Category: Announcements

Accelerated Access to ManageBac for Schools in China

August 7, 2014

 

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We are delighted to announce our partnership with ChinaNetCenter to accelerate service levels for our Mainland Chinese schools using ManageBac.

As we both know living behind the Great Chinese Firewall means that accessing international servers often requires VPN access or special configuration, and with inconsistent speeds, this can be very frustrating for many users.

Our new CDN service can be activated on a per-school basis for all users – without any additional configuration for students or parents. This will allow you to avoid using an international VPN by routing your traffic locally within China (behind the firewall) and should immediately improve your user experience, file upload and general navigation speeds by up to 2x – 3x.

Please contact the ManageBac Global Support team at support@managebac.com if you would like to learn more about pricing and enable China CDN for your school account.

MYP Next Chapter Transition Update

August 1, 2014

Earlier today we deployed the final updates for the transition to MYP Next Chapter on ManageBac. These changes are effective from August 1, 2014 for May-session schools and for January 1, 2015 for November-session schools in the Southern hemisphere.

Please find a brief summary of the key changes, which we encourage you to share with your colleagues. Please note the transitions to the MYP Next Chapter are now permanent and irreversible. Once MYP Next Chapter has been enabled for your school’s account, you will not be able to switch back to the old curriculum.

 1. As of today, the old MYP subject groups and subject labels will no longer appear and your MYP subject choices will be fully migrated over. If you participated in an MYP Pilot, your classes will have been migrated over seamlessly.

All subject group headings have now been updated (e.g. Language A => Language and literature):

  • Language A  => Language and literature
  • Language B  => Language acquisition
  • Humanities  => Individuals and societies
  • Technology  => Design
  • Physical Education => Physical and health education

2. Legacy MYP classes, which were created in prior academic years, will continue to hold old unit plans and historical assessment details, which will be preserved with old criteria.

3. MYP Next Chapter assessment criteria and objectives have been updated fully programme-wide across the unit plans, assessment tasks, term gradebooks and report cards. In September 2014, the grade boundaries will be revised to reflect the MYP Coordinator’s Handbook enabling you to begin submission of term grades.

4. When editing historical unit plans, teachers will have the option to select the Global Context, Key & Related Concepts and to formulate Inquiry Questions & Statement of Inquiry. Once any of these elements are selected, the historical unit details including resources and tasks will be migrated into the MYP Next Chapter unit planner layout.

5. MYP Next Chapter assessment criteria and objectives are now available for all units and tasks. Please note that previously selected criteria and objectives are no longer visible in the units. When adding old assessment tasks via the Add Resources you will need to select new criteria, but all other task information will carry forward.

As an MYP Coordinator, these are a few things to keep in mind:

  • You will want to ensure that your enabled Subjects are accurate. Check under Settings > Middle Years > Subjects.
  • If you created any classes for the 2014-2015 academic year, we recommend bulk-archiving or deleting them now. In order for your teachers to assess against the MYP Next Chapter criteria, your classes must be created after August 1, 2014 (or Jan 1, 2015 for November schools).
  • You can easily bulk import your classes for the 2014-2015 academic year via the Classes tab.
  • If you have any subject-specific MYP rubrics, these will also need to be recreated under Settings > Middle Years > Rubrics & Options.

As an MYP Teacher, these are a few things to keep in mind:

  • All your previous classes should be archived, and new MYP Next Chapter classes should be created for the 2014-2015 academic year.
  • All previous units should be immediately available via the Units. Review your units. To make changes, click Edit Unit. Update your unit for MYP Next Chapter by indicating the Global Context, selecting Key & Related concepts and formulating Inquiry Questions & the Statement of Inquiry. (Key tabs to review & complete: Inquiry & Purpose, Assessment, Backward Planning.)
  • Click on the Tasks tab to add new tasks. To use previously created tasks, click Add Resources. You will need to update the criteria choices for MYP Next Chapter. Any prior task-specific rubrics will also have to be adapted for the new assessment criteria.

Concluding Notes:
Please note that all old classes and assessment tasks (created prior to August 1, 2014) will still be available on your school account. They are retained as a historical record.

If you have not yet enabled MYP Next Chapter on your account, you can do so via the Settings > General tab. Please notify us at support@managebac.com and we can then assist you in enabling the new Next Chapter subjects for your school.

Let us know via e-mail or phone if you have any questions or feedback! We will be organizing webinars and posting tutorial videos at the end of August; please stay tuned for additional updates.

ManageBac Scheduled Downtime on Saturday, August 2

July 31, 2014

Our servers will be down for maintenance on Saturday, August 2 from 2pm-4pm HKT (GMT+8). Thanks for your patience and enjoy the weekend!

