Ideas for Future Martial Arts School Website

I'm just recording ideas for my someday-dream-school that I want to start.  This entry is focused on what I want to do with the school's website.

I would also like to have a public computer in the school so that if someone does not have access to one or a parent wants to fill out an application or something while their child is in class, they can.


  • Introduce the school to prospective students and parents
  • Allow current students/parents a place to find information/interact
  • A resource for instructors


  • Prospective
    • lame stuff that's always on a school's website.  purpose, history, class schedule, calendar, etc
    • hint at the website's features available to members
    • View public community discussion (blogs/comments/etc) with no write access (maybe the ability to leave comments…so Grandma or friends could comment on your posts/pictures?)
    • MAYBE – the ability to schedule an introductory class online
      • Database keeps track of intro slots available/taken, allows user to browse open slots, then directs them to fill out an electronic form…which then sends me (and the front desk) an email with all the details and automatically puts it into an outlook appointment with all their contact information.
  • Current
    • secure login
    • access information: start date, contract expiration, how many classes they have taken at this belt level (with a completion bar), testing date (with a countdown), etc
    • find more information on the month's topic (articles, blog entries, etc)
    • fill out testing application (including written questions…more on this later)
    • eventually…to be able to post *their* thoughts about the month's topic (or any topic) to the community
      • haven't decided how this should work, if it should be forum based or blog based.  I think I would prefer a blog format.
      • levels of who gets to see the content you post: public (all, including non members), community (only members), instructors, or private
    • the ability to pay online or set up automatic payments
    • upload pictures/video from tests/events/classes for the community/public to see
    • automatic email notification of school wide announcements, or comments to their own content, or private messages from instructor to them
    • ability for *them* to keep track of their progress in terms of stripes
    • contact instructors with questions
    • MAYBE: the ability to schedule a private lesson online (see the intro bullet under prospective), only they can choose the instructor?  Maybe we will need separate databases for each instructor's available private time slots which will automatically send me, the front desk, and the instructor in question an email with their filled out form and automatically put it in the front desk's schedule.
    • MAYBE: a place where students/parents can post about selling and buying used equipment (uniforms/weapons/etc), coordinate rides to events, etc.
  • Instructors
    • Get latest news/messages from me
    • Post to/read an instructor maintained database of articles on teaching, ideas for teaching specific techniques, drills, etc.
    • Find out when the next instructor class will be (more on this later)
    • Fill out their public profile: Picture, short bio, interests/specialties, available timeslots for private lessons. – this becomes public information
    • Contact students to tell them they did a great job today, or to give them ideas for what to practice at home, etc (will automatically send a copy to me as well)

Technical Details

Member groups (different levels of permissions)

To be clear, there are two categories here.  Accounts are actual students in the school.  A member has a member account on the website.  There is only one account per student, but each account could have many members linked to it.  A child student would have an account, and he would be a member on the website, and his parents would be a member on the website.  All are viewing certain information regarding the account, but they are separate members.

In the list below, we shall assume we are talking about one particular account.  For sake of the example, let's say it's a child student account.  This list shows the permissions different members would have *on that account* plus any additional features of the website they would have access to.

  • Child Student
    • Access To
      • their own student statistics (minus contract expiration date)
      • add stripes (which could automatically generate a post viewable by the parent and instructors which would allow them to talk about what they did to earn it)
      • blog/discussion
      • articles geared towards kids
      • viewing pictures/video attached to their account
      • posting pictures/video (but must be approved by instructor/admin/parent in order to show)
    • Absolutely no access to
      • changing contact information
      • billing
      • making appointments
      • articles geared towards adults
      • other student's information
  • Teenage Student
    • Everything in the child permissions plus:
      • access to articles geared towards teens and adults
      • ability to submit a test application
  • Parents
    • Access To
      • most things in the Child/Teenager Student permissions (with exception of what's written below in the no access section)
      • changing contact information
      • billing
      • making appointments
      • posting pictures/video
      • approving pictures/video posted by the child
      • posting to the buy/sell/ride coordination board (which may become the parent/adult student communication forum)
      • view blog posts that the student has made viewable by parents
    • No Access To
      • writing blog posts (can still comment on it though)
      • viewing private blog posts/instructor only blog posts
  • Adult Students
    • Combination of the teenage student and parent permissions. 
  • Instructors
    • Access To
      • instructor community database
      • edit instructor profile in their own account (make each account have the ability to have an instructor profile, but no access to create/edit it until given instructor permissions)
      • this students stats
      • view blog posts that the student has made viewable by instructors
    • No Access To
      • this students billing/contact information, making appointments
      • writing blog posts or posting pictures/video
  • Front Desk
    • Access To
      • This students stats, billing, contact info (so they can change the account when student/parent wants to do the change in person)
      • Making appointments for this student (again for in-person inquiries)
    • No Access To
      • Blog posts that aren't public/community level
      • writing blog posts or posting pictures/video
  • Admin
    • Access To
      • view almost everything
      • edit almost everything
      • change test date (the only permission that can do this!)
      • ability to change a member's permissions and linked accounts.
    • No access to
      • viewing private blog posts, parent only blog posts
      • writing blog posts or posting pictures/video

Each individual member will have a list of accounts that it is linked to and the permissions they have on that account.  Example of an instructor who also has a child in the school:

Linked to            Permissions
Himself              Adult Student
His son              Parent (note: no instructor permissions here.  This is to prevent the blurring of boundaries and to prevent special treatment)
Other Students   Instructor

Example of a teenage instructor who also works the front desk:

Linked to            Permissions
Herself              Teenage Student (she still relies on parents for billing, shouldn't have access to this)
Other Students   Instructor, Front Desk

Filling out Test Applications

Same basic info needed on all of them, auto complete it based on the information of that account.  No need to even ask the parent/student for this information.  If in person, front desk fills out just ask for student's number, and all info is filled out automatically.

Show the test date at the top of the form, filled in from the records. 

Check students number of classes and if below the minimum, show a warning saying that an instructor needs to be consulted before the application will be accepted.  This should trigger a flag on the application so that whoever processes the application knows they need to be approved…perhaps an email is automatically sent to the admin, who can then approve it in the student's account.

Written question section – if parent, instruct parent to let the student fill out these boxes, perhaps with the parents help.  

How the system knows which questions to ask:  Based on the account type (child, teenager, adult), belt level, and monthly topic: get this batch of questions.   So I will create a database where those three things together are the key, and then put questions I want to ask in each situation.  The website will query this database for what question to ask, then submit the students answers as part of the form.

In addition to the answers being put into the test application for the judge to review, they will also be put into an electronic database with the key being the question, and the data being the answer, the student, and the date.  Then as the admin I can look up one particular question and all the responses, or I can look up a particular student and see how their answers to questions have developed over time, etc.  When a student tests for black belt, I would give them a print out of all the questions they ever answered on tests, for them to see how they have grown.

The parent/student is then told what the testing fee is, and that it will have to be paid to be eligible to test.

Upon submittal of the application:

An email reminder is sent to the member who filled out the application to pay at the front desk (or if we're really sophisticated, pay online right then!)

An email is then submitted to the front desk with a completed application attached.  Front desk person prints this and files it under test forms.  When the parent/student pays, they go into that person's account and flag that the person has paid.

Once the following things are all completed:

  • Application filled out
  • Testing fee paid
  • Instructor approval acquired (if needed)

the student and parent will both receive a "you're cleared to test!"
message with the exact date and time of their test and what to bring.

That's all for now.  More whenever I feel inspired.

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