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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, UniServity - Between a rock and a hard place in Technical; if you are an existing Uniservity user the upgrade to LIFe is free. the current product we have been assured ...
  1. #31

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    if you are an existing Uniservity user the upgrade to LIFe is free. the current product we have been assured will be supported until at least April 2013. We have also been assured that the users, content and structure can be migrated over to LIFE. seems a lot of disinformation out there regarding LIFE imho

  2. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by ICTCoordinator View Post
    Hi Jane

    I have just led a twilight session after college tonight where we have been showing work done on UniServity vle, and at the same time talking about the difficulties of using the program. We have attended a meeting for the new Life Learning Cloud and while it does look very good we have not had chance to get our hands on it and try it for ourselves. We have paid for a 12 month subscription to try it out. The problem is that the subscription starts in May and the full version is not released until September. UniServity promise a full integration of resources from the old system into the new one. This is going to be a terrible time to start any training as the new academic year is starting. I am not sure how fully we will be able to utilise the rest of the year's subscription.
    Quick answers to LIFE -
    Yes, Life is better than cLc.
    Yes, it's easier to learn and use.
    No, you can't have both whilst you train staff ready for the change over.
    Yes, your resources can be transfered, though some thngs created using the old cLc tools won't function in quite the same way but all uploaded resources should be fine.

    Our authority are in a similar position in that our current contracts have expired and we have been offered a 12mth one to try out LIFE. You're correct, it isn't available in school before Sept, though they can start moving your resources across before then - there's a pack to fill out to say what you want moving. Also note that whilst many of the features, including the MIS integration will be available in Sept, not everything will. There has been no published date for the release of the Quiz, Survey & Poll functions, video conferencing, sound recorder, Live@Edu amongst others. Whilst they won't be in the May release (LIFE v1.1), they could be in the August one (v2) but equally could be in v3 which isn't scheduled till Jan 2012. Worth checking with whoever looks after your account.

    Testing is still under way and it is easier to use than the old product. I've been trying it out for 5 mths now. They have promised more control over the styling closer to the release date (personally don't like the cell layouts).

    If you want to see it for yourself contact Uniservity and ask for a sandpit login. This will give you access to a live area where you can try it for yourself.

    We're undecided yet as to the best time to implement. Sept is far too soon and the possibility of glitches to real. January seemed the next best option but then do you spend time training Year 11 for just a couple of months or take the VLe away from them completely. If we wait till they've gone then it's MAy 2012 and we'll have to sign up again.

    Contractually Uniservity have to keep the old system going till 2013 so you don't necessarily have to swap to LIFE immediately.

  3. Thanks to Kat101 from:

    ICTCoordinator (31st March 2011)

  4. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by edutech4schools View Post
    While I know of schools that us this company and like them I was not happy with the constant cold calls and not just from webanywhere but their linked companies, so I did not use them.
    Webanywhere quoted us over £10,000 to replace our Uniservity VLE plus over £3k per annum for maintenance and support.

    At the moment Uniservity is cheaper.

  5. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kat101 View Post
    Quick answers to LIFE -
    Yes, your resources can be transfered, though some thngs created using the old cLc tools won't function in quite the same way but all uploaded resources should be fine.
    Our contact at Uniservity said that everything will be transferred ok in one form or another apart from content in the Wiki and Quiz functions.

  6. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kat101 View Post
    Quick answers to LIFE -
    Yes, Life is better than cLc.
    Yes, it's easier to learn and use.
    No, you can't have both whilst you train staff ready for the change over.
    Yes, your resources can be transfered, though some thngs created using the old cLc tools won't function in quite the same way but all uploaded resources should be fine.

    Our authority are in a similar position in that our current contracts have expired and we have been offered a 12mth one to try out LIFE. You're correct, it isn't available in school before Sept, though they can start moving your resources across before then - there's a pack to fill out to say what you want moving. Also note that whilst many of the features, including the MIS integration will be available in Sept, not everything will. There has been no published date for the release of the Quiz, Survey & Poll functions, video conferencing, sound recorder, Live@Edu amongst others. Whilst they won't be in the May release (LIFE v1.1), they could be in the August one (v2) but equally could be in v3 which isn't scheduled till Jan 2012. Worth checking with whoever looks after your account.

