PT: Scheduling your first round of interviews

Jan 28, 2018

Running your first round of interviews can be somewhat daunting to begin with.  It’s a new system to learn and may take you a little while to learn the idiosyncrasies of this particular application.  Be assured however that we have designed Sobs to be easy to use and will give you as much help as […]

DS: Introduction to the Detention system

Jan 23, 2018

A general introduction to using the Detention System Core functionality The purpose of the detention system is to enable staff to record details about the detention event.  The recording of the event includes the ability to include a list of students.  The student names can be entered manually, or selected from a search result of […]

PS: Creating your first permission slip

A short article that helps you understand the process to creating your first permission slip. What you need to know Until recently ‘permission slips’ were a paper based request passed to the parent to complete a set of questions required for an activity or excursion run by the school. Today our information centric world provides […]

SAR: Getting started

There are two ways of using the Student Attendance Register.  You can use it to mark rolls and process absence notifications, or you can import absence information and process the notifications.  Either use requires some information to be loaded, essentially student and parent information, optionally class information. Student and Parent information You should import your […]

WAZ: Setting up for the first time

If this is your first time using Sobs School Notices then this is the article for you.  We will try and step through the process and explain the various stages of configuring the system for your school, however we realise that many schools will configure the system in different ways and for their individual requirements. […]

RB: Setting up for the first time

If this is your first time using Sobs Room and Resource Booking then this is the article for you.  We will try and step through the process and explain the various stages of configuring the system for your school, however we realise that many schools will configure the system in different ways and for their […]

Single Sign On (SSO) with SAML 2 (Version 3)

Oct 7, 2018

Single Sign On (or SSO) is a fantastic option if you have the time and energy to implement it.  SSO allows your staff member to log in once and then access all your school based and web based applications without being prompted to login again. Configuration Firstly it is important to understand the configuration process […]

Unloading student data

Jun 12, 2018

Creating an unload structure While we have the options of creating unload options for various Student Management Systems, currently the only option is to unload selected fields in a CSV format.  Below we document the process of how to create these structures and then how to select students for inclusion in the unload. Beginning from […]

RB: Public displays

Jan 23, 2018

The public display of room and resource booking information is dynamic and time appropriate.  You can use this, for example, outside a library or at the entrance to a number of computer labs or meeting rooms can be found.  The purpose is to show time critical information about what bookings exist for these shared areas, […]

SS: Configuring subjects or sports

The applications comes pre-configured with a number of subjects and co-cirruculars, however you can modify these as required. Building your subject / co-cirrucular choices In the Configuration menu click the “Subjects” link This page allows you to manage all of your subjects and co-cirriculars in one place.  Each subject and co-cirricular is grouped beneath a […]

SS: Student information and access

The application requires an existing student list in order to provide identification and verification.  This is important to ensure students selections are not compromised. Importing student information We design the import process to handle student data in a number of standard formats.  The majority of schools are using a Student Management System, and the majority […]

SS: Creating a round

We use the terminology of “a round” to refer to the process of requesting a selection from students.  This can be a selection of sports or co-cirriculars, or a selection of academic subjects or electives.  It can apply to the entire student body or a particular year level.  The rest of this article explains the […]

SS: Instructions for parents and students

In keeping with some of the other documentation we have provided, below you will find links to a help document for parents and students.  You can download and modify these documents as you wish.  We have included documents in different formats for this purpose. URL access to the site We strongly recommend that you include […]

SS: Linking to an Interview booking

If your school is using both the Subject Selection and Parent/Teacher Interview applications then you might choose to use both applications together, allowing the parent/student to select the subjects and then book an interview to discuss this with one of the course counselling staff at the school. Linking your SS round with a PT round […]

SAR: The big picture

The Student Attendance Register has two main components:  The roll marking and the absence notice processing. Roll Marking Simplify – when the staff member logs into SAR they are prompted with a list of classes they teach.  They select a class and the list of students in that class appear on the screen.  Each student […]

SAR: Starting a new year

There are always a few things to do in order to get started at the beginning of each new year, so this article should lead you through the necessary steps with regard to the SOBS Student Attendance Register. Updating Staff There will generally be a few staff changes each year so let’s start there. Adding […]

SAR: Daily processing

The following article explains the daily process the school will use to create SMS messages and responses, generate emails and print notices Updating the student and parent information SOBS relies on student and parent information being current.  If there are new enrolments or students exiting, it may be necessary to update the student and parent […]

