Faqs

Frequently Asked Questions:

Filter by:
  1. I have never used SpirALS before, where do I start?
  2. How do I create a new data file?
  3. How do I look after our data file?
  4. My TEAM version was green and is now red. What does that mean?
  5. How do I send information back to the main college system?
  6. Can I enter cost items for a group of students in one go?
  7. How do I globally change an hourly rate figure?
  8. How do I report on specific groups of students?
  9. Can I customise my own reports?
  10. How can I see the total costs by support need/support heading/age band?
  11. Can I see how much I've spent on a particular type of support heading?
  12. How do I create a pdf file of a report?
  13. How do I install SpirALS?
  14. How do I know if I have the latest version of SpirALS?
  15. Is it possible to upgrade from an older version of SpirALS directly or do I have to load all the intermediate updates before I can load this latest update?
  16. How do I update SpirALS if I do not have the latest version?
  17. My DataLink is showing last year’s students.
  18. My DataLink doesn’t show me a list of students/enrolments and says that the Source Data is NOT Attached.
  19. My DataLink list of students/enrolments is empty.
  20. I have loaded the update but when I run SpirALS I receive a message saying that the file is located outside my intranet or in an un-trusted Zone.
  21. How do I add new files to the list available on the TEAM log in page?
  22. I have loaded and run the update but when I try to open a SpirALS data file I get a runtime error that may involve Error Number 31541 - saying that the file is located outside my intranet or in an un-trusted Zone.

I have never used SpirALS before, where do I start?

The best place to begin is the Getting Started sections of our online help file.  Also see our Training page for details of the training programmes we offer.

How do I create a new data file?

Follow the Create New File Wizard in menu option 6) Technical and Advanced Options

 

For further assistance see help file topic: New File procedure 

How do I look after our data file?

There are many issues that can arise with the SpirALS datafile and the issues are a wide set. To minimalise and eliminate those issues, we've created a help document with all the help and additional tips to make sure possible file corruption doesn't occur:

http://www.midas-systems.co.uk/downloads/Precautions against corrupting SpirALS datafiles.docx

My TEAM version was green and is now red. What does that mean?

When the TEAM version number at the bottom of the page turns red it means that something part of the installation package is not quite right, for example an additional file may be included within the location of the files. In this case it will not affect TEAM the slightest, however if TEAM is not fully operational and the version number is red this can be due to a number of things such as missing files within the main installation. In such a case a fresh installation of TEAM will be likely to resolve the issue. This is a case of just replacing the exisitng files within the TEAM installation except the web.config file and the controlpanel.mdb files

How do I send information back to the main college system?

Choose View & Export ILR Support Costs in menu option 5) Print, Analyse, Evaluate and Export Options

For further assistance see help file topic: View and Export ILR Codes

Can I enter cost items for a group of students in one go?

Yes. To add costs for a group of students use the Support Wizard in menu option 2) Enter Students and Support Cost Records

For further assistance see help file topic: Support Wizard. If you are using TEAM, see the Support Programme Validator to auto-create cost items for all support programmes in one go.

How do I globally change an hourly rate figure?

The Global Uplift facility amends hourly rates and one-off costs and updates all student records.  This facility can be accessed from the Staff Types & Hourly Rates form (Menu option 1) Getting Started, Preparing the Database) or from the Main Menu option 3) Browse and Amend Information

Option A - Uplift chosen rates by a fixed amount

Option B - Individually set new rates

For further assistance see help file topic: Globally changing rates and cost records

How do I report on specific groups of students?

To create filters to find students who meet specific criteria see help file topic: Filter Manager

Or to manually organise individual learners into a group, see the Group Manager

To print a report open SpirALS Report Manager in menu option 5) Print, Analyse, Evaluate and Export Options

Choose the report you would like to print then select students from a group or filter using the ‘Saved Filter/ Student Group’ radio button and selecting the name of the group or filter from the drop down list.  Click on ‘Select All’ or choose specific students from the group or filter then click on ‘Preview (Print) Report’.

For further assistance see help file topic: Printing reports

Can I customise my own reports?

No, but you can use Query Export Manager, in menu option 4) Sort, Filter or Customise Information, to export specific data sorted by chosen fields.  This could be copied into Word or Excel for you to add your own headings etc.

For further assistance see help file topic: Query Export Manager

How can I see the total costs by support need/support heading/age band?

To find this information you can use Query Export Manager, in menu option 4) Sort, Filter or Customise Information. By selecting the first radio button ‘Export a costs/hours query’ you will get total costs, hours and number of students sorted by the field you select on the next tab (by clicking next)

If you only want a count of the number of students, then select ‘Export a student count query’ on the first tab, and for other information select ‘Export student fields’

For further assistance see help file topic: Query Export Manager

Can I see how much I've spent on a particular type of support heading?

Yes. There are 3 different ways of viewing this information.

1. In Report Manager select 'Support Heading' reports from the yellow drop down list > Select Cost Details or Summary report > Select the type of support heading required

For further assistance see help file topic: Printing reports

2. Open the Support Record Manager and select Tab 7 'By Heading' > Select the type of support heading required. Total costs for this type of support are displayed at the bottom of the form.

