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March 8, 2016

We are finally getting serious about upgrading our main website for our BOCES organization.  If you know what a BOCES is, you now there are a lot of considerations that go into the decision about who to upgrade to.

We are currently using a SchoolWorld solution, that belong to Blackboard.  We are considering upgrading to the SchoolWires solution, also from blackboard.  We are also looking into a company called Logisoft.  They would be the anti-establishment candidate, during this political season.  We can call Logisoft – BernieSoft – feel the Burn.

My view is how i will the existing content port over to a new system?  How will that be done, who will do it, what kind of migration does it look like, how long would it take, what would be our role?  My collegue, Shannon, who is the public information officer, looks at it like what other things does the service offer?  calendar syncing, sub-site options, mobile options, easy to use, training for the site users?, admin interfaces for our content champions?

As a BOCES, we have several other entities that exist within our organization, like two tech centers, one each in Williamson and Stanley NY.  Also, spec. education buildings in 4 different locations and a couple others.  All of which are part of the BOCES system.

The view from the seats looks like “how many of our sub-sites could be housed in the main site?”  In other words, do the special education building really need their own site?  Lets bring them into the fold, under the umbrella of the main BOCES site.  Create a sub space for them.  That would seem a better solution, as we are paying fewer renewal fees for DNSs and steamlining the process.

A problem with bringing the ed. centers under the umbrella would be sharing say a calendar or some other module that is already being used by the BOCES site.

I am going to make a comparative chart, that highlights certain items from each vendor.  That is also the view from the admin. level people at BOCES.  That want to know the summary data, total cost, fees, support, license etc.  Not as much in the way of detail.

One of the things we are doing is getting temp. admin accounts from both vendor, so we can look at that side of the site…although as i think about that, it will not be what makes the decision – that will be things on the front end – usage related things – that has more people interested.  I think, not sure.  The people who are admins are not really concerned about the interface or how to do things, they are more concerned with what can it do and how easy it is, intuitive.

Today, I discovered one of our districts, ironically, our local high school, were the BOCES is located, is using one of the two options we are considering, Blackboard SchoolWires.   Its a good change for me to look around a little more closely to see how different the service is from the old one, Blackboard schoolWorld option.  Additionally, there is another BOCES in our state that has upgraded to Blackboard SchoolWires, Naussa BOCES.  Another good place to look around a little.

I did notice in both Newark and Naussa Wires sites that they are using the Calendar module.  There are feeds avail to allow you to sync up devices like your phone or google calendar to the websites.  In other words, the Wires site is the provider of the calendar data.  A feed is created for consumer apps, like your phone or some other 3rd party consumer.  That is probably not big news for many, but I do not use the calendar much, but other seem to….



Both Wires sites have a calendar presence on their home pages.



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