Features & Functionality
User creates an account with a username, email address, password, zip/state, avatar and they tag themselves by their interest declarations with regard to their subject, grade, and topic interests. Many social networks look empty because they don't default their users with a unique icon. MySyllabi gives the user a selection of avatars to choose from based on their subject/grade/topic interests as well as the ability to upload their own. Upon registration a user is automatically given a profile/inbox record which is crawlable within the database. The primary key of this profile is an @mysyllabi.org email address automatically given to the user.
The registration process is made up of five steps. The first step is made up of the details mentioned above. The second step involves titling the user's school, creating a description and uploading an avatar. The third step involves creating teacher accounts. The fourth step involves creating student accounts and linking them to their teachers. The last step involves creating parent accounts and linking them to their children (students). Upon completion of this last step an automatic email is sent out to these new users in order to invite them to participate. go to top
A school or district administrator can gain an eagle eye of activity taking place within each of her classrooms. The inbox is a collection of all the daily contributions to each of the classrooms in the district. Users can click on the calendar on the left in order to display a set of listings in the past or future. Because a school or district is made up of multiple classrooms, it is important to have the ability filter among this feed. The administrator user has the ability to filter this feed by subject/grade/topic or by state standard. The administrator can also receive messages in this queue. go to top
The users profile is made up of the username, the user's avatar, the description of the user, a listing of her interest tags,all the public resources and messages created by her faculty and stored in school classrooms . By toggling among the hyperlinks at the top of the profile page, you can see her favorites folder of resources, her colleagues list, her classrooms list, her list of subscriptions, and statistics on how active the user is. These affiliations are also featured in boxes on the left sidebar along with additional boxes for her schools list and her sponsors list. go to top
Upon registration, a classroom is set up for each teacher that the school administrator creates in the system. A classroom page is like a blog. It is a collection of resource contributions made on behalf of the classroom. A classroom page has a profile/description, an avatar, subscribers (teachers, parents, & students), permissions and user roles for those subscribers, a list of contributions made on behalf of the classroom, resources relaid to the page from other classrooms, a favorite folder and sub-folders therein, a calendar view of all resource associated with the classroom, privacy settings, category tags (subjects, grades, topics) so that similar teachers can find the classroom and subscriptions so that the classroom can be put on “auto-pilot” and thereafter dependent on the contributions of another classroom. A teacher can create and be administrator of as many classroom pages as she wishes. Administrators and those subscribers with privileges have the ability to re-order/reschedule contributions however they see fit. School/district administrators have the ability to edit the developments of classrooms they are affiliated with by teacher-school relationships. go to top
Privacy is extremely important within the MySyllabi system. While we do want to encourage as much collaboration as possible, we do not want to force it upon our users. Users can opt-out of default privacy settings for each of the number of ways that users can privatize their identity and contributions on the site. A user can privatize her personal profile, she can privatize a classroom that she is an administrator of, and she can privatize resources that she creates.
Profile set to private cannot be viewed by users that aren't affiliated as a my colleague. Profile privacy settings are toggled on the user's my account page. Browsing and searching users do see the listing of private users, however when they click to see the private users profile, the only information that is displayed is the private user's avatar, description, listed tags, and a button that allows outsiders to request to be a my colleague. Once a private user approves this request, the rest of the profile features of the private user are available to be seen.
Classrooms set to private cannot be viewed by users that aren't affiliated as subscribers. Classroom privacy settings are controlled by the administrators of the classroom and are accessed within the admin control menu bar. Browsing and searching users do see the listing of private classrooms, however when they click to see the private classroom's profile, the only information that is displayed is the private classroom's avatar, description, listed tags, and a button that allows outsiders to request to be a my subscriber. Classroom administrators have the ability set a less sensitive version of this by allowing the public community of users to view the classroom, but make them request to subscribe. If the admin wants to let them subscribe, but doesn't want them to contribute, then she can set her user roles accordingly. All of these requests are supported by email and message notification in the administrator and requester's inbox. MySyllabi greatly values the security of parent and student accounts, however our system is flexible enough to allow teachers to show off the contributions of their students and parents. If a teacher's school chooses so, then she has the option to make her parent and student contributions public for other members of the community to see on her classroom page. By default, this option is turned off.
