Home Access Center vs TxConnect

Staffer compares new grading system to previous

The new grading system, Home Access Center versus its predecessor, TxConnect

The new grading system, Home Access Center versus its predecessor, TxConnect

Chase Olson, Staffer

     TxConnect has been replaced this year by a new system for students to see their grades, which LISD calls Home Access Center. There were technical difficulties when making the switch at the beginning of the year, but now that it’s completely up, how does it fare against TxConnect? From the looks of it, Home Access Center seems to surpass txConnect in nearly every way.

     First, let’s go over the main reason anyone uses either of these: checking your grades. In TxConnect, grades were shown on an individual assignment, weight group, and class average basis. In Home Access Center, all three of these grade denominations are shown, but the category names show up as numbers, though they can be guessed based on the weight points given at the end of the category’s row. For classes that don’t have weighed categories, this isn’t an issue though, and it’s practically a non-issue for ones that do.

     Since the two are equal in their main function, let’s see what makes Home Access Center go above TxConnect, starting with attendance. TxConnect’s attendance was awkwardly designed, leading the attendance alert notifications to be a better tracker of when you were absent. Home Access Center fixes this by using a calendar to show which days you have period absences. It color codes each date to show what type of absence it was, and whether or not it has been excused. It’s much easier to read and keep track of your attendance with this system.

     Finally, Home Access Center has a feature that TxConnect barely had, which easily makes it the superior grade checker: a planner. While TxConnect allowed you to show assignments that had yet to be graded along with their due dates, it was hidden way behind a checkbox, and the feature wasn’t used that much. Home Access Center’s planner, on the other hand, is right on the homepage, making it quickly accessible. Not only is there a week-by-week calendar on the homepage, but the calendar tab on home also shows a monthly calendar, which is great for multi-week projects. Any way you slice it, the new calendar/planner function is a welcomed addition to help students juggle their assignments and prepare ahead.

    While Home Access Center is better functionally, it does look more cluttered than TxConnect. Though that may be the case, it may actually work in Home Access Center’s favor. The calendar eats up the space on the Home page, but its previously mentioned benefits and ease of use far outweigh it’s apparent ugliness. The graphics for the different pages are also a blessing in disguise, as it doesn’t require the user to read all the tab names to identify which one they want to go to. TxConnect’s organization system was all based on text and lists, and while that may make it look more visually pleasing at first glance, it does make it more of a hassle to use in practice, if only by a small amount.

     If there were any improvements that could be made to Home Access Center, it would be fixing the fact that assignment categories show up as numbers. Regardless, the system is a worthy successor to TxConnect that adds much-needed functions at the small price of aesthetic.