Online classroom provide bird's eye-view of student activities

Novell replaced with Microsoft

Brigidine College has rolled-out a new staff and student portal to allow its 850 students and 120 teachers to access online classroom assessments, reports, curriculum, and educational resources.

According to Brigidine College director of ICT Karen Holt, the North Sydney-based high school previously did not have access to online resources due to its outdated Novell infrastructure.

"The outdated IT system was holding the college back from equipping real world technology [and] we wanted to upgrade to a more modern and flexible system for learning management and operations," Holt said.

The college deployed a new Web gateway for staff and students, and purchased 120 Vista notebooks for its teachers to remotely post classroom materials and update student progress.

Students can now check their daily or weekly timetables, curriculum, resources, lesson plans and assessments through their portal sites, while parents can view student progress and work.

"We have totally revamped the way we teach in the classroom; teachers can create online learning activities saved on a central repository, [and] students can remotely access and shared materials online," Holt said.

While the school has saved money in printing and photocopying, Holt said the biggest benefit is in staff and student productivity, and better access to a wider resource pool.

The Scholaris Learning Gateway is built on the Microsoft Learning Gateway, and uses Windows Vista and Microsoft Office SharePoint 2007 which have been deployed across the schools computers.

Students can communicate online via a message board, an SMS feature, and individual e-mail accounts.

According to Holt, the solution meets the requirements of ministries of education, schools and higher education institutions and is compliant with the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) and IMS standards.

Brigidine will deploy additional funtionality into the portal, and plans to replace mail-out school reports with an online alternative.

"We still aren't using the system to its full potential; in the near future we plan to do away with school reports all together as parents can keep up to date with their children's progress online, which will mean real time and cost savings for the school," Holt added.

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