School news and notices

Online newsletter articles.

If and when it successfully gets home, a nicely designed school newsletter is a neat way to keep parents informed of recent happenings. But bulk printing of newsletters is costly and not very eco-friendly.

Transitioning to a digital distribution model is made easy with the News Centre module, as support for news articles is built-in. A visual editor is used to create and craft the article body, and automatic photo placement and zooming means less fiddling with document formatting and layout.

Articles are also immediately available for viewing at any timeā€”so you don’t have to wait for the end of the week to publish some news. Plus, archiving is built-in, so if anybody needs to flip through older news articles, they are all available in the News Centre.

Centralised daily notices.

With all the busy activity that goes on in schools every day, it’s easy to understand why posted notices are a crucial component of daily operation. Traditional channels again rely on paper-based distribution or face-to-face communication at staff briefings. Using an electronic medium such as the News Centre module, notices can be accessed more freely and dynamically.

If permissions have been granted, users can submit notices themselves to sections, rather than sending though to an office administrator to re-format into a daily notice sheet. Editing is achieved through a straight-forward text field, and notices can be set to repeat until specified dates or highlighted in the notice list if important.

Finally, for those who absolutely must have a hard-copy, a PDF version of the daily notices can be generated and printed off.

Automatic RSS feeds.

Online publishing is often accompanied by smarter, more dynamic distribution models. One common Web 2.0 feature that is synonymous with online news is RSS feeds.

RSS feeds are basically a subscription-based model, whereby readers can get updated articles and info pushed out to them rather than having to visit numerous websites of interest to check for new content.

In the News Centre module, each news section has its own RSS feed, and users can choose to subscribe to the articles, notices or both simultaneously. Once subscribed, any new articles or notices added to that section will automatically be pushed out to users subscribed to that feed.

Privacy and moderation.

Like pages, news sections have their own permission settings which will allow administrators to choose who can view or contribute to the section. Using the controls, a school could set up a mixture of publicly-viewable and authentication-required sections (e.g. staff or student-only notices.).

Moderation is also configurable per news sections, which means any article or notice submitted into that section will need to be reviewed and approved by selected moderators or administrators first before being published. Using these controls, schools can fine-tune the publishing process in their Ultranet system whilst consolidating various communication channels into this centralised service.