Features of a SharePoint Learning Platform- MIS Integration

July 29, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: e-learning, Learning Platform, SharePoint 

Having taken you through the differences between a VLE, MLE and Learning Platform I thought it would be useful to exemplify features of a SharePoint Learning Platform. You will be unsurprised to know that I will be using examples from Twynham School’s Learning Gateway to illustrate the different elements which can create a rich Learning Platform.

The first example is integration of what schools in the UK call an MIS or Management Information System. The classic example is our Online Reporting web parts which can be seen below.

The actual student details and contacts are removed but this shows a typical profile of timetable, attendance and performance which all students parents and teachers can see directly through our Learning Platform.

In addition to Online Reporting we are able to pull through a wide range of data which helps school leaders to manage the school. The image below shows the Headline GCSE results for the school in 2007/8. These appear instantly within the SharePoint Learning Platform and can then be interrogated by Faculties, Subjects, Class and student (more on this nearer exam results).

A recent addition to our Learning Gateway is the ability to pull headline attendance data from the MIS and interrogate it to look at different groupings of student and their attendance levels. An example of a report is shown below.

Online Reporting to Parents Report Viewer

February 10, 2009 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Online Reporting, SharePoint, Twynham School 

To finish the series I have been running on our work to meet the 2010 agenda for Online Reporting to Parents I wanted to show you what we have done with reports. These are perhaps the most informative piece of feedback parents receive in the year but the traditional delivery method can creates a number of problems. How many of the reports never make it home? The only way to get anywhere near 100% of reports to parents is post them out (far too expensive) or reply slips which take up hundreds of hours of admin time in a school. The other issue is how well read are the reports and how are they stored? For all of these issues having reports available online anytime anywhere with a secure login makes a lot of sense.

Annual Report Web Part

Annual Report Web Part


The image above shows the web part interface when a parent logs in to the Parent Gateway. A parent can click on any of the years to see reports across the whole time the student is present at school. Now that we have seen the 5 major web parts we have produced it is worth seeing them all together in context. Our parents and students can access the ‘My Child’ or ‘My Progress’ in one click and the view they see is as follows.

'My Progress' page top

'My Progress' page top

'My Progress' page bottom

'My Progress' page bottom

All of our Web Parts work on both CMIS and Capita SIMS. If you are interested in using the Web Parts on your SharePoint site then you can contact me at mike.herrity@twynhamschool.com

Online Reporting to Parents ‘My Grades’

February 9, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Reporting, Twynham School 

Over the last week I have been talking about the web parts we have been producing to support the drive for Online Reporting to Parents. Undoubtedly our most popular web part so far has been the ‘My Grades’ web part. The idea behind this is that parents, students and teachers can track the progress of a student across a whole Key Stage.  Throughout the period parents would normally receive a series of reviews and reports but these would be sent out via students. Connecting the data together has been the major issue here in terms of tracking the progress of students. This is where the ‘My Grades’ web part comes in.

'My Grades' web part

The example above shows the  grade progression for a student in KS4. Their subject and target grades are pulled directly from the MIS system into our web part. When a report or review is completed by teachers it will appear in real time to students and parent. Grades which are one or more below target are shown in red and those grades above target are shown in green. One of the biggest challenges is the real time nature of this activity. Do we want students and parent to look at review grades and reports before they have been checked? At present we have opted for a delay period before the information is made available to students and parents. What is interesting is the reaction of students before we set these controls up. Students do care about their grades and would come in early in the morning (or log in at home) to see which new grades were available. We even had students assking teachers in lessons- when are you going to put my grades on! A nice challenge to have to deal with.

Online Reporting to Parents-Attendance Web parts

February 3, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Reporting, SharePoint, Twynham School 

Yesterday I introduced our work developing Web parts for SharePoint 2007. After our first Web part, The ‘My Timetable’ Web part we moved on to looking at student attendance at school. This is a crucial area with government statistics showing a 15% drop in attendance (from 100%-85%) reduces a student’s GCSE outcome by 1 grade on average. To start with we wanted to show student attendance in morning and afternoon registration. Having learned a lot from their early Web part development Chris and Darren our developers managed to create a ‘My Tutor Time Attendance’ Web part within weeks. We have developed this work with Richard Willis from Salamander Soft to include headline statistics and the final product is here.

'My Attendance' Web part

As well tutor time attendance in June 2008 we had a request from our Sixth Form to produce a Web part for lessons. The main driver for this was the fact that our year 13 students are not always required to attend tutor time and so keeping tracks on them was proving difficult. Although most students were attending all the time some were slipping through the cracks and so an easy way of monitoring lesson attendance was essential. The result is shown below- ‘My lessons’ attendance.

My Lessons Attendance

My Lessons Attendance

The impact of these Web parts has been significant in the school. Tutors and Heads of Year as well as teachers are able to track students in the school and measure how often the attend lessons. Now that we have rolled this work out to students and parents we are able to encourage them to take responsibility for ensuring they are successful at school.

SharePoint Web Parts for Online Reporting to Parents

February 2, 2009 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Online Reporting, SharePoint, Twynham School 

While I was at BETT in early January I was chatting to Alex Pearce from Great Barr School. He has a great blog and so I asked him for tips on my recent venture into writing a blog. He rightly pointed out that I really didn’t speak enough about SharePoint in Education which is my blog title! He is of course right and I do tend to get side tracked by technology in general but I hope to put his constructive criticism right during February. To start this I thought it would be good to share some of our work on creating Web Parts in SharePoint. In case you don’t know what a Web Part is and are new to SharePoint have a look at this handy guide in Wikipedia but in essence it is Microsoft’s version of a widget.

Twynham School started creating Web Parts all the way back in September 2007 soon after we had set up SharePoint 2007. Dave Coleman was (and is) a wise man and knew that this was the best way to help us develop our School Gateway and overcome data integration issues. He felt the challenge was really to make SharePoint the one-stop shop for staff and students to access everything they would need online. As a result we started work on pulling staff and students timetable data out of our MIS (Managment Information System) and into SharePoint. This was a mammoth undertaking for our two SQL/SharePoint developers Chris McKinley and Darren White but within half a term we had our first Web Part- The ‘My Timetable’ Web Part which can be seen below.

'My Timetable' Web part with subject highlight

The view above is a timetable for s student in year 11. The Timetable Web part appears on both the staff and student gateways and is driven by active directory. As a result it recognises the user logged in and pulls their timetable. We have made a number of refinments in the year since this Web part was made. Students and teachers can now hover over any class and it will highlight the other linked classes. You can also view the timetable in single day and one week/two week cycle. This Web part has been the first of many which we have made in 2008 and I will run through some of the others ones during this week. If you would like to look at all the work we have done take a look at our showcase site