Trial application help
Welcome to the tutorial page for the trial application. Here you'll be shown what to look out for when using the trial.
When using the application, look out for the little question mark buttons: They will provide useful information or advice, as well as giving you an opportunity to get in touch.
Bear in mind that for the purpose of demonstration, the trial is much simpler than what the full version of the application will be. In the full version you can expect to see:
- User and teacher management
- Billing and accounting
- Scheduling and calendar
- Website integration
- School library
And much more! In the mean time, learn about the basics here.
Students and Contracts
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As you log in to the admin application, you’ll be presented with a list of the school’s students to the left of the screen.
The students table
Click on a student, and on the top right that student’s information will appear. The student information is split into two parts: the student’s details to the left, and their contract details to the right.
Basic student information to the left, and contract information to the right
Adding and editing students and contracts
Clicking “New” above a contract will add a contract to the currently selected student. You can create new students from both the “students” panel and the “student information” box.
The student edit screen
You can also edit both the student and contract from the “edit” button above each section. Feel free to make any changes you want – modifications made to the trial database will be reset at the end of day (try to avoid obscenities, if you can).
The contract edit screen
Active and inactive contracts
When a student uses up their hours, admin can “deactivate” the contract in a single click. This means the student will no longer be signed up to that group, and won’t appear to the teachers, though both the contract and student record are retained. The student may well come back for more!
The checkbox for activating or deactivating contracts
Also, a student could have two contracts active at the same time (a group conversation class and an exam class, for example, or two different languages).
Searching through students and contracts
The initial settings in the “students” panel will present you with all the students in the school. Start typing in the search box and the list will be whittled down.
The search settings for students and contracts
Then you can click the “show contracts” checkbox, which will show both inactive and active contracts (active contracts appear in green). Notice how the columns change, and the “total” box will show the totals for both contracts and students.
Then you can view only active contracts. Again the columns change, showing you how many hours and days are remaining. Click on these columns’ headers to sort them accordingly. This gives you a quick and easy way to keep tabs on contracts that are about to end.
Finally you can search only active contracts where the student has not attended in a given amount of time; an indication that a phone call is in order, perhaps.
You can also search contracts by group, more on which later!
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Next to the “students” tab you’ll see the lessons tab. Click on it, and you are presented now with a list of lessons. Click on a lesson, and on the bottom right of the screen you’ll see lesson information, displaying time, attendance and material covered.
The lessons table
Add and edit lessons
New lessons can be added from both the “lessons” tab and the “lesson information” box, though if you implement the teacher app this should not be necessary. Lessons can be edited from the “lesson information” box.
The lesson info screen
Editing or creating lessons is a bit more elaborate than what we’ve seen before. The basic lesson information including time, level and group are to the left. To the right of that is material covered, and below is attendance.
The lesson edit screen
When adding topics or textbooks to the lesson, it’s a good idea to use items that already exist, but of course it’s possible that you’ll be using a resource, or talking about an issue, that hasn’t been used yet. If so, write out the item you wish to add, then click add, and you’ll be prompted with a message. Click yes to add this item to the database.
Adding topics covered and textbooks used to the lesson
This system is flexible, but the obvious issue is that redundancies might enter the database. It can be hard to keep on top of alternate, or incorrect spellings, but later on we’ll deal with how that can be achieved.
By default, only students signed up to the lesson’s group can be added, though admin staff have the option to search from all students if need be.
Searching through lessons
The search filters give you quite a lot of flexibility regarding lessons. You can limit lessons to the specific student, or contract, you have currently selected, or search by teacher, group and date.
Lesson search options
You’ll notice the rather small “browse” button. This functionality is especially useful for teachers, and is provided for the teacher app, but click on it to have a look.
The lesson browser
Here you’ll see a screen with a slew of search options to view all lessons, their contents, and their attendance.
The most common use of this screen is for teachers to check that they’re not repeating material (if they’re covering a class, or have had this group for a long time). They can fill in the material in the textbooks and topics tab, and search by group (typing their name in the group search box is a quick way to view all the groups they are assigned to). Setting the group to “Attended by students in this group” ensures that classes the students had attended in other groups are also covered.
Groups and the Edit Tab
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You may have noticed before that both contracts and lessons are associated with a group. Groups have a level, time and teacher, as well as the students (though strictly speaking, contracts) associated with it.
The groups tab
This is a minimal implementation. It could be expanded to include one-to-one classes, specific days of the week with possibly different times, which would ultimately lead to a full scheduling feature. For the sake of the trial we’re keeping things simple.
The group edit screen
This time, both the search functionality and information display is incorporated into the same tab. You can also add or edit groups from here. Please feel free to experiment.
The edit tab
Finally the edit tab is where you can edit various other aspects of the database, such as topics, textbooks, levels, languages and more. For the sake of the trial, only the first three appear here.
The edit tab
The most interesting aspect of this panel is the option to “merge” topics and textbooks. It does nobody any good if multiple names for the same textbook exist; that could lead to unreliable searches. It’s a good idea for a standardised system to be put into place so that teachers know what to search for (Do we write “New English File” or “NEF”? Is it “intermediate” or just “int”).
Editing a topic
If a redundant topic / textbook has been added, admin can straighten things about by merging redundancies. To achieve this, simply rename a topic to have the same name as another. After the prompt (which warns you that this is irreversible), the two topics will be merged, and this will be reflected in lessons that contain that topic.
The Teacher App and Live Updating
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While you have MBeeTech running, it listens out for changes made by other users who are also connected. Any changes made will be picked up and displayed on your application.
A nice way to see this is to keep the admin application open, and in another tab open up the teacher application. Log in, and you’ll be presented with a much simpler interface. This application is intended simply to provide teachers with information, and allow them to register classes.
The teacher application
As you log in, there isn’t much to see. “Browse” presents teachers with the same lesson browsing screen as in the admin app. So time to click “new lesson”.
Selecting a group
Now the teacher has to pick a group to create a new lesson for. If the teacher is assigned to a group, and they log on within the time window that group is supposed to have class, the table is limited to that group (but the teacher can search for others if need be).
Editing a lesson
Pick a group, then click “use this group”, and the teacher is presented with the same lesson edit screen as in the admin app, with some default values already put in. Hopefully the teacher needs only add attendance and materials covered, then save.
Lesson information. Notice the timer for editing
Now the teacher can see the contents of the lesson, and also has a limited time to edit. But if you switch back to the admin app, and go to the lessons tab, the lesson has already been added. Now edit the lesson from the admin app, switch back to the teacher app, and you’ll see it has been updated accordingly. In this way, the applications are always live, with no need to refresh