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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Uniservity/School-portal help? in Technical; Hi, I'm working with the Head of a local primary school (volunteer, very part time as I have a day ...
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    Uniservity/School-portal help?

    Hi,

    I'm working with the Head of a local primary school (volunteer, very part time as I have a day job).

    East Sussex rolled out Uniservity to all the schools and our Head's been trying very hard to use it.

    I should add at this point, I'm a Linux Sysadmin and when I do websites, it's hand coded XHTML/CSS on top of perl/Mason so I'm quite comfortable with raw web stuff. I'm also fine with Wiki type platforms.

    I have to say, given the above, Uniservity has been doing my head in (as well as the Head's head).

    Some core concepts make sense - eg permissions via user sets. some other concepts make a lot less sense, eg "groups and sub groups" and resources.

    Linking stuff together (eg a movie into a page) seems very broken.

    Either I'm missing something or it is a horrible platform.

    Is this a good place to ask for some help - or is there a Uniservity specific forum somewhere (I did google)? I'd like to go through a few basic procedures and see if there are better ways of doing things such as uploading photos and slideshows and sticking them into pages.


    =========

    On an aside, if I had more time, I'd suggest he ditched it and I'd run something more suitable as all he really needs is a very simple CMS type site. But it wouldn't be fair to offer a half-****ed solution and not be able to support it properly. It's also a *tiny* school and I'm not sure the budget would stretch to paying for say moodle hosting.

    Sadly I don't (yet) have a nice 1U server racked up in a datacentre otherwise I would host something - our village website runs off a Shuttle in my hall - not really solid enough for this job...

    So we're probably stuck with making the best of a bad job for now...

    Many thanks in advance,

    Tim

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    If you search Uniservity on these forums you'll see a lot of "heated" discussion around the platform. Personally I found it to be unintuitive and very difficult to use, coupled with being extremely slow.

    I know that a number of secondarys in East Sussex have now moved away from the platform to others such as Moodle. As you're unlikely to be able to move learning platform as this stage I'd see about talking to some of the people at East Sussex that run the system and get them to point you at schools showing good practise. I know they like to trot them out at every conference to show how good the platform is, so there are some that are using it successfully

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    Either I'm missing something or it is a horrible platform.
    your not missing anything.

    Not all East Sussex Schools use Uniservity, some opted out at an early stage. As a *nix admin your time would be much more productive setting up an apache/moodle server and linking it with your SIMS. It will save the school a few quid as well (as a secondary, we were quoted £3k per yr to run Uniservity) as it is low maintenance after the initial setup. Consider the cost of uniservity against hosting yourselves (mostly internal access) or external hosting (Amazon cloud maybe cheaper than a moodle partner).

  4. Thanks to CyberNerd from:

    timjwatts (22nd September 2010)

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    Thanks for that.

    Strewth - so they might actually be *paying* for this!??... I shall have to ask the head...

    Personally I don't think they need much more than something media-wiki like - or some other very simple CMS. They certainly aren't likely to be making much use of any fancy workflows or "pupil-teacher engagement" features.

    All they really want to an easy way to publish web pages via a WYSIWYG and mark them as public or password-protected (pupils/parents/teachers).

    It is only a tiny school (around 80 on roll total across YR-Y6) so even having year-by-year permissions is overkill (especially as some classes are split and merged into the surrounding classes so it doesn't really make sense).

    BTW - I can't PM (lack of posts) - please could you email me at tw@dionic.net and I'll answer your PM.

    Sounds like there would be a million simpler hosted solutions. Although I could host them something myself, it's better if I just get them to buy into a supported service - the village isn't very techno and without blowing my own trumpet, there are few others who could help if it all goes bang and I'm not around so I'm loath to make them dependent on just one person.

    I'd like to find them something that fits them better, they pay their fiver a month or so and I train them how to get the best out of it. After that they can run by themselves.

    Cheers

    Tim

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    Interesting...

    Got an email today from someone at Uniservity CC'd to a couple of East Sussex CC bods, saying they had seem my comments here and could they help.

    So I sent back a polite but fairly direct email outlining the problems and asking if there were any documented procedures addressing better ways of doing what we were trying to do.

    Cheers

    Tim

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    I look after 4 schools using this and you are right it does have some good points but its still probably the worst content system I have ever used. It still confuses me and I have worked on and created lots of cms style sites.

    You can display resources in a few different ways. Upload the resource and open it, then copy the URL and paste into a page or add the resource via the edit page options.

    If going it alone don't forget that the children need to have an area that the parents can few their child's work(think this is a government requirement from next year) and at some point I think they have to be able take their work area with them onto secondary school, but I could be wrong on those last points.

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    Quote Originally Posted by edutech4schools View Post

    If going it alone don't forget that the children need to have an area that the parents can few their child's work(think this is a government requirement from next year) and at some point I think they have to be able take their work area with them onto secondary school, but I could be wrong on those last points.
    Interesting.

    That of course is all very well - but if the choice is between a system that cannot be used by half the staff that meets govt requirements, and one that can but doesn't, then I know what my view on that is.

    Have just had another email back from Uniservity with some information which I will look into,

    Cheers

    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by edutech4schools View Post

    If going it alone don't forget that the children need to have an area that the parents can few their child's work(think this is a government requirement from next year) and at some point I think they have to be able take their work area with them onto secondary school, but I could be wrong on those last points.
    Can Uniservity do this yet? When we asked we were told you would have to give all parents a username and password. As this would take you over your allocated limit of users you would have to pay £x per user account.

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    Talking

    We are just rolling out Parent Porrtal which is Uniservity's Parent solution for the Learning Platform. I must say its taken us some time to get used to the groups and permissions in the platform but we are at a stae now where its all starting to make sense. Still some parts are a bit long winded for our liking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by edutech4schools View Post
    If going it alone don't forget that the children need to have an area that the parents can few their child's work(think this is a government requirement from next year) and at some point I think they have to be able take their work area with them onto secondary school, but I could be wrong on those last points.
    I thought it was a requirement for this year, but was dropped when tories took over - can anyone confirm this?

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    How does Parent Portal work? Does it add all parents from the Sims system?

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    I thought it was a requirement for this year, but was dropped when tories took over - can anyone confirm this
    It was a Becta recommendation I think, rather than a requirement.



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