    Testing is still under way and it is easier to use than the old product. I've been trying it out for 5 mths now. They have promised more control over the styling closer to the release date (personally don't like the cell layouts).

    If you want to see it for yourself contact Uniservity and ask for a sandpit login. This will give you access to a live area where you can try it for yourself.

    We're undecided yet as to the best time to implement. Sept is far too soon and the possibility of glitches to real. January seemed the next best option but then do you spend time training Year 11 for just a couple of months or take the VLe away from them completely. If we wait till they've gone then it's MAy 2012 and we'll have to sign up again.

    Contractually Uniservity have to keep the old system going till 2013 so you don't necessarily have to swap to LIFE immediately.
    This is a very useful posting. Many thanks for that.

  7. #36

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    i know that here in Wirral there is 1 school who are planning to go straight to Life in May. they cant wait !!! they have planned what they want to use and structure, look feel etc and have downloaded content they want to keep and reuse. they said it has made them focus on a real housekeeping job of what is on their current Uniservity VLE and have had good convos on what of worthwhile and what can be dumped. The remainder are also champing at the bit just like us and discussing whether to wait for migration tools or just go for it. this has got to be the most exciting thing ever,well I think so, and if you have played in the sandpit it is so easy to use. one thing no one has mentioned is the Innovative Teachers network which is alreday part of the current cLc2 version and you again get it for free . the stuff currently up there is fab and saves you loads of time 'cos colleagues post what they have done, how to diy and examples of kids work ! why re invent the wheel. if you havent looked at it register and discover Benny Bear etc and the rest

  8. #37

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    Thank you all for replies so far. Cost seems to be the bottom line for our school (yes I agree it should not be) - are our choices (broadly)?? -can anyone add more options to further confuse me?
    Moodle ( pricing seems based on inhouse skill/time from earlier post in this thread - so I suspect would be more expensive in short term for us)
    Uniservity (seems to be most expensive long term but as we are with them them inertia to stay and the 'promise' of life - impoved functionality and useability...),
    DBprimary (any experience from anyone and pricing?),
    Mylearning (earlier post in this thread - need to find out about pricing)
    Webanywhere (cheap but perhaps off shelf version is rather inflexible and our use would be mostly using their website bit (jotter) for content management - not sure how infant user friendly the front end is + seperation of VLE bits may then constrain us moving into exploiting more of the interesting VLE bits ???)
    Google + other free shareware products (I think too hard and scary for me and my confidence and tech level)
    Has anyone done a recent comparision of costs/functionality/performance/useability/sustainability/support etc? Then I can use this to argue strategic choice rather than a knee-jerk pricing choice?
    Cheers
    Jane - thanks again for helping
    Last edited by JaneLWaite; 2nd April 2011 at 12:58 PM.

  9. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kat101 View Post
    Webanywhere quoted us over £10,000 to replace our Uniservity VLE plus over £3k per annum for maintenance and support.

    At the moment Uniservity is cheaper.
    We were quoted a free replacement front end website and less than £3K for three years licence/maintenace and support if enough schools in the area signed up for webanywhere - maybe I misunderstood the pitch. So Uniservity is way more expensive (for us) at more than £3K per year with again enough schools - a postcode lottery?
    Last edited by JaneLWaite; 2nd April 2011 at 03:57 PM.

  10. #39

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    Still with Uniservity, with an option to switch over to Life sometime before next April. Whilst it is most likely that we will switch, we are continuing to look at other options.

    As previously mentioned we've had a quote of over £10k from Webanywhere for a customised Moodle platform. My biggest concern with switching to moodle isn't the costs but the amount of training and set up time required - I think someone else has already mentioned that this is probably the biggest outlay. We're an average sized secondary and at the moment I am the only member of staff trained sufficiently enough to be the superuser for the Uniservity clc and I only work on the VLE part time, even though all our kids and staff are on it and using it. Other teachers do bits but not the main day to day admin and set up. I'm very concerned that moodle will beyond the scope of our ataff and that I just won't have enough time to learn it, set it up and manage it. I could spend all day everyday working on the clc to make it as good as it can be but unfortunately it is only part of my job and SLT aren't about to acknowledge any time soon the amount of time any VLE takes up if they don't get all the staff doing their fair share.