Resources have a series of options with regard to privatization. The final step of authoring allows the user to control these privacy settings and they can be edited throughout the life-span of the resource. The original author can allow the resource to be indexed, can allow it to be viewed, allowed to be edited as a wiki, and allowed for other teachers to customize on their own; or each of these options can not be allowed – its up to the original author to determine. Draft resources can only be seen by the original author, however she may create a list of colleagues who have access to view and relay the resource. This information is featured on the permissions toggle of the opened resource underneath. Unlike private profiles and classrooms, private resources are not indexed and available through search or browsing. go to top
Users can create resources that are stored within particular classroom pages. The authoring template to create resources is dynamic and dependent on the type of resource the user wants to create. These types include weblink, folder, video, chat, slideshow, image, learning game, assessment, or audio. Authors can also attach files or url address to a resource. Resources can be kept private so that only the user can see them in draft, permissions can be set so that only a particular group of users can see the resource (like a group), or they can be made public so that they can be seen by the entire MySyllabi community through search, what's new, or inbox feeds. If a resource is made public, it must be tagged by subject, grade and topic so that it can be displayed to the right users in the MySyllabi community. A user can only author resources on behalf of the classroom page, not on behalf of herself (her profile). To create a resource, an admin user visits the classroom page she'd like to post on, then clicks the create resource hyperlink in the top right. go to top
Individual messages and group messages (announcements) can be sent, delivered and received on MySyllabi. Message authoring can be initiated by going to someone 's profile page and clicking the "send message" button or the user can click the create tab and select "message" in order to create. A message has a title, body and attachments. It has a list of recipients that the user can select from her contacts list (made from her classroom subscription affiliations or from her colleague list). You cannot send unsolicited messages to someone within the MySyllabi community. You must be affiliated by school, classroom or colleague list in order to send a message to someone within the MySyllabi community. A message can be created on behalf of a user, or on behalf of a classroom or school. Messages can be sent to outside email address using the MySyllabi tool. Emails from outside address can also be received within the MySyllabi tool if the user either configures their primary email address or the school administrator purchases the MySyllabi tool for the primary email for his faculty. go to top
To add someone to your list of teachers, an administer user visits that user's profile and clicks the “add to schools” button. That potential faculty member must confirm the request in order for the two user's to be connected by school. Teachers who are affiliated to a school allow for administrative privileges to be put over them: editing/deleting profile & contributions. go to top
An administrator user's display is made of a series of tabs on the right, “body”, portion of the screen. These tabs include the the inbox tab mentioned above as well as a Schools, Classrooms, Teachers, Parents and Students tab where users can browse through their community as well as the MySyllabi community.
Under the Teachers tab, the user can view an output of teacher profile listings ranked by activity level. At the default screen, the user sees all of the teachers within her district or school community. The user can refine this list by subject/grade or category. The user can also see teachers across the nation in the MySyllabi community. Here, the admin can create new teachers for her school/district community. When the user clicks on the top teachers hyperlink above, the user sees three folders are featured at the top of the list allowing the user to browse within the top three teacher categories. Underneath is a list of the top, most active teachers across the nation according to the user's subject/grade/topic interests. The user can filter by subject and grade, state or by category. These categories include teachers, administrators, librarians, professors, curriculum coordinators, tech coordinators, and educational publishers.
Under the Classrooms tab, the user can view an output of teacher profile listings ranked by activity level. At the default screen, the user sees all of the classrooms within her district or school community. The user can refine this list by subject/grade or category. The user can also see classrooms across the nation in the MySyllabi community. Here, the admin can create new classrooms for her school/district community. When the user clicks on the top teachers hyperlink above, the user sees three folders are featured at the top of the list allowing the user to browse within the top three classroom categories. Underneath is a list of the top, most active classrooms according to the algorithm mentioned above and the user's subject/grade/topic interests. The user can filter by subject and grade, state or by category. These categories include educational publishers, pre-schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges & universities, schools of education, private schools, home schools, charter schools, department of education, professional development, teacher associations, technology groups, and vendors/sponsors. Users can toggle to create a new classroom or toggle to view a list of my classrooms.