CAL: Instructions for staff

We have included some generic instructions for staff to use this system.  You are welcome to share these with the staff at your school, or you may choose to use them as notes for training sessions with staff. URL access to the site We strongly recommend that you provide your staff a link to the […]

CAL: A school event list widget

You can configure a short event list for display on your school’s home page.  The idea is appealing to many schools, however with so many different page themes to contend with we needed to implement this with the flexibility to handle anything the school’s web designer would throw at us. For this reason we publish […]

CAL: Configuration overview

The structure of the Sobs Calendar application is somewhat different to many calendaring systems.  While Google and Outlook set up different calendars for different people and groups Sobs uses a single calendar and distinguishes events based on the category selected.  Categories are significant and therefore the first areas that we should consider when setting up […]

WAZ: Public access

Providing student (or parent) access to the school notices is a great idea.  Now that they are online we want people to be able to access them electronically, however we are also concerned about the security that needs to be retained.  With a paper notice we would always know where the information was, and copies […]

WAZ: Emailing student notices

You can configure Sobs to send school notices to your students, however there are a couple of different methods: You may have a generic email account for each year level; or You may have an individual email address for each student Simply put we configure a user account to receive these notices but we disable […]

WAZ: Printing the notices

Here at Sobs we do not condone or encourage the use of printed notices and the significant waste of paper caused by their printing.  We do encourage the use of electronic delivery. We do understand however that any system requires a transition period, and therefore the managed migration of school notices from paper to electronic […]

WAZ: Sending out notices during the holidays

There may be occasions when you want to send out some notices to staff before the next school term starts.  Below we describe how to do this. How to send out notices during the holidays Ensure you are logged in as a Sobs administrator Enter the notice as normal (it will automatically schedule for the […]

WAZ: Migrating to the 2016 group update

At the beginning of 2016 we rolled out a new version of the School Notices application.  This document will help you migrate from the previous version to the 2016 updated version. The pre-2016 version grouped notices by year level. The 2016 update is designed to provide the ability for individualised notices to every staff member […]

WAZ: Instructions for staff

We have included some generic instructions for staff to use this system.  You are welcome to share these with the staff at your school, or you may choose to use them as notes for training sessions with staff. URL access to the site We strongly recommend that you provide your staff a link to the […]

RB: Creating reports in Room Booking

Sobs has a flexible but simple reporting tool that is accessible by all staff.  Users can create and store their reports, or schedule them to run on a regular basis. Creating Reports Click the ‘My reports’ option in the main menu.  This will display a list of reports owned by this user.   To add a […]

RB: Having trouble with your report?

Writing reports is fairly straight forward, however there are times when staff find it difficult and they need some help.  Rather than writing more manuals with long and tedious descriptions it is easier to simply look at the user’s report and work out what they are doing wrong.  To do this we implemented an option […]

RB: Multiple campuses and sharing resources

Where you school has multiple campuses, or where a neighbouring school is also using Sobs you can configure this application to share certain resources, allowing them to be bookable by staff at the remote site. Identifying your campuses or neighbouring schools Before any sharing takes place you are required to define a relationship between the […]

RB: Recording the purpose for a booking

Booking Types is an optional component that you can configure for use in your school.  It is not activated by default. Enable Booking Types You will need to be logged in as a Sobs administrator. Click on ‘School settings’ in the Configuration menu Click on the ‘RB.SOBS’ tab – this is the configuration specifically for […]

RB: Add an additional text field to the booking form

You may define an additional text field that is displayed on the booking form. Currently Sobs includes a ‘Reason’ field for staff to record the reason for a booking.  This could be a class, a subject, or both, or something altogether different.  The reason field can also be left blank.  We don’t force the staff […]

RB: Asking additional questions about the booking

There are times where booking a resource is just the beginning of a process that often involves a number of other details being required.  For example when a staff member books a library space the library will have additional questions about whether a T/L is required or will A/V resources be needed.  How many seats […]

RB: Attaching files to bookings

Files can be attached to bookings.  You can add a single file to a booking or multiple files.  Originally the purpose of this feature was to attach risk assessment reports to science lab lessons.  However you can add files to bookings for multiple purposes.  They could be lesson plans, music or video files to be […]

RB: Configuring a resource for approvals

The approval process is designed to require a booking to be passed by an appropriately authorised staff member for approval.  This staff member has the power to approve or cancel any booking for specific resources. The Resource Manager For a staff member to approve bookings they must have the security of a Resource Manager (or […]

RB: The approval process

A description of the process that Sobs uses for approvals Selection for approval processing Firstly, only selected resources will use the approval process.  The default in Sobs is that no approval is necessary, however if approvals has been enabled for a resource then all booking requests will initiate the approval process, with the exception of […]

