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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Some Fronter detail please in Technical; I've been asked to look at Fronter. Having scanned the posts here there doesn't seem to be too much detail. ...
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    beeswax's Avatar
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    Some Fronter detail please

    I've been asked to look at Fronter. Having scanned the posts here there doesn't seem to be too much detail.
    Does it sit on Sharepoint, for example, or stand by itself?
    Does it tend to be hosted off-site, or can it be hosted in house?
    Is it all web based?
    Can it be set up as an MLE?
    Is it SCORM compliant?
    I'll try and think of more questions to ask as I get into it.

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    Re: Some Fronter detail please

    Fronter stands by itself. It can be hosted in house, but from what I know it is usually hosted on their Linux servers in Norway (at the university of oslo). I know ours is.

    It is 100% web based, and is as far as I know SCORM compliant.

    What is the difference between a VLE and a MLE?

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    beeswax's Avatar
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    Re: Some Fronter detail please

    As I see it, a VLE is the Learning Environment, pure and simple. An MLE, Managed Learning Environment, is a single user interface where not only pupils can access the Learning section, but admin and teachers can also access their MIS etc, and parents can see details of their child's progress and examples of their work. So depending which group you belong to, as you log on you bring up a user interface appropriate to you. For myself, it has the advantage of providing a seamless user experience whichever section of the program you're in, e.g. teachers don't have to learn how to manoeuvre round two interfaces. It also provides for a single logon (I know that can be done with two separate programs). I'm all for making the user experience as simple as possible, not everyone works in IT.

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    Re: Some Fronter detail please

    ^BUMP^

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    Re: Some Fronter detail please

    Our LEA (Trafford) has today announced it is going to use Fronter after a much drawn out consulation process (going on 3 years now)

    We have been given the choice of take part or go your own way. They will fund it for the first year (allowing the government to meet their 2008 target and appease the voters) and then we have to find funding ourselve (about £1.50 per student and staff in a school of about 1000 kids) :?

    Currently I am struggling to see how this system will integrate with SIMS (but I'm assuming it does do it hence it probably wouldnt have been chosen). So is anyone else using fronter?

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    Re: Some Fronter detail please

    Our LEA (Leicester City) is going to use Fronter in the new year. I saw a demo on it a while back and although it looks impressive I can’t see it being much use for the primary age kids at either of my two schools. As far as I’m aware, there has been no mention of the school paying anything to use Fronter but of course that could change. This is another example of money being wasted to meet government targets when in my schools it would be better spent on replacing hardware.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jobos View Post
    Our LEA (Leicester City) is going to use Fronter in the new year. I saw a demo on it a while back and although it looks impressive I can’t see it being much use for the primary age kids at either of my two schools. .
    hi why do you say Fronter won't be much use for the primary age kids?
    is it hard to use? is there a lot of reading involved? are the kids expected to do a lot of writing or use higher level ICT skills? would be interested to know whether this MLE would be any use for primary, especially younger children, and if not which MLEs are better in this respect and why
    thanks

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    Somerset has signed it's 1 year contract with Fronter this week and will be providing it to all primary and first schools, and every second and middle school that wishes to use it.

    The interface is quite good, although it lacks in one or 2 areas.

    The first issue is that it can't export directly back to Assessment Manager, so isn't really as useful as it could be, but then this is more of a problem with Capita, or so I have been told.

    The second issue is the fact that there is no option for a session time out. So if a pupil logs in, or an admin/teacher/support staff, on a public machine and forget to click logout, the next person who goes to the machine will have full access to that person's account. I was told that Fronter are not going to be adding the ability to have a timeout either - which is a very bad thing.

    On the plus side, it is 1000% better than Learnwise, the interface is much better and easier for people to learn how to use. Tasks such as creating a quiz are easy.

    On whether or not it will be useful for primary age kids. I agree that it's use will be very limited. I just can't see how it will aid a child's lessons.

    And it is not an MLE, it is a VLE. To build an MLE you would need a piece of software such as Learning Gateway to access the sims information. Somerset is building a MLE using just that. Accounts will be provisioned from the SIMS database and will be used across the services of the MLE, and hopefully will only require a single sign in for each person.

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    Notts LA are going to be using Fronter too.

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    Fronter has been selected as the preferred Learning Platform provider for Surrey schools.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomlin View Post
    Fronter has been selected as the preferred Learning Platform provider for Surrey schools.
    The question is..why?

    The quality and capabilities of the current crop of VLEs seems to be quite lacking considering the cost they are charging for them. I have seen more sophisticated systems developed by schools themselves.

    Fronter especially seems to lack polish and is appears to be a patched together product. It does not seem to offer any kind of integration with SIMS, no LDAP authentication, and the interface is much less intuitive than Moodle.

    I am puzzled as to why so many places seem to be signing up to it, what are the killer functions it has? Granted, it has won some product awards, but it actually seems quite inflexible and aethestically awful. I struggle to see how it can be transformed into something appealing to younger age range kids (primary/middle).
    Last edited by klawd; 6th March 2008 at 09:00 PM. Reason: typo

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    Quote Originally Posted by klawd View Post
    It does not seem to offer any kind of integration with SIMS, no LDAP authentication.
    Not true..... Fronter does offer integration with SIMS, CMIS, RM Integris to name a few. It also offers LDAP authenticaiton!

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    Quote Originally Posted by klawd View Post
    The quality and capabilities of the current crop of VLEs seems to be quite lacking considering the cost they are charging for them. I have seen more sophisticated systems developed by schools themselves.
    Because most schools simply don't have time to build systems themselves.

    Fronter especially seems to lack polish and is appears to be a patched together product. It does not seem to offer any kind of integration with SIMS, no LDAP authentication, and the interface is much less intuitive than Moodle.
    Well, it integrates with SIMS and Active Directory just fine, or so I've been led to believe by our LEA who will be co-ordinating a single sign on project that will integrate every school in Somerset into a central AD system by pulling the details from their SIMS.net servers.

    And it pulls all the class details directly from SIMS too. The only thing it can't do is put data back into SIMS.

    Now, bear in mind that this is what we have been *told*. Not what we've seen, as we haven't had it set up for us yet.

    I am puzzled as to why so many places seem to be signing up to it, what are the killer functions it has? Granted, it has won some product awards, but it actually seems quite inflexible and aethestically awful. I struggle to see how it can be transformed into something appealing to younger age range kids (primary/middle).
    Well, it looks better than the average Moodle install when you have a bunch of young kids like we do. It is also hugely more intuitive and aesthetically pleasing than Learnwise. And I would have said the opposite - it looks more friendly to the younger kids than the older.

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    I've seen it pull data from both Serco Facility CMIS and SIMS (I currently use Fronter with CIMS and am moving to SIMS soon), been told that it can integrate with AD and the LGFL (London Grid for Learning) have implemented SSO for Fronter and other LGFL services which works ok

    You are correct in saying the data transfer between your MIS and Fronter is a one way operation - unfortunatly.
    Last edited by adamf; 6th March 2008 at 09:41 PM. Reason: typo

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    Jay
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    LgFL

    FYI, from my (limited) understanding:

    London Grid for Learning have over 400K users on Fronter. Might be an idea to have a chat with an area, wouldn't hurt.

    J

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