For further assistance see help file topic: Support Record Manager

 

3. Open the Support Headings Manager and select the required heading from the yellow list > click on Tab 2 'Est and Actual Student Support'. Total costs for this type of support are displayed at the bottom of the form.

For further assistance see help file topic: Support Headings

How do I create a pdf file of a report?

In order to turn a report into a pdf file you will need to have software on your computer that enables you to do this.

When you are previewing your report, go to File, Print and from the dropdown list next to printer name select the PDF option.

How do I install SpirALS?

To install SpirALS you will need the CD that came in your starter pack.  If you cannot find the CD contact Midas Systems.


Insert the CD and if the setup routine doesn't start automatically, open My Computer or Windows Explorer and double click the Spiralssetup.exe icon.  In ALL cases follow the single user / stand alone installation option.


For further assistance see help file topic: Installing SpirALS

How do I know if I have the latest version of SpirALS?

First you need to find out which version you are using.  When you open SpirALS and log in, the Program Version is visible near the top left of the main menu.  To find out the latest version of SpirALS available, go to the Updates page of the Midas Systems Website and click on SpirALS Updates. (This requires a log in which can be requested from Midas Systems)

Is it possible to upgrade from an older version of SpirALS directly or do I have to load all the intermediate updates before I can load this latest update?

You should be able to update from ANY previous version to the latest release directly, without loading the intermediate updates.

NOTE: With constantly changing funding methodologies, and occasional changes which require a user to make a choice or selection, you may encounter issues if you allow your version of SpirALS to get too far out of date.

Each scenario is different but once you have loaded the current update, you only need to call us if and when you encounter something unexpected.

How do I update SpirALS if I do not have the latest version?

To update SpirALS go to the Updates page of the Midas Systems Website and click on SpirALS Updates.  

If you do not have a log in or have forgotten your password contact Midas Systems.  Now simply follow the step by step instructions on installing the update..

My DataLink is showing last year’s students.

Contact your MIS department (or staff member responsible for the DataLink) and ask them to adapt their procedure used to populate the DataLink Import File to include students AND course AND enrolment information for the current academic year.

My DataLink doesn’t show me a list of students/enrolments and says that the Source Data is NOT Attached.

For various reasons, your DataLink may have become ‘unattached’ meaning that is doesn’t know the location of the file from which to import data. Sometimes this is very easy to fix, simply by clicking on the ‘Reattach DataLink’ button and then clicking ‘Yes’ (to use the import file & location specified for your DataLink job). If this does not work, it maybe that your DataLink Import File has been moved. Ask the person responsible for your DataLink for the new location of the file. Click on the ‘Reattach DataLink’ button, then click ‘No’ (to specify a new location) and browse to file in its new location. Click open.

My DataLink list of students/enrolments is empty.

Confirm that students have not already been imported into SpirALS (check the Browse/Filter screen). The DataLink only shows students that are not already in SpirALS and someone may have already imported all the students from your DataLink (though this is not recommended). If this is not the case, it is possible that a member of your MIS staff has made amendments to the procedure that populates your DataLink Import File but has done so incorrectly. A common mistake is to amend the procedure so that it includes students for the current academic year but not courses or enrolments. Ask the person responsible for your DataLink to check if they have included students AND course AND enrolment information for the current academic year.

I have loaded the update but when I run SpirALS I receive a message saying that the file is located outside my intranet or in an un-trusted Zone.

This is related to Windows Security, and can happen when an ‘executable’ file is downloaded from a web site or other network.  Windows adds security zone information to a hidden portion of the file in a secondary ‘stream’.

This generally indicates the need to ‘UNBLOCK THE PROGRAMS FILE’.  

To do this:

  1. Locate the file SpirALS1.mde on the workstation (normally c:\program files\spirals\spirals1.mde) and view its property sheet by pressing ALT+ENTER.
  2. Next to the Attributes tick boxes at the bottom of the page, you may see an ‘UNBLOCK’ button. If not then close the sheet, and see the next Main topic below – re error 31541
  3. Press this button and close the property sheet.
  4. Re-launch SpirALS and everything should be ok

How do I add new files to the list available on the TEAM log in page?

Instructions on how to do this can be downloaded from the Documentation page in the Support area of the website. The document is called ‘TEAM access to data files’. 

I have loaded and run the update but when I try to open a SpirALS data file I get a runtime error that may involve Error Number 31541 - saying that the file is located outside my intranet or in an un-trusted Zone.

This is a new problem that arose during the latter half of 2009. We believe that it is related to the enhanced security 
configuration of Internet Explorer 8.
In this instance, the solution lies in adding the folder(s) containing your SpirALS Data Files and DataLink Import files 
to the list of Trusted Sites, using “Internet Options” in either Internet Explorer or Windows Control Panel.

  1. Choose the ‘Security’ tab and then click ‘Local Intranet’ icon.
  2. Click ‘Sites’ then click ‘Advanced’.
  3. Un-tick the checkbox labelled ‘Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone.
  4. Add the Drive, Share or UNC path to the location of your Data File(s) to the list using the ‘Add’ button.
  5. Re-launch SpirALS.

For more detailed information on this topic, please refer to the following documentation: