Once a year, Luther College students and their parents must select courses for the upcoming academic calendar. With more than 1,000 students, the college’s manual, paper-based subject selection system resulted in a large amount data entry each selection was hand keyed into separate databases considerable time and expense, and the possibility for errors.
The process involved many administrative steps because each course selection must meet requirements, like class limits, availability and each student’s schedule and goals.
“This manual way of doing things wasn’t cutting it,” Topp said. “It was an inefficient, labor-intensive process. Every one of our students was selecting up to eight courses at a time with up to 30 preferences for each course.
“On the administrative side, each course selection had to be validated, timetables had to be created, and various input from students, coordinators and parents had to be considered. It was a significant amount of information that we needed to pull together quickly and accurately.”
Luther’s “Subject Selections” solution was implemented “It cuts development time, by jEyLaBs in August 2009.
“Using K2 blackpoint, SharePoint, and InfoPath, we were able to automate this complex process and reduce it to a single click,” said jEyLaBs founder and K2 Insider Jey Srikantha. “The solution, which processes more than 500 forms per year and is used by every Luther student, takes into account all the various scenarios and stakeholders, including parents and coordinators.”
jEyLaBs designed a solution that glues together various technologies to provide an easy-to-use and easy-to-con guard system. SharePoint lists are used to host the configuration information for each class’s subject selection, and SharePoint acts as a foundation for the solution. InfoPath forms guide the students through the selection process and submission, and then K2 blackpoint manages the workflow. Information is directed to teachers and administrators for review and approvals, then the backend data transfer takes place, integrating the form data into a timetabling application. Parents are notified via SMS (text message) that their student
jEyLaBs is a specialized IT consultancy that provides flexible, high-quality services in the area of work ow and process-driven applications. Focused on the Microsoft platform, the jEyLaBs team of IT veterans works with K2, SharePoint, and related .NET technologies. drastically, and enables significant efficiency gains for us. ... With K2 blackpoint, we can take the systems we already have in place, improve them and streamline exponentially.”
Christopher Topp, Luther college has made a decision, so they can follow up with any concerns. K2 rules and policies prevent errors along the way, navigate complex requirements (like avoiding multiple enrollments) and ensure that the subject selections are valid. “The cost savings in terms of man-hours is enormous – instead of a manual chain of events, each relying on the last to have successfully completed and documented a process, it is (literally) now a single click,” Topp said. “K2 blackpoint guarantees all the pieces fall into place in a precise order. “And because K2 blackpoint is so easy to use, we can hone the solution in the future, if our needs change.”
Luther’s Subject Selection process has been a “huge success,” Topp said, and everyone that touches the process has embraced it. The school is looking at other potential areas for K2 blackpoint projects, like online parent portals, report cards, and identity management.
Drastic reduction of process time
Software and Services
Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007
Microsoft InfoPath 2007
K2 enhances SharePoint
Luther College turned to K2 blackpoint, in part, for its deep integration with SharePoint.
“SharePoint is a critical part of what we do, and it is a key part of our strategy moving forward,” Topp said. “SharePoint acts as our application platform, our core system for information dissemination and management and a basis from which we operate.
“Adding K2 blackpoint on top of this SharePoint investment opens up a wealth of capabilities for us. It cuts development time, drastically, and enables significant efficiency gains for us in terms of administration and flow of information. With K2 blackpoint, we can take the systems we already have in place, improve them and streamline exponentially.”
According to Jey Srikantha, building the same kind of solution with out-of-the-box SharePoint tools would have resulted in significantly more work.
“With K2 blackpoint, you can build very powerful SharePoint workflows with notifications, escalations, etc.,” Srikantha said. “Coding all of that in SharePoint would be a mess and would have taken us weeks. With K2 blackpoint, we did it in a couple hours. We have built a number of K2-based solutions and the story is the same every time. K2 makes SharePoint a compelling process-driven application platform. Our expertise and focus are solely about this.”
“Simply put, K2 blackpoint allows us to build solutions — quickly and inexpensively — that make life easier for everyone involved,” Topp said.
jeylabs has since supported Luther college with many other projects.