Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Can't log on? Here's probably why

Virtually all log-in problems are to do with privacy settings when using Internet Explorer as your browser (as most people do). There's a paragraph on the front page of the site headlined "Can't log on? Here's probably why" which gives a potted version of what follows below.

If you're using Internet Explorer, go to Tools and then Internet Options and click on Privacy - put the slider to one notch above the bottom (as illustrated in the screenshot below) and all should be well. Changing this setting won't affect the security on your computer. (If the slider's already on Low or lower, it may be some other aspect of security or privacy that needs fixing to get you into the site.)

If re-setting the privacy slider doesn't solve the problem, remember that usernames and passwords are case-sensitive so make sure they're entered as you submitted them. It won't matter whether you're using a school or home system - the e-mail address submitted when registering was just for verification.

The setting needs to be lowered so that passwords can be recognised. Passwords are necessary on this site to allow you to use the resources with your students when you think it's best (rather than when they do).

If you can't change settings because you're on a school or college computer, other suggestions have included using Firefox or Google Chrome as a browser for this site - they don't have the privacy setting issues and the software for the former can be quickly downloaded from http://www.mozilla-europe.org/en/firefox/.

If you have technical folk at school to help, I am told that one school managed to get the website to work in school without lowering any of the privacy settings. The network manager added http://s277881626.websitehome.co.uk/emporium as an exception in their internet filtering software (adding www.edexcelmaths.com doesn't have any effect because the website actually loads an iframe pointing to http://s277881626.websitehome.co.uk/emporium).

The above is the limit of my IT expertise at present, I'm afraid - but changing the settings has worked for many others who have had difficulties. You may, of course, need to involve your school or college IT people or accept that you can only access this site at home.

Let me know if any of this works - if not, I'll see if there's anything else that can be done. If you need to contact me, please remind me of your username if you haven't already done so. 

Graham Cumming
Edexcel Mathematics


How to use the Edexcel Mathematics Emporium

The Edexcel Mathematics emporium can be found at www.edexcelmaths.com, where, as a teacher of Edexcel's mathematics qualifications, I hope you will be able to find all the documents you need to do with Edexcel’s Entry level, GCSE, International GCSE, GCE and AEA Mathematics.

If you have found this blog page, then chances are you're aware of the emporium website, Having logged in you will have seen the screen below (with your log-in name rather than mine) and have clicked on Browse Library.

The options you are offered are to Browse Library (in two places), Browse Categories and View Briefcase. The best option to start with is to Browse Library – the emporium has been set up as a Library rather than by different categories.

Having clicked on Bro
wse Library, you should find the various filing cabinets available, along with this document, “How to use the Emporium”.

If you are from a centre taking only GCSE with us, you will have access to the Entry level, GCSE, IGCSE, FSMQ, Functional Mathematics and GCE O and AO level folders and files; if you taking only GCE with us, you will have access to the AEA, GCE AS/A level, FSMQ, Functional Mathematics and GCE O and AO level folders and files. If you are from a centre taking the whole range with us, all folders and files will be available.

Filing cabinets are initially ordered by level of qualification, so you need to decide whether you’re looking for GCSE or GCE documents, for example.

If you prefer, you can change the “at-a-glance” filing cabinet graphic to folders (with a full description of what’s in each folder) by clicking on the small four-sqaure icon shown just below the "Root" folder.

Using GCSE as an example of how to find the files you need, then:

GCSE Mathematics folders are split into the many linear and modular specifications that have been available over the past few years; you’ll need to know the various specification codes when viewing the filing cabinets, though you can find a full description of the specification by changing to the folder view. You can switch between each view easily enough and decide which is more useful to you at each stage.

If you click on the filing cabinet entitled GCSE Mathematics, you will see the following screen:

Let’s say you are looking for documents to do with the current GCSE modular Mathematics qualification, 2381. Click on the far right filing cabinet and you’ll be presented with:

These categories should be the same whichever specification you are looking at, whatever level. Some will be missing if there are no files to add, but the full list is:

01     Specifications
02     Specimen Papers
03     Mock Papers
04     Practice Papers
05     Past Papers & Mark Schemes)
06     Exemplification
07     Schemes of Work
08     Examiner Reports
09     Grade Boundaries
10     Mappings
11     Coursework (or Controlled Assessment)
12     Timetables
13     Inset Presentations
14     Teacher Files

It should be possible to include everything under one or another of these headings. I suspect that cabinet 05 (Past Papers & Mark Scheme) will be the one used most.

So looking in the cabinet containing past papers and mark schemes, you’ll find

There are currently thirteen cabinets here, since over the lifetime of the specification up to March 2012 there were thirteen examination sessions in total (March 2012 isn't shown in this old illustration, mind).

Looking in the 07 2381 March 2010 cabinet you’ll find the past papers and mark schemes looking like this:

At this stage, it’s probably best to change to click on the four-square icon used before to set out the files with descriptions so the page looks like this:

Click on the file you are interested in to see (in this example 01 5381F Paper 5A - March 2010.pdf, which is the pdf file of the 5381F Foundation tier Unit 1 (data handling) paper 5 (Section A, calculator), March 2010. Details of the file and download options will appear:

Any files you need then can be downloaded one by one using the download key (the green one with the arrow). Or you can use the briefcase function for many documents. Many documents can be downloaded in a zipped file once they have been added to the Briefcase using the "add to briefcase" key (which sits in a blue box, as shown).

Once you have chosen what you need, click on the View Briefcase tab (on the right).

In the example above, the 5381F Paper 5A paper and mark scheme have been added to the briefcase.

Once you have clicked on the “View Briefcase” tab, you’ll be shown all that has been added and given an option to remove some or all documents out and to download all documents. Click on this latter option and all papers will be downloaded in a zipped folder.

You can change your password by clicking on your username in the top left-hand corner (where it says Logged in as) – your profile information will then be shown to be amended as necessary.

You can amend your name, e-mail, centre details and password – but not your username.

I hope this enables you to find what you need – and gives you a chance to explore to see what might be available that you didn’t know was there.

This website is added to all the time – but in the 6000+ files added, there will doubtless be some gaps and some files which aren’t what they purport to be. Please let me know if you find any errors and I’ll correct them where possible.

Graham Cumming
Edexcel Mathematics Team