Brand-new registration website is now live, with working* version of EduLog interface

school_choice_edulog_interfaceGoing to make this quick.

http://choice.champaignschools.org/

This is the new website for Unit 4 registration. It is also referred to as the “dashboard”; I have not yet read up on it too much, but one would infer that one can “manage” one’s school choice from such an interface.

I am quickly going through the registration process and am noticing several things. First, there is extremely little data checking; I am entering bogus data for most fields and the web interface assumes they are all good. The one field that has been checked so far is the birthdate, so at least a very minimal amount of checking is happening. Of most interest to me was the EduLog interface, which you can find on the fourth screen after you have successfully entered your birthdate and address (you get an error message if either one is whacky, I found out).

Big caveat!! The software interface is not working well. My child, A A (yes, that is the name I gave my fictional child, very easy to type) has a proximity to Barkstall. Proximity B at that. And yet Carrie Busey is a 10 minute walk and I already have one child there as a Proximity A student. So… be warned, there are bugs. Wow, Carrie Busey doesn’t even show up on my list…..

Overall, the registration site looks and feels very much like Dr. Alves’ previous incarnations. That lack of data checking really worries me a lot. We paid over $100k for this? Yuck. And it was late. And we didn’t beta test it. Yuck.

*working means that it does accept an address and tell you how far they think you live from each school.

 

UPDATE: as of 8:36pm, March 1st, it looks like the Carrie Busey problem has been resolved. Go forth and find new problems. ๐Ÿ™‚

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14 Responses to “Brand-new registration website is now live, with working* version of EduLog interface”

  1. charlesdschultz Says:

    It is ironic that the “sibling” listed is for a school I cannot choose. Hey, but kudos for finding the kid that lives at the same address – that shows a little promise. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    Yeah, I am not liking the “dashboard” interface that much. I am having painful flashbacks to the Oracle Corp. Support website.

  3. pattsi Says:

    I am very confused. Though I am not a computer whiz dizz; nonetheless, I have many colleages/friends who are. What I have been taught by them is that one does not launch a new program/site without Beta testing. And even when that protocol is followed, often times when a site/program is launched to the public undiscovered issues might arise. These get immediate attention. So my macro question has to do with the amount spent on this and the contract to find out if there are several months of backup, included, to take care of what surfaces after launch?

  4. M. Hinz (@MHinz1) Says:

    Hmm, when I type in my address it lists Westview as a proximity A for me…it must be using the Kirby Ave. address. I assume this is a bug.

  5. charlesdschultz Says:

    @pattsi: Right, that is good practice, but clearly that is not what we received. Just another issue to pile on top of a long list of issues I have with Alves’ company.

    @MHinz1: Good catch; I have made the administration aware of this issue. I’ll report back when I hear about a resolution.

  6. SBC Says:

    I am a pretty computer/tech savvy person but there are some things that are not clear to me. Starting on the first screen – if I have a child who will be a Kindergartener in the fall where do I list them? Are they school age – and I don’t fill in which school they go to? Or are they pre-school aged?

    I couldn’t seem to get the sibling thing to work – I put in three siblings each at different schools but they didn’t show up on the choice page anywhere. Maybe I did it wrong?

    I also accidentally put in 1998 as the birth year for my “Kindergartener” but nothing flagged that as likely incorrect! (I meant 2008.)

    And under school options on the choice page, what does -BL mean? I assume -ESL is English as a Second Language and that -GEN means General?

    I am also surprised that the pull-down menus don’t update when you make a selection – say I pick Robeson as first choice, the second choice pull-down menu should no longer include Robeson.

  7. SBC Says:

    And it didn’t provide any distance to school information for my address – I’m west of Staley. I changed the address to one in Cherry Hills and that worked correctly.

  8. charlesdschultz Says:

    @SBC: I totally agree – the interface is not well thought out from a parent’s point of view (makes me wonder if parent’s were even involved in the process). It is my observation that the sibling and proximity priorities are all determined on the 4th screen; siblings are determined “automatically” by a reverse address lookup against the district database of enrolled students. It doesn’t really matter what you put in as siblings on the prior page. ๐Ÿ™‚ I would be curious to know if anyone has a fifth-grader – does the system flag that child as a sibling at an elementary school for next year?