Under the Schools tab, the user can view an output of school profile listings ranked by activity level. At the default screen, the user sees all of the schools within her district community. The user can refine this list by subject/grade or category. The user can also see schools across the nation in the MySyllabi community. Here, the admin can create new schools for her district community. When the user clicks on the top schools hyperlink above, the user sees three folders are featured at the top of the list allowing the user to browse within the top three school categories. Underneath is a list of the top, most active schools. The user can filter by subject and grade, state or by category. These categories include pre-schools, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, charter schools, private schools, secondary schools, grad schools, colleges, universities, training schools, and summer schools. Users can toggle to see the most active “top” schools, toggle to see new schools, or toggle to view a list of my schools.
Under the Parents tab, the user can view an output of parent profile listings ranked by activity level. At the default screen, the user sees all of the parents within her district community. The user can refine this list by subject/grade. Here, the admin can create new parents for her district community. She can toggle to see profile listing ranked for slacking parents or new parents. If the user does so choose, she can broadcast an announcement (message) to all parents in her school community from here.
Under the Students tab, the user can view an output of student profile listings ranked by activity level. At the default screen, the user sees all of the students within her district community. The user can refine this list by subject/grade. Here, the admin can create new students for her district community. She can toggle to see profile listing ranked for slacking students, or new students. If the user does so choose, she can broadcast an announcement (message) to all students in her school community from here.
Similar functionality surrounds the experience when a user clicks on the browse resources hyperlink featured in the resource box on the left sidebar. Here, the user can browse through terrific resource active within the school/district community as well as in the MySyllabi community at a whole. Under the default screen, the user can view an output of school resource listings ranked by popularity. The user can refine this list by subject/grade or category. The user can also see resource listings across the nation in the MySyllabi community. Here, the admin can create new resource for her district community. When the user clicks on the top resources hyperlink above, three folders are featured at the top of the list allowing the user to browse within the top three resource categories. Underneath is a list of the top, most active resources according to the algorithm mentioned above and the user's subject/grade/topic interests. The user can filter by subject and grade, state standard or by category. Users can toggle to see new resources or toggle to view a list of my resources.
Similar functionality also surrounds the experience when a user clicks on the EDU+AID logo featured in the sponsors box on the left sidebar. Under the sponsors screen, the user can browse through terrific sponsors active within our community. At the default screen, the most active sponsors are featured according to the amount of dollars donated to teachers. Users can toggle to see new sponsors according to category: entertainment, clothes, equipment, food, travel, & misc. Each listed sponsor offers a merit based pay raise opportunity for a teacher as well as a promotional discount/give-away. Sponsors on these toggle pages are ranked by the amount of available sponsorship opportunities. go to top
All public resources, teacher profiles, classroom profiles, and school profiles are crawlable and ranked because they must be tagged. Messages are not crawlable. Through keyword input, a user is returned a queue of listings ranked by the either the amount of activity within the classroom, the amount of calendars/classroom posting pages a resource is posted on, or the amount of activity a teacher or school is involved in. Administrator can search for public and private listings affiliated with their school. go to top
Every listing in MySyllabi is mobile, meaning that it can be forwarded to the inbox of either a classroom or the inbox of a user. If a resource is relaid, then a duplicate copy of the record is stored on the classroom page or inbox and "parent" data is stored within the new record. Users are free to delete the new record if they wish but if they choose to edit the listing, then the original "parent" data is retained. If a classroom, user profile, or school is relaid to a classroom or user inbox, then an agent record is stored on the classroom page or inbox, which points to the particular profile. To relay a listing in MySyllabi, a user can drag and drop the icon to its left towards each of the boxes featured on the left. Users can also relay resources, by opening them up and clicking on the hyperlinks featured at the bottom of the hover box (which opens a according menu). Listings relaid to an inbox go to the top of the inbox's stack for the day. Listings relaid to a calendar day on the left go to the top of the inbox for the according day selected. go to top