RB: Creating a group of resources

You can create a group of resources, this allows you to book the entire group with a single booking. A good example of this might be a laptop pod where the entire pod can be booked, or individual laptops from the pod can be booked (when the pod is not booked). Book individual items or […]

RB: How to create a resource in two categories

Sometimes you may need to make a resource appear in two different categories.  For example, a computer lab may by part of the computer labs category but also a member of a category for rooms with IWBs or Audio/Visual capabilities. Overview Create the resource as normal in the first category (either). In the alternative category […]

RB: Restricting access to a resource

Generally resources are bookable to all staff, however Sobs includes the facility to limit who can see or book a resource. Defaults By default a resource will be viewable and bookable by any staff member. Restricted access You can restrict access to a resource.  This will enable only specified staff to book this resource. In […]

RB: Book-ahead and Time constraints

There are a number of options with regard to time constraints on bookings: Limit to how far ahead a user can book a resource Force bookings to be made a certain time in advance Booking ahead a number of days This option allows the manager to configure how far in advance a staff member will […]

RB: Avoid staff booking multiple rooms

One of the questions we receive from a number of schools is how to stop teachers booking multiple rooms in a single period – surely they can only be in one place at a time. Our first question was to ask whether we do want to restrict a teacher to booking a single room, and […]

RB: OneSchool, TimeChart, TimeTabler, FirstClass, Kamar and other time tabling applications

Time tabling applications are used within most schools to organise a schedule of classes, teachers and rooms.  There is an overlap between the time tabling application and our Room and Resource booking application, where some rooms may have scheduled classes and are therefore not available for general booking.  To support this we have developed a […]

RB: Importing from BookIt

There is a procedure for importing data from BookIt, however it is not designed for repeat use but an ad-hoc process. Import Steps In the ‘School settings’ page click on the ‘RB’ tab.  Click the ‘Edit’ button and scroll to the bottom, check the option for ‘Import from BookIt’ and then ‘Save’. (You should uncheck any […]

RB: Deleting bookings

There are a number of ways of deleting bookings, depending on your available security. Delete a Single Booking To delete a single booking click on the booking in the calendar as though you are going to edit the booking.  When the edit screen is displayed you will find a ‘Delete’ button in the bottom right […]

RB: Creating a repeat group of bookings

Generally when a repeat booking is created the system will automatically remember the bookings and displays a repeat icon on the calendar display.  However, for some schools when their bookings are imported the repeat option is not available and individual bookings are generated.  Sobs can now attempt to identify a group of repeat bookings and […]

RB: Issuing and returning items (loans)

Firstly we should stress that SOBS is firstly a booking system and secondly an issue/return system.  This option will not have all of the functionality of a library system, in fact it is focused very much around having a booking in place before an item is issued. Purpose The purpose of the Issue/Return system is […]

RB: Require the reason field

When we originally designed the Room and Resource Booking system we wanted to keep the information and requirements flexible, however over time we are accepting there are times when we do want to make some information mandatory. The Reason Field (Since 2.1c) We now have an option to ensure the Reason field contains some (any) […]

RB: Notifications of bookings

There are a number of different methods of notification that we will try and explain in this article so you can choose the one that is right for you. Staff notification of today’s bookings Staff can select a ‘Notify-daily’ option on their profile.  When checked they will receive an email each morning notifying them of […]

RB: Booking a resource using hh:mm

In most instances the school rooms and resources will be booked using the standard timetable periods.  There are however instances when the booking of a resource benefits from using standard time-based schedule, ie booking specific hours or half-hourly slots. Configuring a time-based booking schedule Time-based booking schedules can only be configured for categories, they can’t […]

RB: Instructions for staff

We were recently asked if there were any generic help documents that could be provided to staff.  We thought this was a good idea so we created an article on how to book a room or resource.  If you think this is useful and would like more articles that can be used by staff please […]

PT: Moving and deleting bookings

You can easily move bookings around, however this is normally only used in consultation with the parent involved. Bookings should only be deleted at the parent’s request. Moving a booking From the list of interview rounds click the ‘View my bookings’ button This will display a list of time slots.  Green slots are still available.  […]

PT: Staff instructions

We were recently asked if there were and generic help documents that could be provided to staff.  We thought this was a good idea so we created an article on how to use Parent/Teacher interviews from a staff perspective, logging in, viewing bookings, marking unavailability, etc. URL access to the site We strongly recommend that […]