    I believe -BL stands for bilingual, which is different but similar to ESL. I think we only have Spanish BL programs, but I could be wrong about that.

    If your “west of Staley” address isn’t showing up, it’s because they haven’t added it to their special EduLog software. Which is a pain; you have to submit a simple request (but a request none-the-less) to have the FIC staff input your address and map it to a busroute before it will show up in the EduLog interface (ie, the 4th screen). I recommend you do that soon. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think if you click on the “Continue, use this address” box, that will prompt an automatic request to be filed. I think. The interface obviously lacks any helpful documentation (par for the course, imo) or relevant tool-tips.

  9. charlesdschultz Says:

    PS – for the record, I am forwarding these concerns to Dr. Zola and Dr. Wiegand. All of them. In fact, I would recommend you contact Dr. Zola directly in addition to posting on here:
    Susan Zola zolasu@champaignschools.org

  10. SBC Says:

    I don’t have a child in Unit 4 anymore (you probably remember my story – moved here from out of state in 2011, fun experience getting a school assigned for my 4th grade daughter, skipped her up to 5th, and then moved her to private for 6th – which I have to say we are incredibly pleased with!). But I keep up with Unit 4 goings-on in your blog, which I think is a wonderful public service. And thank you for forwarding the issues to those who can take them under consideration. The interface is definitely not well thought out from a parent’s point of view – especially one whose children are just entering the school system.

    I think you are right about BL but I don’t think that is obvious to most people!

  11. charlesdschultz Says:

    Meg has poster her article:
    http://www.news-gazette.com/news/education/2013-03-02/champaign-school-district-adds-online-registration-help.html

    I just ran through the registration again and noticed lots of problems with the data collection. For instance:
    – On the first screen, the only information that is required is first name, last name, a phone number and number of people in the house. Phone number accepts anything (ie, letters) and number of adults in the house can be negative.
    – On the second screen, you don’t have to enter anything.
    – On the third screen, you need to pick a minimum of three radio buttons, one for each of the main fields. Hard to mess that up. ๐Ÿ™‚
    – Fourth screen; where to begin…. As stated before, the only real checking is on the birthdate, but that only conforms the format of the date, not the actual data you enter. For instance, 01-01-0001 is valid. For Race, you can select every option (seems kinda weird – what really is race? *evil grin*). The form actually does walk you through each mandatory field via error messages, one at a time; this is rather tedious. Instead of seeing all mandatory fields at once, you get to discover them through trial and error.
    – Even though this is a “dashboard”, I cannot jump to any phase of the registration. There are no cookies set, no session login, no way for the web form to remember who I am or what I have done before. That’s not a dashboard. Maybe I am missing something.

    As a reminder, this software costs a minimum of $92,000, and to an out-of-state company at that. We totally got ripped off on this one.

    To end on a good note, I very much that the district is moving towards a more convenient format for some people. I hope this translates into a better experience for those that do not use the web site at all; ie, those who either do not have a computer or simply choose to use an alternative method like filling in a form with paper and pencil, at the FIC. I like that the district recognizes the importance of being transparent and making things less confusing (as pointed out in Meg’s article).

  12. charlesdschultz Says:

    Latest note sent to the Unit 4 team:

    In reviewing the current software, I see another major issue and a minor one. Using the test address of 1502 W. Kirby Avenue, it looks like Westview is listed as .11 miles. However, Westview is scheduled to be back on Russel Street in 2013-2014. Instead, Bottenfield, which is currently listed as 1.03 miles, will be at the Kirby address for 2013-2014.

    The minor issue is that this address lists four separate schools as Proximity A; through my involvement, I understand what this means, but your average Joe may not realize they only get one Proximity school. It would be extremely helpful to have more documentation directly on the page and linked for further reading.

  13. SBC Says:

    Good thing we are all Beta testing this for them!


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