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 creating accounts for a parent's children. The third step involves creating accounts for a parent's spouse and additional family members. The fourth step involves linking the user up with her school. This matching process is done using the email address of the user as well as their grade and state data. The last step involves linking this parent, and her created children accounts, with teachers and classrooms from her school. 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
The users inbox/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 she has created intermingled with resources and messages received in her inbox. Users can click on the calendar on the left in order to display a set of listings in the past or future. By toggling among the hyperlinks at the top of a user's Inbox, that user can see her subscriptions, her sent messages, and her private resources. She can also filter postings by category, subject, and grade. By toggling among the hyperlinks at the top of a user's 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.
These affiliations are also featured in boxes on the left sidebar along with an additional box for her schools list. Parent profiles are viewable by affiliated teachers and other members of the parents family. A parent user can also toggle to the my family hyperlink featured at the top of the page. Here the parent views a queue of link to the profile pages of each her family members. By clicking on a particular link here, the parent user can visit her child's profile, view all the activity that child is involved with, and edit that child's profile or contributions if need be. A condensed view of a parents profile (just avatar, description, title & tags) can be viewed by other parent and student members of classrooms if those parents and students share the same school affiliation and classroom affiliation. go to top
Parent users are matched with their teachers' classrooms upon registration. 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), 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 interested users can find the classroom. According to the privileges that the teacher administer of the classrooms determines, parent user can make contributions to the classroom. These contributions are normally at the request of the teacher. go to top
Privacy is extremely important within the MySyllabi system. The profile pages of parents and students are kept private to foreign teachers who browse through classroom pages while affiliated teachers and administrators can have access to view them. Parent and Student profiles are not indexable, searchable, or browseable. If a parent subscriber and a teacher administrator of a classroom share the same school affiliation, then the teacher has access to edit or delete the profile or description of the parent.
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 available to the teacher. 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. 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 chooses, then she has the option to make her parent's and student's classroom contributions public for other members of the community to see on the classroom page. By default, this option is turned off. However, in order to maintain quality within the searchable database, student and parent creations are not indexed. go to top
Depending on the settings determined by the administrating teacher of a classroom, parent 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. A user can only author resources on behalf of the classroom page, not on behalf of herself (her profile). go to top
Parents can only send messages to the teachers whose classrooms they subscribe to or members of their family. Message authoring can be initiated by going to a teacher's or child's profile page and clicking the "send message" button or the user can click the create tab and select "message" in order to create. Parents can only receive messages from their parents and administrators of the classrooms they subscribe to. 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 my family list or from her teachers list). Within the community, a parent cannot send unsolicited messages to someone who they are not affiliated with. Parents must be affiliated to a teacher by classroom subscription or to a child by family affiliation in order to send a message to someone within the MySyllabi community. 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 family, a parent user can create an account for their children, spouse, parents, in-laws, ect...If you try to create an account for a family member with an email address and it turns out they already have one, then a prompt is displayed to request the linkage (pending email confirmation). As mentioned in the inbox/profile section, a parent has access to the profile pages of her family members from the my family box on the left sidebar or from the my family hyperlink on the inbox tab. If a parent-child relation is established between two users, then the parent has access to edit the profile and contributions of the child (student) user. go to top
Parent users are matched with their teachers upon registration. These teachers can be accessed by clicking on the teachers tab and clicking the my teachers hyperlink or by clicking one of the thumbnails featured in the teachers box on the left sidebar. The admin teacher of each of those classroom that the parent or her children subscribe to are featured in my teachers. If for some reason, the parent is looking for a particular teacher, she can browse through the teachers tab or she can search for the teacher by name or email address. go to top
Upon sign-in, a parent is presented with a view of the most popular resources scheduled today on classroom pages throughout the entire MySyllabi site. The list of resources that the user sees is filtered by the same subject, grade, and topic interest tags as the user originally declared upon registration. The list includes all types of resources. The order for which the resources are ranked is dependent on how many classroom pages a particular resource is scheduled on. The algorithm takes into consideration how many classroom pages the resource is scheduled on today as well as how many classroom pages the resources is scheduled for any date. Users can click on calendar days on the box on the left in order to view a set of listings from the past or future. User can filter the list of resources by subject/grade/topic tags or by state standards. If she does so wish, the user can click on the customize hyperlink and further filter the daily output she sees under her default what's new tab. By sequencing & scheduling these topics, the user is qualifying what topical resources she sees over various time segments throughout the year. Technically speaking, this page controls the default topic filter of the resource feed and changes it accordingly by date. The user can also toggle to see the most recent teachers to join the community, the most recent classrooms created within the community, and the most recent schools to sign up for the community; all relative to the users subject, grade, and topic interests declared upon registration. These additional queues are ranked chronologically. go to top
A parent user's display is made of a series of tabs on the right, “body”, portion of the screen. These tabs include the the What's New, Inbox, and Creation tabs mentioned above as well as a Classrooms, Teachers, and Resources tab where users can browse through the MySyllabi community.
Under the Teachers tab, the user can view an output of teacher profile listings. At the default screen, 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. Users can toggle to see the most active, “top”, colleagues or toggle to view a list of my teachers. go to top
Under the resources tab, the user can browse through terrific resources stored in our database. At the default screen, 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.
Under the classrooms tab, the user can browse through terrific classrooms active within our community. At the default screen, 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.
Similar functionality surrounds the experience when a user clicks on the browse schools hyperlink featured in the schools box on the left sidebar. Here, the user can browse through terrific schools active within our community. At the default screen, 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.
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. Student and parent contributions are not searchable in the master index however they may be available while filtering by school or classrooom (depending on administrator settings). 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 subscriptions allow parents to receive an automatic feed to their inbox every time a new contribution is added to a classroom that they are affiliated to. 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. go to top
Parents are linked with their school upon registration but they also can request to join a school after registration. There is a “Request to Join School” button on each school profile. Parent users can request to join the school with this button and the administrator is sent a message with this request. By joining a school, a parent's profile (and the profiles of her children and family members) 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. 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. 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. go to top
To the left of all output is a contextual side bar that facilitates easy navigation and organization around the MySyllabi website. Featured within this sidebar are affiliation boxes that mimic the contents of their full blown sisters. The different types of affiliation boxes include Family, Calendar, Classrooms, Teachers, Resources, and Schools. 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. 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 banner 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