PT: Reporting within Parent/Teacher interviews

You can choose from a couple of preset reports or a simple report wizard. To access the reports click ‘My interviews’ or ‘Interview Rounds’ in the left hand menu.  The application will show you a list of interview rounds that have been run or scheduled for your school.  In the ‘Options’ column click the ‘Report’ […]

PT: Parents meet pre-selected staff

This is a booking method selected when creating a new round of interviews. This option will allow parents to make a single booking only, and they will not be prompted to select the staff member – the system currently allocates the first available staff member from a pre-defined list of staff.  More about this later. […]

PT: Selecting teachers by year level

The teacher selection criteria indicates how the system will select staff when making bookings.  The default and recommended option is to use “Year levels” Parent perspective When the parent enters their child’s name into the system they are also prompted to enter a year level.  This simple piece of information helps us limit the number […]

PT: Selecting teachers by subject

The teacher selection criteria indicates how the system will select staff when making bookings.  We have included an option to allow selection by subject, however this is more complicated than the default of year levels. The selection also allows a combination of year levels and subject selection – this is the option we will describe […]

PT: Compliance notice

Sobs includes a compliance notice facility.  The compliance notice allows the school the option of having the parents acknowledge some conditions of use prior to the parent entering any data into the booking system. Why would you use a compliance notice? Originally we wrote this to comply with education department legal requirements.  Parents are going […]

PT: Require parents to enter a password

Generally SOBS Parent/Teacher interview booking works very successfully without requiring parents to have passwords, and in practice the vast majority of schools using this system use it without this requirement. However, for those schools who want to ensure a parent’s password is required then this option is available. Configuring this option There are a couple […]

PT: Overlapping interview rounds

This article describes the effect of running synchronous or overlapping interview rounds. Why would you schedule overlapping interview rounds? There are potentially a number of reasons to do this, however for most schools there will normally only be one interview round happening at a time.  So let’s start by considering some reasons why you might […]

PT: Using staff locations

If your interviews are all in the same location then you don’t need to use the location option, however if your interviews are located in different areas around the school then locations will help parents find the teacher they need to meet with quickly and easily. Loading your interview locations There are two methods of […]

PT: Shared teaching

Shared teaching, or teachers sharing classes, is reasonably common in primary schools, and at interview times the parent needs to meet with both of the teachers, not just one.  As of March 2015 Sobs supports ‘Shared Teaching’ configuration, where we specify a class with a primary and any number of secondary teachers. Setup At the […]

PT: Push requests

When running regular parent/teacher interviews there are on occasion parents that we want to book interviews in order to discuss aspects of their child’s education.  To achieve this end we can configure a ‘push-request’ that will be emailed to the parent requesting them to make a booking. Enabling Push Requests This only needs to be […]

PT: Parent access security

One of the first questions we get asked is about the parent access security.  Specifically, “where is it?”.  When we tell first time users that there isn’t any they seem quite taken aback with the idea.  There was however a lot of thought put into this decision, so let us explain how we arrived at […]

PT: Booking on behalf of a parent

Every so often there is a parent without internet access where the school will be required to place a booking on behalf of the parent. The regular parent access The simplest method is for school staff to use the parent interface to make and adjust bookings as requested by parents.  You can access the parent […]

PT: Instructions for parents

We have on occasion been asked if there are any generic instructions available that schools can use to send parents – well now there are.  These documents were originally shared with us by a school and have been modified substantially to be suitably generic. URL access to the site We strongly recommend that you include […]

PT: Booking enrolment interviews

When parents are wanting to book an enrolment interview we will typically use the ‘Parents meet pre-selected staff’ option, however the parent still has to enter their child’s name and year level.  The problem comes when they are entering a year level – do they enter the current year level or the year level they […]

PT: Volunteer bookings

From the very beginning we have been keen to utilise the Parent/Teacher interview booking system for so much more than just booking interviews with teachers.  Over the years we have added booking with pre-selected staff for career counselling and enrolment interviews.  We also added event management to help with booking seats for school performances.  We […]

When the print out doesn’t fit on the page

Sometimes when printing information from Sobs the page is wider than the paper.  There are a few options to consider when dealing with this problem. Why is printing a problem? Sobs is a web application – all of the information we send you is actually sent to your web browser.  You might be using Internet […]

Creating the basic calendar

Many of the Sobs applications work better when you configure your school calendar information.  The following should help you setup the calendar for your school. Creating years, terms and holidays Click on the ‘Calendar’ link in the Configuration menu.  This will take you to a page showing the current and any future calendars.  Historical years […]