Classroom administrators can set permissions determining who can view affiliated items. One of those permissions is the right to subscribe to a classroom. Classroom subscriptions allow users to receive an automatic feed to their inbox every time a new contribution is added to a classroom. A school administrator automatically subscribes to all classrooms affiliated to the school/district. Similar to a relay, this feed automatically creates a new record in the user's inbox. Users are free to delete the new record if they wish but if they choose to edit the listing, then the original "parent" data is retained. Depending on the permissions of the classroom, subscribers may be able to contribute collaboratively to the classroom as well. Notification feeds consolidate records stored in a user's personal inbox when the user contributes to a classroom that they subscribe to. When viewing the classroom page queue, the user can see who authored each contribution, while non-subscribers only see the classroom avatar. Resources relaid to the classroom page feature the avatar of the originating classroom. To subscribe to a classroom, a users visits the profile page of the classroom and clicks on the "subscribe" link featured within the classroom description. Private classrooms require a request and approval by the classroom administrator. All classroom affiliations are featured as a thumbnail in the classrooms box featured in the left sidebar. A school administrator has the ability, through admin privileges, to set up subscriptions for any teacher, parent, student, or classroom in the school/district community. go to top
If a user likes the entire contents of a particular classroom page but wants to customize it to one her own classroom calendars, she has a unique resource called a digital syllabus. A digital syllabus is sequence of classroom postings that a teacher can insert into her calendar, starting on the day of her choosing. The contents of the blog are then-after dripped according to the subscriber at the pace for which they are originally authored/scheduled (with weekends taken into consideration). Teachers can edit digital syllabi before they insert them into their calendar. This is valuable not only for curriculum spanning an entire year but also in smaller spitz such as a few weeks covering a unit or a few days covering a lesson. A teacher can create new digital syllabi by clicking from a classroom posting page that she has created or one made by other permitting teachers in the community. Digital syllabi can also be converted from filled folders or from classroom pages. They can also be created from a blank slate by dragging resources from the resource box on the right to the calendar days featured on the right. After opening A digital syllabus up to see in month calendar view, the teacher can also rearrange and delete resources scheduled. A school administrator has the ability, through admin privileges, to set up digital syllabus subscriptions for any teacher, parent, student, or classroom in the school/district community. go to top
There is a “Request to Join School” button on each school profile. Teachers can request to join the school with this button and the administrator is sent a message with this request. By joining a school, a teacher's profile (and the profiles of her parents and students) contributions, classrooms and messages can be monitored, edited, and deleted by the administrator of a school.
School affiliations are featured in a thumbnail in the school box on the left sidebar. If a teacher is already a member of the MySyllabi community before a school/district decides to purchase the participation package, then the administrator can go to the teacher's profile and click the “Add to school” button. go to top
A school admin user can browse through opportunities to have classrooms within her school sponsored. Underneath the Classrooms tab is a folder full of class sponsorship opportunities. A school administrator can visit the classroom profile page of these sponsors and click on the "sponsorship request" button. She must then select checkboxes for each of the classrooms from her school. By selecting a sponsorship for a classroom, school/district teachers are eligible for rewards provided by the sponsor depending on the listed requirements associated with the particular sponsorship program she selects. These requirements are tied to the statistics of the classroom which focus on consumption rates of subscribers. Classroom sponsorships are brought to light with a banner ad featured next to every opened resource associated with the classroom. Classroom sponsorship is also highlighted with a thumbnail in the sponsor box on the left sidebar. Clicking this thumbnail travels the user to sponsor's classroom page. School/district administrators or their teachers may opt-out of sponsorship for any of their classrooms, but they only receive reward from the sponsor if they fulfill the listed statistical requirements. go to top
