SAR: Daily processing

Jan 23, 2018

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 details in order to process these notices accurately.

We recommend updating these details at least once per term, possibly at the beginning of each term.

In the event that a notice is required for a student, and that student doesn’t appear in the current student list within SOBS, then that notice will not be generated.  An error will be generated when importing the absence information, if the student is missing.


Importing Absence information

This step is only required is your Roll Marking process is conducted outside of SOBS.  This is generally the case with most Education Queensland schools who are using OneSchool for Roll Marking.

First up you will need to export the current absence data from your Roll Marking system. The instructions for this are included within SOBS and shown within the Import/Export area of SOBS, the OneSchool TEXT/SMS data is included here as an example

Following the export log into SOBS and click on the ‘Import/Export’ option in the Configuration menu. (You will need to have SOBS Administrator access in order to see the Configuration menu and this option)

Select the option to import the absence data.  For schools using OneSchool this will likely be the ‘OneSchool TEXT-SMS data’ option, and import the file previously exported

The data being imported from the file will be displayed on screen so you can confirm the information is correct – perhaps check the correct date is shown and the information appears to be in the correct columns.  After checking click the ‘Proceed with import’ link to finish the import process


Preview the notices

Click on the ‘Classes’ page in the Configuration menu. This will list all of the ‘form classes’ for each student (based on the student information loaded previously).  At the top of the page there is an option called ‘Preview all’ – click this to run the current absences against all of the currently defined triggers.


The resulting display will show a list of students, a summary of their absences, and a message indicating which notices would be generated by these triggers – this is a preview of which notices will be generated.

Notices that have been triggered will be indicated by a message like this appearing next to the student.  The date shown is the date the notice has been triggered.  The text portion is the action description, this will typically indicate an SMS or an Email to be sent.  There is a checkbox that indicates this action is selected (or not selected).  You can manually change the checkbox to select (or not select) this notice for processing.  This allows you to stop a notice being sent, or resend a notice.

The last portion of the display is a clickable link ‘Mark as processed’ or a text message indicating when the message was processed.  When SOBS sends a notice based on a action, we record the action taken and the date it was processed.  So if you were to process todays notices, and then rerun this preview, the display would indicate that the notice has already been run today, and the checkbox would by default not be checked.  This helps avoid sending the same notice twice in one day.  This also means that if you need to load additional absence data, you can rerun the process and new notices can be generated for the recently added students, without impacting the students who have already been processed.

At the top of this preview page is a ‘Process selected notices’.



Delivery Status

For SMS messages there is a recorded delivery status.  On the main menu click the ‘Absence data’ link – this displays a list of students with unexplained absences (where we sent SMS messages to the parents).  The current status is displayed on this page.  Status values are:
  • Delivered : The message was successfully delivered
  • Failed : The message was not deliverable, probably an invalid number or the number is no longer in service
  • Expired : Repeated attempts to deliver the message have failed (not common)
  • (blank) : If there is no status it is likely the mobile phone is switched off, has a flat battery, or is outside the coverage area

Updating the explanations

Many absences are explainable, and after emailing or sending SMS messages there may be a number of replies from parents about why a student is not at school.  To handle these click the ‘Absence data’ link on the main menu.  This will display a list of the current student absences along with the explanation code, and an option to update the reason for the absence.  Click the ‘Specify a reason…’ button and enter the details about the absence – this can include an explanation status, an explanation code, and a note about the absence.

EXPLANATIONS: You should configure a set of explanation codes and descriptions that meet the requirements of your school.  If you are re-importing the absence information back into your SM system then the codes used should match those used in your SM system.

If you are sending SMS messages to parents the parent can reply to the SMS message and this response will be captured by the Sobs application and will appear on the ‘Absence data’ page.   This SMS reply will appear in red – once an explanation has been processed it will change colour to gray.

Exporting the absence data back into your SM system

You can choose to reload the explanation information back into your SM system (assuming it supports this option).

If this is available for your SM system a button will appear in the top right corner of the ‘Absence data’ page.  Clicking this button will download a file that will be in the correct format for loading back into your SM system.