|August 2010 finalsite | web software & services for schools view online|
|In this Issue: |
From Jon's Desk
News You Can Use
School to School
Did You Know?
|From Jon’s Desk|
Welcome to our first newsletter of the new school year! Our goal is to share more of the latest news from finalsite, best practices from schools like yours, and strategies on how to maximize your website.
A bit of trivia: many of us use about 10%% of the functionality of Microsoft Excel. Why? Often that’s all we know about the software. We at finalsite want to ensure that you have the information and strategies you need to equip yourselves and your team to push the envelope on your school website.
This newsletter is the first step of many new initiatives. We hope you find it informative and motivating. We’d love to hear from you so let us know what you think.
News You Can Use
Room to Grow: finalsite Adds 500MB to All School Sites
You read it right. Each school is receiving 500MB of additional disk space in a “Welcome back to school” gift from finalsite. Add video, upload photos, offer more resources on classroom pages, you name it. It’s your space to do with as you wish!
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling: Summer Upgrades a Success
The mid-July software updates and upgrades are already meeting with high praise. We hope you have a chance to try out these new improvements soon; we welcome your feedback at our new CommunityVoice, found on your admin Dashboard.
Where You Need Us: finalsite Expands to Five Offices Worldwide
In case you missed it, this summer finalsite opened new offices in San Francisco, Singapore, and Memphis. Adding these to our headquarters in East Hartford, CT and our London office brings us to five offices across the world. Each office can assist with sales or support so let us know how we can help you.
In the Spotlight: finalsite and Partners Recognized
Recently, Parature, a customer service software provider, highlighted finalsite at its national conference as a company that puts support first. Parature is familiar to most users as the KnowledgeBase and ticketing system for support issues. Next, Loomis-Chaffee School was spotlighted in TechLearning Magazine for its use of finalsite’s Portal technology to better communicate with teachers and students. We are always thrilled when a customer is recognized for their online efforts!
School to School
Summer mailings. School packets. Schools often send home large packets of information and forms each summer, costing time, money, and resources. Next year, why not post these online? Check out two solutions from Lawrence Academy (Groton, MA) and All Saints Academy (Winter Haven, FL).
At Lawrence Academy, the summer mailing has been online since last year but this year was the first time the mailing was password-protected on a tab on the newly-designed parent portal. The new tab layout kept the forms from cluttering up the Parent Portal while still being easy-to-access. Redesigning the portal layout and adding the tabs was “a piece of cake” according to Lawrence’s Webmaster Peter Hazzard. Most of the forms are interactive, to be filled out and submitted online, saving parents time and resources. This solution enabled Lawrence to save at least $1100 on this project alone!
No portals? No problem. All Saints Academy posted their summer forms and information under the parents tab of their website. By moving to an online solution, the school saved $250-300 in postage alone and untold manhours in assembling each packet, says All Saints’ Director of Communications Jennifer Emanuel. Last year staff spent eight to ten hours prioritizing what information should go online and uploading the content. This year staff took only two hours of modifying to ensure the latest information was available. An additional two hours spent making PDFs “fillable” has saved them time and paper, and has thrilled the parents.
Lastly, All Saints created a checklist at the top of the Packet page to ensure that each parent fills out each form. Another savings and success for a finalsite school!
Want to learn more? Check out “Sustainability 101: Summer Mailings Go Online” at finalsiteShare.
Looking for a way to organize classroom assignments? Check out this tip from finalsite’s Deployment team.
Teachers now have an assignment event type that they can add to their calendar. This assignment event type will add two events to their classroom calendar: an assigned date and a due date.
The assignment calendar event type will also allow teachers the option of including a drop box.
The drop box will allow students (or members of the group) to upload or submit files to the teacher (admin of the group). A student can also include a comment with his or her submission. Teachers can download each submission or download a zipped folder of all submissions. The teacher can read comments from the student and submit comments back to the student! Teachers can also accept late assignments; any late submissions will also be noted on the page.
Want to learn more? Sign up for finalsite’s DropBox Webinar
on August 26th at 2pm EST.
Did You Know?
PowerPoint in MultiMedia Manager? Read on for a handy tip from finalsite’s renowned Support team.
Ordinarily, we would recommend saving your PowerPoint presentations as a .pdf file in order to make them available to people via the web. However, some types of presentations may lend themselves to use finalsite’s MultiMedia Manager, such as multiple presentations meant to be consumed in a certain order, or presentations that have background music. By disabling Downloading and Sharing, this would also be a way to deliver a presentation so that it is viewable only on your site. If it's private information, you can make use of MultiMedia Manager's protected channels or folders to restrict access to certain constituents.
The easiest way to do this is to convert your PowerPoint slides into .jpg images and upload them as a slideshow to MultiMedia Manager. In Windows PowerPoint, select the Office button (in 2003 it's "File") > "Save As" > "JPEG File." In the Mac version, select File > "Save as pictures." Both will save your slides to a folder as .jpg image files which you can then upload as a slideshow to MultiMedia Manager. To add background music, simply add another "photo" to the slideshow and instead of selecting an image file, select an .mp3 file and it will automatically be assigned as the soundtrack for the presentation. Here is an example of this using a .ppt file from a finalsite U presentation (be sure to try the fullscreen view):
If sharing is enabled for the slideshow, you can also embed the presentation on an internal or external webpage as shown here (you must have rights to insert HTML code via the web editor to do this on a site page). Please keep in mind that animations and transition effects in your slides will be lost when you save them to .jpg, so it's a good idea to remove them before saving and make your slide content "static."
Wanna get really fancy and add narration timed to the slides? You could import your .jpg photos into a program like GarageBand or Windows Movie Maker, record your narration, and save as an .m4a or .wmv video file which can then be uploaded into a MultiMedia Manager video playlist. Mac users, you can now upload an .m4a file directly!
The All New Forms Manager
8/4/10 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Learn about the new Forms Manager.
Learn about upgrades to Media Manager
8/10/10 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
See More, Do More with Media Manager
Beyond the Password: Upgrades to Portals
8/19/10 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Exciting things are happening to Portal design and layout.
View all upcoming webinars.
Got questions? Need answers?
Let us know how we can help you:
Client Success Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | twitter.com/finalsite
809 Main Street | East Hartford, CT 06108
Toll Free: 800.592.2469