While the user is able to use MySyllabi completely and disband their current email system, they may want to take the whole experience slowly and have it work alongside their current email system. This is done through email updates sent from MySyllabi to the user's previous email inbox (hotmail, yahoo, gmail, ect...) or if they have them social network notifications (MySpace, Facebook). As you may have read so far, there are many updates that may be associated with a particular user. The system defaults with one email sent out a day, which is a mirror listing of a user's inbox. In addition, any subscription requests or colleague requests are sent immediately. The user is free to change these settings so that they receive an email once a week, or immediately for each update, or one per classroom subscription. The school/district administrator has control to set this control for each of her teachers users. go to top
To the left of all output is a contextual side bar that facilitates easy navigation and organization around the MySyllabi website. The different types of affiliation boxes include Classrooms, Calendar, Teachers, Resources, Parents, Students, Schools, and Sponsors. The thumbnails featured in these boxes are in the same order as the user defines them on their full blown sisters. There is an additional vertical scroll bar positioned to the left of the window as well. This scroll bar allows the user to vertically scroll and position the boxes for optimum drag n' drop efficiency. Ideally, we will be make this scrolling action a cycled loop so that when the user navigates to the bottom of the scroll bar, it automatically restarts from the top. All listing featured throughout the site can be dragged and dropped into the thumbnails of these boxes. By simply rolling over the thumbnails within each box, the title of the thumbnail's destination is interchanged with the caption of the box. The sidebar does not reload when the user navigates from the right side and takes advantage of framing technology. The sidebar also takes advantage of variable window size among different monitors and screen resolutions. Users can expand the sidebar horizontally and expand the horizontal length of each box. Each box can also be expanded vertically. In both cases more thumbnails are possibly displayed and any spill over is compensated with a mini scroll bar positioned on the right of each box.
While the sidebar does not reload when the user navigates from the right side of the page, it does take cues upon these hyperlink clicks commissioned on the right side of the page. These cues send reload instructions to particular boxes within the scroll bar, allowing them to reload individually with ajax technology. These boxes are dynamic depending on where the user has found herself navigated on the site. If a user is browsing or situated in front of My Profile content, then the content featured within the boxes is relative to my affiliations. However, if I am viewing the profile of a particular classroom, teachers, parents, student, school, or sponsor/vendor, then the contents in each of these boxes is relative to the affiliation of that particular profile. What is unique about these boxes is that they serve for ample navigation on their own. By clicking on the caption of each box, the user is able to toggle between particular affiliations that are relevant at the time. For example. If I am on a school profile, then I can click on the caption of the calendar box to toggle between sets of calendars representing each of the classrooms of the school. This tool is extremely useful when relaying great listings, especially when I want to relay a listing to a particular day in the future on the calendar of one of the classrooms I am either administrator or subscriber of. go to top
Resources can be opened from numerous locations throughout the site. To open a resource, a user can simply click on the title. By doing so a hover over box opens and resizes according the containing content. The rest of the screen grays out when a resource is open and it can be closed by either clicking the “close” hyperlink in the menu at the top of the hover over or by clicking anywhere in the gray area. The layout of the resource hover over is made up of a menu of hyperlinks at the top and bottom as well as content located in the middle. Controls to navigate the content is featured within the content itself and depend on the type the resource represents. The hyperlinks in the bottom menu allow for relay without having to drag and drop. These controls include adding the resource to a classroom calendar, directly forward a resource directly to the top of a classroom stack, forward a resource to a colleague, saving a resource into either my favorites folder or saving a resource into a favorites folder belonging to one of my affiliated classrooms. In addition, controls here include the ability open the resource in a new tab, the ability to flag the content as inappropriate, and the ability to edit or delete the resource. Hyperlinks belonging to the menu at the top of the hover over window include controls featuring information about the resource. These include a toggle to see usage and consumption statistics of the resource itself, a toggle to see who has viewed the resource and when they viewed it, a toggle listing the permissions set by the original author, a toggle listing all comments left from consuming users, a toggle featuring tags set by the original author, and a toggle featuring all the classrooms that the resource has been scheduled on. go to top