it was you i saw though.

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    As Vik says stickiness is important to get parents to come back to a site regularly. Publishing reports on-line once a term is a great start and it will save you a fortune in printing/collating. Homework info is a real winner – I would think every home with children at secondary school has a discussion on Sunday night as to whether the homework has been done. Then there is all of the event information that should be on-line that parents want to see, menus, fixtures etc.

    Interestingly one of our staff realised that his child was late for a lot of lessons by logging onto SLG but he hadn’t been looking regularly because the school wasn’t providing additional info that made him want to look every week.

    As for the way SLG parental web parts look I think they’re pretty good! You can customise it to reflect your school web site – if you don’t customise it, yes it looks vanilla!
    Last edited by PhilNeal; 21st January 2012 at 05:17 PM.

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    Completely agree with PhilNeal and Vikpaw as regards making it interesting, updating other information etc have linked ours into the VLE so they go to VLE\Website see various information and then click link to login to access the Insight portal. We have also started uploading all student Reports to here from SIM's as well as working on a complete overview of students information in report style a complete information KS2 to KS3, we haven't got a sixth form yet.

    Senior staff have also found this a useful tool when issues have arisen and the parent\carer comes in as they can quickly and easily access a simple system that gives them a great overview of how the student is doing and demonstrate any issues to the parent.

    To be honest we still have a long way to go with this but we really feel it helps with Parental Engagement and can see the possibilities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    Interestingly one of our staff realised that his child was late for a lot of lessons by logging onto SLG but he hadn’t been looking regularly because the school wasn’t providing additional info that made him want to look every week
    LOL - i remember hearing about that.

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