Our experts: Stewart Priestley, Technical Director at CSE, Paul Oxford, Software Development Manager and Peter Derham, Software Developer.
The issue of preparing for the onrush of new students in September is a pertinent one for schools and universities; particularly for IT staff. Not only is there the issue of adding a new year of students, which, depending on your institution, could be between a few hundred and a few thousand accounts, but there is the continuing issue of access and making sure the accounts are maintained.
And this is where CSE comes in. In their recent webinar, three experts from the company spoke to Education Technology about how IT teams can ensure a smooth and streamlined September with tips and tools from software products to improving processes.
The webinar addressed some of the main issues faced by IT teams in education institutions, such as initial input of new users, full-lifecycle identity management, and auto-provisioning. Each of the experts tackled different issues, and answered questions from viewers to provide an insight into how to beat the September stress.
One of the biggest problems with preparing for the September intake is creating new user accounts. This has become an increasingly complex and resource-sapping task mainly due to the sheer volume, but also because institutions have numerous systems across all departments, and thus the addition of accounts to each system is time-consuming and complicated.
Stewart Priestly, Technical Director at CSE, addressed this issue and explained that having a comprehensive and adaptive software system in place can ease the stress of this transition very effectively. Stewart introduced Magellan, a universal education portal that will seamlessly automate the creation of user accounts by utilising data from your school MIS, saving a huge amount of time on manual entries, and solving consistency problems across systems.
Using online resources and apps is second nature to young people today. They have grown up in a tablet and smartphone era; in their home and social lives they are continually moving from app to app, and they expect a seamless experience. So imagine the frustration when they sit at a school desktop, and find that they have to login to every resource individually, every time.
Software Development Manager Paul Oxford explains that with a single-sign-on solution like Magellan, students are given an experience that emulates their own tablet or phone. They have a dashboard – a space of their own that they access from any device. The dashboard is configured with tiles for the apps and resources that they want to use (and that the school want them to use). Each resource is just a click or a tap away; instant access, no login screens or passwords.
One question the webinar answers is, ‘what is auto-provisioning?’ Software Developer Peter Derham tells us that in short, it is the automated deployment of information, which cuts out the need for human interaction in data manipulation.
User accounts often require changes in both content, permissions, and finally removing accounts when students leave the school, all of which can cause a lot of work for IT teams. Maintaining thousands of user accounts throughout their entire lifecycle is impossible to do manually – and again, Magellan can solve this problem. Every night Magellan syncs data from your MIS, capturing any changes that have been made during the day. It can remove and modify existing accounts, for example a name change, so the ongoing management of users is taken care of in one streamlined and easy-to-use system.
An essential point brought up by Peter, is that one of the most important factors in effective auto-provisioning is correct set-up. CSE’s Magellan package includes bespoke and branded set-up for every institution, and can also be integrated into any existing data management system to create one central, automated portal.
With correct provision in place, organised set-up, and a bespoke software solution for your institution, the September intake can be a lot less stressful.
The full webinar can be viewed here