Most software companies listen and think about their users when designing their software, that may not always be the case for educational software – the other thoughts being about the students using this. However Kerboodle have taken the aproach of thinking what was best and doing the exact opposite.
My first indication that this was going to be an interesting setup: absolutely no intergration with anything: no MIS, no AD, no nothing. And apparently no plans in the future. The only method of creating users is via CSV upload with a maximum 400 users per upload.
However we could not use this system to setup either our own username or link an email to the accounts, requiring staff and students to remember a new set of details to login and add their account details (a completely unessessary step).
We use an ‘intake’ method for students, prefixing their username with the year they joined the school. This identifies the year group in a far easier way than Kerboodle’s suggestion of having them in Year group folders, requiring renaming at every summer holiday. Using intake folders just needs the new students to be imported. Kerboodle demand that the usernames are automatically created from a combination of the first and surname only, which means there are lots of duplicates, especially if you happen to be named ‘Smith’.
The system allows the tutor group to be set using the CSV, which is a useful addition. However three were no options to add other groups. The response from Kerboodle support was that it was up to the teaching staff to set these up (just what they need at the start of teching in September, with everything else!).
Every communication that we have had with their support has been very passive, not wanting to admit issues or work on solutions. They have been reluctant to instigate simple solutions, or even pass these requests on to the development teams. Struggling with the concept of a ‘Request for Change’ and requiring a full explanation of the process, despite this being fairly common terminology within the technical world.
I’ve been trying to convince the teaching staff not to use this resource, or at least look at phasing it out in the near future. For anyone looking at this resource I cannot stress how difficult the setup process and continual support of Kerboodle has been. Don’t do it…
The only thing I can think is that the resources this provides are AMAZING, due to the split of admin/teaching accounts I have not seen these.