Feature Friday

July 18, 2014

We’ve made several improvements to the system this week:

General:

  • When planning DP and PYP units, a Confirm Navigation message now appears if users navigate away from the page without saving changes. This message has previously existed for MYP units.
  • Student Imports can now update data for existing users. The quickest way to bulk update student information will be to export students via Users > Export Students & Parents, update the spreadsheet, and re-import the CSV via Users > Import Students. Note that e-mail addresses are used to identify users and cannot be bulk updated.

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  • In addition to student first name, last name, and ID, you can now search for students based on their preferred name, other name, or e-mail address.
  • Calendar Events created in the IB Parents Association group will now appear in all administrators’ Dashboard Calendar. The event will also be visible to teachers whose classes match the event’s selected programmes and grades. For example, an event shared with MYP and PYP parents will not be visible to DP teachers.

Middle Years Programme:

  • Service & Action is now live and applies to all newly created MYP Groups. Current MYP Groups will still show the S&A tab, but the learning outcomes and activities have not changed to retain historical data. Within a new MYP Group, you can configure hour types via the Group Settings.

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  • The hour types are available for students to select when new activities are added.

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  • Within the student worksheet, activity hours and S&A completion is tracked in real time.

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Attendance:

  • Holidays can now be included as part of attendance rotation days. This option can be enabled via Settings > Attendance > Settings.

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Feature Friday

July 4, 2014

We’ve made several improvements to the system this week:

General:

  • Administrators and teachers/advisors are now able to upload files on behalf of students. Administrators can upload assignments for all students. Teachers can only upload files for students in classes they are teaching, and advisors can upload files for their advisees. You will see a green plus sign now available in the Dropbox.

Diploma Programme:

  • CAS Activities: the Request Supervisor Review button is now hidden if no reflections have been added. This prevents students from requesting reviews for incomplete activities.
  • Comments-only assessment is now available for assignments. These assignments are not included in the term average calculation.

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 6.46.17 PM

Middle Years Programme:

  • C&S Activities: the Request Supervisor Review button is now hidden if no reflections have been added. This prevents students from requesting reviews for incomplete activities.

Feature Friday

June 20, 2014

We’ve made several improvements to the system this week:

General:

  • Parents now see titles of Key Contacts. For parents with multiple children in the school, the Key Contacts change depending on which programme the child is in (e.g. the parent of a DP student will see the DP Coordinator). Key Contacts can be specified under the Administrator or Teacher’s Profile > Roles.

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  • Reports are now sorted alphabetically in both the Generate Reports dropdown menu, as well as the Manage Templates page. The Manage Templates page also separates the templates based on programme.

1. Report Generation Page

2. Report Templates Page

Diploma Programme:

  • Assignments can now be exported to PDF. This can be done via the Assignments > Export to PDF.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 10.30.14 AM

Middle Years Programme:

  • Tasks can now be exported to PDF. This can be done via Tasks > Export to PDF. The export contains the selected Criteria, Achievement Levels, and Descriptors.
  • The Unit Planning Wizard has changed. In the Backward Planning tab, built-in standards can be checked, while additional Knowledge and/or Skills can be added as normal. The Learner Profile and International Mindedness tabs are now indicated as optional.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 12.48.23 PM

  • The Learning Experiences and Teaching Strategies tabs have been combined into the Learning & Teaching tab.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 12.55.56 PM

Primary Years Programme

  • More than one teacher can now be specified as the subject teacher on reports. This can be set via the Homeroom Class > Edit Class Settings > Assign Class Teachers. Teachers specified in the Homeroom Class Settings will override the teacher specified in the PYP administrative settings.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 6.10.00 PM

  • Specialist subject teachers can also be specified in the Homeroom Class Settings. However, if a Specialist class has also been created, the teacher(s) of the class will override the specified teacher(s) in the Homeroom Class Settings.

InterSIS Bulk Messaging

June 19, 2014

Students and Parents can now be messaged in bulk in InterSIS. The message is delivered to students and parents via email. You can message students and parents via the Messaging tab.

Messaging

Key features include:

  • E-mails can be delivered to students, parents, or both.
  • Custom mailing lists based on student enrollment status (e.g. Admitted, Enrolled), programmes (e.g. DP, MYP), and grade levels.
  • Dynamic candidate list that changes based on search filters. Students who have already been selected appear in the Selected Student section.
  • Customizable mail based on mail merge values, found in the Legend of Values section.
  • Preview Message before sending the e-mail.

Preview Message

We will be deploying additional bulk messaging features this summer and fall, including:

  • Sent messages to appear in both the Dashboard and Family’s Latest Activity feed.
  • Messages to be authored by the administrator’s personal e-mail.

Lastly, Messaging via SMS is in our implementation roadmap, but we have not yet scheduled a release date.

Save the Date: ManageBac User Group Conferences

June 16, 2014

Following the success of our first ManageBac User Group Conference in Shanghai earlier this month, we are excited to announce the following upcoming user group conferences. The conferences are designed as professional development opportunities for coordinators, technology specialists, and heads of school.