    Have been asked to look at other options and have received some basic info on the REALSMARTCLOUD product by Smartassess

    realsmart - the real learning suite

    Has anyone else heard of it or know any more about it?

  11. #40

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    Hey kat, we are an infant school - so there are the ends of the spectrum. Our head will make the decision as to what product we go with. Cost is such a significant factor - particularly short term. Plus critical mass of other schools. My preference is to stay with uniservity - as I can see that some of the changes in LiFE look good and its that whole thing of we have some momentum to change practise and a new provider would slow/jepodise that. I can so understand your situation that you are the adminstrator and 'developer' and you have a 'day' job - I am very fortuante that our lovely head and ICT co-ord have allocated an admin staff member to do the admin and half termly staff meetings devoted to the VLE (in the ICT suite) mean that adoption by others is taking hold. Not looked at Smartassess butwill now.

  12. #41

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    Google + other free shareware products (I think too hard and scary for me and my confidence and tech level)
    You have got to be kidding. since setting this up I don't have to show anyone how to update the website, its so easy the kids can do it. Did you notice uniservity used Google for its life booking requests lol.

    I created our schools entire website in the Google sites so it looked the same and then switched, so everything looked the same for the staff. To edit a page click edit and type then save and its done, none of this back and forth between different pages.

    Its perfect for primary schools but probably not what secondary are after and its free.

  13. #42

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    To setup Google apps for Education goto Google Apps for Education - Free Hosted Email (Gmail) for EDU click get apps, click Sign Up Now and fill in the school details using your .sch.uk domain. Dont worry it will not do anything at this point to your .sch.uk website or email its only to prove your a school.

    Then login to your new google apps system http://www.google.com/a/schoolname.sch.uk and play. Its all private and offline unless you decide to go public.

  14. #43

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    Oh dear we must be missing a trick here. We have very stringent rules about access and each pupil is set up with their own username and password - 120 new pupils per year. They are not allowed to see photos of any other children from other classes - so each pupil is allocated to a class and there are the relevant group/sub group permissions to maintain as children are mixed up as they move from year R to year 1. Then each class has its own home page - which teachers maintain - adding photos/work etc. We also have year group pages and public pages that we maintain. Pupils are starting to collaborate but resoruces are created by teachers.
    Is it the user maintenance side that we seem to be making a meal of?

  15. #44
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    I note that some schools may have gone over to Uniservity's Life platform in April. Is anyone able to give any feedback about how it is going?

  16. #45
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    I had a play with RealSmart, a couple of the ex-Studywiz guys went over to RealSmart.

    Very nice, good gui but missing some of the core functions of the other VLEs (or at least was). Great for an art student portfolio, not so great for testing and bits like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kat101 View Post
    Still with Uniservity, with an option to switch over to Life sometime before next April. Whilst it is most likely that we will switch, we are continuing to look at other options.

    As previously mentioned we've had a quote of over £10k from Webanywhere for a customised Moodle platform. My biggest concern with switching to moodle isn't the costs but the amount of training and set up time required - I think someone else has already mentioned that this is probably the biggest outlay. We're an average sized secondary and at the moment I am the only member of staff trained sufficiently enough to be the superuser for the Uniservity clc and I only work on the VLE part time, even though all our kids and staff are on it and using it. Other teachers do bits but not the main day to day admin and set up. I'm very concerned that moodle will beyond the scope of our ataff and that I just won't have enough time to learn it, set it up and manage it. I could spend all day everyday working on the clc to make it as good as it can be but unfortunately it is only part of my job and SLT aren't about to acknowledge any time soon the amount of time any VLE takes up if they don't get all the staff doing their fair share.

    Have been asked to look at other options and have received some basic info on the REALSMARTCLOUD product by Smartassess

    realsmart - the real learning suite

    Has anyone else heard of it or know any more about it?



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