How Alfresco Can Improve The Efficiency Of Education Sector?

How Alfresco Can Improve The Efficiency Of Education Sector?

The phenomenon of ‘Globalization’ is at its peak. The workplaces of different sectors has become geographically dispersed. This means that even documents are dispersed over different geographical locations and now more people from different places have access to common documents. So proper collaboration and coordination is required.
In one of my previous blogs, I had discussed about how Alfresco proves to be helpful for the publishing sector. Today I have taken up another vital domain in which documents and their management can a very crucial role specifically for Education.
Even in the education sector, it involves a lot of documentation – right from assignments to quizzes to different questionnaires. Everything and anything in the education system revolves around documentation.

Problems associated with universities…

Universities have a lot of documentation process.
It starts right with the admission process to handling different courses to different assignments.

  • Most of the universities these days provide distance learning as well so implying all the more accessing and collaboration of documents across the globe. There are different courses offered by the universities. There are entrance exams specific to these courses which can be taken by people all across the world. So check this out – here lies a huge problem where different entrance exam documents need to be maintained in proper store and then correctly evaluated. The job is not done just yet. The system should be efficient enough to even list out the names of the students eligible to take the course after evaluation.
  • After the evaluation process, there also comes the problem of online classes, because there are hundreds of faculty associated with different courses, offering study material for the students. So it again becomes a challenge to properly maintain these documents under proper sections and it is also important to provided appropriate permission to the correct people i.e for example only read permission to the students accessing the study material.
  • The next complication is relating to maintenance of assignments. Different courses have different subjects and each subject will have assignments so again there has to be different set of permissions for teachers and students.
  • Lastly there is the concept of examination. Where the faculties will be setting the examination paper and students will fill it and the paper and then the document would go to their respective reviewer.

How Alfresco proves to be a help?

Alfresco document management system is a very strong system which is a repository at heart. It helps in absolute data management and it can also be customized to set the search filters accordingly.

  • Alfresco is a repository at core, it provides a store for a wide variety of documents. It is a rock solid content management system. The content metadata is stored in a relational database, whereas the content itself is stored directly on the file system. The relationships between content items, and their metadata are defined in one or more content models. It proves to be a great help for the universities as their huge volumes of study material can be segregated and properly stored in different folders. So that whether a faculty or a student can be perfectly sure of reaching the correct document of a particular subject of a definite course.
  • Alfresco document management system also helps in proper folder management and automating the workflow which is very vital for the universities. For example in case of assignments, the concerned faculty will upload it in a particular folder and only the students eligible for that particular assignment will have access to it. After the student has completed his/her assignment and clicked on submit it will automatically shift the document to ready to review folder where the reviewer will have read-and-write access. And after the reviewer has completed his job the document would automatically be shifted to the already evaluated folder where the individuals will have access to their evaluated document.
  • Alfresco also gives the provision that if a single document is handled by more than one reviewer then it will give you a complete history so as to who and what and when the changes were made to ensure authentication and proper grading.

One such case study of ours…

Algoworks provided Alfresco and Liferay based Learning Material Management Solution to connect 40000+ students, teachers, researchers and alumni for an internationally renowned university based in Finland.
They had a legacy system of document management which crashed a lot and they had approached Algoworks with a number of challenges. Algoworks provided an Alfresco and Liferay based solution and they helped in successful migration of 10 million+ documents from their legacy system to this new Alfresco system.
They needed a web based portal for an easy easy access with a user friendly UI. Keeping in mind the client’s requirement of a secure java based portal to access the documents, Liferay was the choice. Liferay portal solution was used to create a very user-friendly, front end portal that helped in the complete workflow of the university, at all levels. It was a secure portal with custom dashboards for types of actors with specific features to facilitate the work of the specific actor. Students and teachers can use the portal to access the course and research material, assign task or submit projects, assignments and research.
They also needed a permission based system, where teachers and students have different permission structure. So it was strategized, designed, and implemented in a new workflow in the Java-Alfresco-Liferay portal solution. The new system was designed keeping in mind all the actors and enforced strict level based access to databases and features. Each actor had different Liferay dashboards so that they can easily access their role specific features. It further enhanced the student-teacher interaction workflows. Teacher can now assign tasks to students as a whole class, a specific defined team, a group, or even as an individual. The students can update their task on the system itself and can submit assignment, projects, or research work assigned to them through the same system.

On an ending note…

Alfresco document management system proves to be a great help in proper document management irrespective of the domains in which it is being implemented in. It helps in segregating all the documents properly and has the provision of keeping a proper track as well as maintaining a record which not only simplifies the document management process but also increases the efficiency and speed of work. It ensures accuracy in less time span thereby helping in optimum time utilization. And given the vast expanse of the education sector globally, it seems there is a lot Alfresco can offer.
References:

http://alfresco.dieutek.com/index.php/alfresco-for-educational-institutions/
http://www.dms.vt.edu/
http://technology.pitt.edu/service/university-of-pittsburgh-document-management
https://doc.odoo.com/book/7/7_19_Documents/7_19_Documents_importance/

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Pratyush Kumar

Pratyush Kumar

Co-Founder & Director at Algoworks, Open-Source | Salesforce | ECM
Pratyush is Co-Founder and Director at Algoworks. He is responsible for managing, growing open source technologies team and has spearheaded more than 200 projects in Salesforce CRM alone. He provides consulting and advisory to clients looking for services relating to CRM(Customer Relationship Management) and ECM(Enterprise Content Management). In the past, Pratyush has held consulting roles with various global technology leaders, such as Globallogic & HCL in India. He holds an Engineering graduate degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee.
Pratyush Kumar

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