MIS link to Fronter
Just a quick question regarding data transfer from MIS to Fronter.
We use Facility CMIS in school which connects to Fronter via Serco's Facility Connect API. This, in terms of Fronter, is a one way transfer where student, staff and teaching group data is automatically uploaded to Fronter to create and change rooms etc. There is no return path implemented to update the Facility database in any way, e.g. assessment results.
My question is for SIMS users - What sort of connection exists between SIMS and Fronter, is it automated and dynamic and is the data transfer two way allowing for the population of data in both SIMS and Fronter as apposed to Fronter only with Serco.
I am often told by colleagues that Serco doesn't seem to support the link sufficiently and that with SIMS-Fronter there is a fully integrated MLE in place. I hope that you will be able to provide me with some insight as I finding it difficult to defend Serco's position.
Thanks in advance.
SIMS.net has the IMS link between Fronter and itself. This allows Fronter (or any VLE) to pull data at will from SIMS.net. In Fronter, it does this nightly.
It doesn't support 2 way data either, only pulling of data for users, timetables etc... The discussion of a 2 way link is ongoing, AFAIK.
The problem with saying a fully functioning MLE exists with SIMS.net is that the definition of MLE seems a little bit fluid. So instead of using that term, I will tell you what is available -
1. One way VLE integration via IMS
2. A 'Learning Platform' which allows staff, parents, pupils, governors etc... to pull data from SIMS.net via the internet, and allows same to input data (depending on permissions of course). This is done via a set of Sharepoint Webparts, which allow customers to build complex sharepoint sites to deliver the content they desire.
3. A single sign in method between the sharepoint/learning platform system and Fronter - so pupils and teachers (only users which are automatically created in Fronter by IMS data) can access Fronter via the learning platform.
4. Several third party systems which duplicate the above functionality.
Both Fronter and CMIS are SIF Association UK members, so there will be, if not already a SIF Agent for Fronter. There are currently 2 for CMIS.
SIF allows 2 way data transfer (if the agent supports it).
I would speak to Fronter about there SIF agent as it might offer you better integration.
the link from SIMs.Net to Fronter is one way at the moment and generally works well. There are issues however, most of which are minor :
- start of year process to replace Fronter generated user ids with AD IDs is very weak/flaky.
- Fronter doesn't appear to distinguish between teachers, technicians, admin staff, TA's, cover staff, premises and cleaning staff and licences are consumed unnecessarily.
- as result of above, TA's and cover staff are not automatically given access to the rooms they should have
- the upload creates teacher groups for rooms but the room setup doesn't use these groups e.g. a teacher group 10B/Hi1 is created and populated correctly but is not associated with the room 10B/Hi1. The mechanism does work well for students.
- the upload does not populate the room, teacher or student calendars with their timetable.
- no upload of parent information.
- some issues with bringing across legal names versus preferred names
- staff forenames are brought across and displayed rather than title
- photos are not brought across from SIMs
There will be a return to SIMS IMS link shortly.
Thanks for the replies. For the moment at least it looks as if both MIS's connect in a 'similar' fashion and what I hear from colleagues is a little of 'the grass is greener'.
Could I trouble you all and ask a couple of extra things?
I spoke with Serco late last year and understand that they are progressing with SIF, but how far is it off from implementation in the marketplace? And I'm not just referring to Serco - I mean for all the different products that will utilise it.
To Phil Neal - could I ask if this return link will be limited to certain types of data, such as assessment, and is it for Fronter only or is/will it be available for all your partner organisations to link into your system?
Thanks again for your replies, it's much appreciated.
The link is for assessment data. It's not tailored to Fronter.
CMIS SIF Agent will be bulit in to the next version or current version (no sure of there release cycle) all you need to do is call CMIS and ask for the SIF agent and they will quote you a price.
Originally Posted by Jon-S
Application types avaliable using SIF are:
- Active Directory Provisioning Agent
- LP Agents (Fronter, Moodle, Kaleidos,Frog)
- Identity Management
- Financial Management (Trips, Dinner Money)
This above list in not fully complete but what i can remember.
Unfortunately Jon, it may be a quick question but it's far from a quick answer. There are many concerns regarding the functional interoperability between learning platforms and different MIS systems. I provide the training and consultancy on this subject for both ASCL and the NAHT and will willingly point you in the right direction or give pointers about what to avoid - you can contact me at Engagement in Education.
My recent investigations have revealed that helpdesks and sales teams are at best unclear about what is required or at worst, less than honest.
Originally Posted by engagementineducation
I have had a look at your website and checked out the information about Interoperability and SIFA, and i found that some of it is inacurate.
SIFA stands for Systems Interoperability Framework Association (formally Schools Interoperability Framework Association) not Suppliers Interoperability Framework Association.
SIFA in not an idea being developed by Becta, Becta is one member in a community of over 50 government bodies, LA's, Schools and suppliers.
SIF has been adopted by many suppliers and is being used by Schools and LAs currently and is working so you warning statement is completely wrong.
Please come along to next SIFA conference so you can see how SIF is being implemented.
During your secondment to Becta, you should have been aware that the term of "real-time online reporting" has been droped and replaced with "online reporting".
Hope you take my comments as constrcutive criticism, as im trying to ensure correct information about SIF and online reporting as differring information with confuse schools.
Thankyou for pointing out the inaccuarcies in my website - I've been meaning to rectify them for some time. I'm sure the tone of your response wil not be lost on other readers. However, they do not detract from the reality of the situation which schools are experiencing when faced with buying a learning platform that will allow teachers to writedirectly into their current MIS securely from home using the internet. The choice is not as wide as schools are being led to believe. If SIF was delivering then huge amounts of money would not be being wasted - and they are.