RB: Timetables and Periods

Calendar maintenance in Sobs includes a time table or plan facility for configuring period times.  This is required in the Room and Resource Booking application and is optional in the Student Attendance Register, otherwise generally not required. Plans A ‘Plan’ is the configuration of periods within any particular timetable day.  A very simple time table […]

Advanced calendar configuration

Continuing on from the article about basic calendars, here we look at customising your calendar and school timetable to suit. Configure Plans to reflect each different Timetable day With the SOBS plans you can configure the normal cycle length for your timetable, do this in the Plan record (in Configuration | Periods).  If you school […]

How to enable Guest access

You can at any time create users manually (or via import) that have a guest level of security.  However Sobs comes with a self-registration process for guests.  This option is disabled by default and must be enabled before it can be used Self registration for guests By default this option is disabled.  It will not […]

Connecting your iPhone/iPad to SOBS

A tale of two events:  Recently I bought what will undoubtedly become “my first” iPhone.  The phone function is ordinary but the rest of the applications are excellent.  And so I came to the ‘Calendar’ application and began to wonder whether I could get my Sobs bookings and events to appear on my iPhone. If […]

Connecting Google to your school calendar

The Google Calendar application supports the option of “subscribing to calendars”.  This is true of a number of calendar applications so this article has been written with other calendar applications in mind also. If your calendar application supports CalDAV you should use that option in preference to a ‘subscribed’ calendar.  The subscribed version simply downloads […]

Connecting your Mac OSX iCAL application to SOBS

iCal is the calendar application for Mac OS X.  It is CalDAV enabled and therefore able to incorporate your Sobs information on the calendar display. Configuring iCal access to Sobs First we have to enable Calendar access to your Sobs account (if you have already completed this step for another calendar application then it is […]

Configuring LDAP authentication

Sobs includes an LDAP option that will authenticate the login details against an LDAP server. LDAP Servers Our LDAP option has been tested with OpenLdap, Microsoft’s Active Directory and Novell’s e-Directory. What happens with LDAP? With a binding username and password: You enter in the login screen your regular network login name and password We […]

Local authentication using NTLM

This is definitely not our best kept secret, however you would think so for the lack of schools using it. Every school should be using Local Authentication – it makes access for staff so much easier.  By pass the login screen forever! What is Local Authentication? Local Authentication is authenticating the user within your school […]

How to login to SOBS

It sounds simple but as we get more authentication options the whole login process can be quite complicated.  In this article I’ve tried to show the normal method of logging into Sobs and also the potential problems that can happen. Ensure you are on the correct website Locate the correct website:  For most schools you […]

Single Sign On (SSO) with SAML (version 2)

Single Sign On (or SSO) is a fantastic option if you have the time and energy to implement it.  SSO allows your staff member to log in once and then access all your school based and web based applications without being prompted to login again. Configuration Firstly it is important to understand the configuration process […]

User management

Managing your staff access is quite straightforward.  Firstly you will need to load a staff list and later you will want to refresh your staff list, remove staff and delete all staff. There are a number of ways to load your staff information to the Sobs application.  They are: Adding them manually one at a […]

User security

There are some basic levels of security in Sobs. Sobs Administrator Department Head Application specific option Staff Guest Depending on your level of security determines which menu options are displayed.  Security within the application will restrict staff from accessing these other forms even if they knew the form name and typed it in. Each application […]

Email management

Email is an integral part of the Sobs system but also creates a number of challenges.  The primary challenge is to avoid being identified as a spam message, so the intended recipient receives the message.  This is then complicated because schools are running a varied array of email systems that identify spam messages in different […]

Backing up your data

Configuring the backup option Navigate to the ‘School Settings’ page and the ‘Email and SMTP’ tab Click the ‘Edit’ button to update the information on this page Scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter a valid email address into the ‘Backup email’ field Click ‘Save’ and that’s it The backup will run […]

HTML Extras

SOBS is a web based / hosted application, however there are times when schools want the option of adding some HTML code into various locations within the application.  This is a localised solution for customising the application to a schools particular needs. We don’t have lots of scope here, so don’t get carried away with […]

How to purchase

Free Trial (optional) You have the option of running a free trial of the application to ensure it meets the needs of your school.  The trials are generally only limited by dates, therefore you can trial the full functionality of the application during this time.  We do this because we want you to be confident […]

Subscription Processing

Step 1 – your renewal invoice If you are currently on a subscription then you will have full uninterrupted access to the application through to midnight on your expiry date – you see the expiry date when you view your subscription information. Four weeks (28 days) prior to your expiry we will generate an invoice […]