They include presentations from existing ManageBac users on best practices and implementation strategies, as well as updates & support from ManageBac staff on our latest feature releases. We hope to welcome you and your colleagues at one of our conferences soon!

Save the Dates:

Adelaide: July 29, 2014
Hosted at Mercedes College

Dubai: December 12-13, 2014
Hosted at GEMS Wellington Academy

Munich: February 27-28, 2015
Hosted at Bavarian International School

If you are interested in leading a session in Dubai or Munich, please send an email to angelica@managebac.com with a brief session description and proposal.

Don’t see your region listed? If you are interested in hosting a user group conference at your school in 2015, please let us know.

Shanghai User Group Conference: Recap

June 13, 2014

On Saturday, June 7, we hosted our first-ever ManageBac User Group Conference at Western International School of Shanghai (WISS).  We were thrilled to welcome over 40 participants from 18 different IB World Schools, many of whom traveled from other cities in China to join the one-day conference and meet their peers.

After opening remarks from ManageBac, five of our existing schools presented their experiences from across the IB continuum, followed by discussion groups and an open hands-on workshop. The day concluded with a networking event.

The presentations featured:

  • Wayne Voogt (IT Support Officer) and Shelley Bragg (Director of Marketing) from WISS: As a full IB school with 750 students in K-12, WISS was careful about the switch to a new system and formed a pilot group in 2011 to lead implementation. The team included members from the technology team, heads of school, coordinators and teaching staff. WISS has also started using OpenApply and InterSIS, with the goal of moving to a fully integrated school management system.
  • Jessamine Koenig (DP Coordinator & High School Vice Principal) from Shanghai Community International School: Jessamine focused on the process of moving from ManageBac for the CAS programme to using the system fully across the Diploma Core, including for curriculum planning and classroom management, noting that heavy encouragement comes from their students, who are keen on having all information on one system.
  • Hugo Drummond (Head of Middle School & Deputy Head) from Utahloy International School Guangzhou: Based on his own experiences, Hugo advocated for a long transition period for staff. He took 6 to 12 months for the system transition, using ManageBac first for curriculum planning, then gradebook and reporting, and lastly moving to attendance. He attributed successful implementation to involving teachers with IT experience from the very beginning, as they helped bring other teachers onboard.
  • Iain Riley (Grade 5 Coordinator) from Shanghai United International School: Iain and his colleagues chose ManageBac for its ability to link teachers, students and parents without paperwork and at an affordable price. Iain noted adopting ManageBac was a no brainer, as ”curriculum planning is a dream.” In contrast to Hugo’s more gradual approach, Iain successfully launched ManageBac during the PYP Exhibition week.
  • Jason Borovick (IT/ICT Manager) from Changchun American International School: As CAIS was working hard to obtain authorization as an IB world school several years ago, the school made a critical technical decision to implement ManageBac. Jason noted that achieving buy-in from teachers was also key to the system’s success, and shared a letter from IB staff which showed ManageBac implementation directly contributed to the school’s successful authorization last year. CAIS recently also become an iPad school, which allows students & teachers to use the ManageBac iOS app.

The training workshops held in the afternoon were led by speakers and ManageBac support staff.  In summary, recommended advice shared for effective implementation included:

  • involving the school technology team to assist with setup and ensuring smooth access to the system for all users within the school,
  • delegating one or more ManageBac representatives internally to train teachers and consolidate feedback back to the ManageBac support team,
  • committing time for parent training, especially if language barriers prevent parents from logging in.

We had a wonderful time connecting with our schools in China! To learn more about the conference, download the programme here:
http://managebac.com/mbconfsh

And save the dates for our upcoming user group conferences!

managebac conference bags managebac conference managebac conference shanghai

 

Feature Friday

June 13, 2014

We’ve made several improvements to the system this week:

Diploma Programme:

  • Both the Language A and Language B > Orals page now offer a dropdown menu. This feature was previously only available for Language A classes.Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 3.05.57 PM

Middle Years Programme:

  • The Learner Profile and International Mindedness sections are now included in the unit planner PDF Export. These sections will be omitted from the PDF if they have not been filled in the unit planner.

Attendance:

  • Attendance Reminders now show the recipients list before sending the reminders out to teachers. You can send attendance reminders via Settings > Attendance > Send Attendance Reminder.

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 12.10.40 PM

Groups:

  • Writing a comment for a message now offers the ability to notify all users in the group via email, even if the users have not contributed to the thread.

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Reports:

  • Reports now support up to four signers for the Cover Letter and Summary pages. You can add signers and upload signatures via the Report template > Cover Sheet tab.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 2.40.07 PM

  • The Reports > Export Term Grades spreadsheet now includes a By Teacher worksheet.

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