Requirements FHNW

Requirement 1 Requirement 2 Requirement 3 Requirement 4
Requirement 5 Requirement 6

Requirement 1 Synchronous collaboration (study-phase) –> see scenario 1 and 2

Need Need by students and university employees to be able to elaborate content synchronously.
Existing practices and problem statement Students and employees use a bundle of different tools that support synchronous/real-time text-production, including different EtherPad versions, MS-Skydrive, Google-docs. Students use these tools, inter alia, for summarising lectures; and lecturers use it for jointly collecting points of a meeting agenda. However, most popular tools are not integrated in the existing technological university landscape, i.e. this requires separate logins, password management etc. Quality of speech of available/ frequently used synchronous conferencing tools (Skype) was perceived to be unsatisfactory by some of the participants.
Proposed solutions Solution should:

  • be integrated into the technological university landscape, e.g.: same account/single sign onallow pointing to text segments, sections that are in the focus of the current discussion etc., by mutually displaying and highlighting mouse cursors (guided noticing ). This could be done also by pointing on touchscreens.
  • allow remote screensharing
  • be connected to synchronous chat and video-conferencing functions in order to coordinate joint text production.
  • allow simple access for FHNW-external people
Expected benefits Makes co-operation easier and more simple Requires new media literacy, collaboration and coordination skills that must be learned by users – in order to not disturb each other.
Risks – what needs to be considered Another risk specified was that virtual collaboration would be at the cost of personal contacts/relationships

Requirement 2 (Study-Phase): Asynchronous collaboration–> see scenario 3

Need Need by students and university employees to work efficiently on one document in an asynchronous way.
Existing practices and problem statement
  • LMS document sharing functions are often cumbersome. Even if upload offers drag and drop functions, most students have restricted opportunities for collaboration and documents in LMS. For example, in Moodle, only the teacher role allows the upload of documents in folders. For editing, documents are not integrated into local file systems but need to be downloaded, edited and uploaded again.Accordingly, for their group work students and university employees often use programs which offer the possibility to share documents and work on documents in an asynchronous way; for example Dropbox, Google Drive, or WUALA);  associated problems are:
  • The more persons work on the same document, the more error-prone is the versioning process which needs to be done manually. Procedures have to be predefined and templates to produced and shared.
  • Moreover, a document that is (inadvertently) opened and edited by two persons results in a conflicting version that needs to be resolved manually.
  • In addition, there are known security issues with programs like Dropbox.  This relates to …
  • legal aspects: with external tools currently there is no copy right protection
  • A FHNW-Tool is preferred due to legal aspects (data protection).
  • The storage place can be limited (extension of space can be costly)
  • Non-transparent rights management: it is not obvious anymore, to whom specific rights were given
Proposed solutions Solution should:

  • Integration in local file system
  • allows tracking of the individual contributions
  • automatic versioning (and immediate warnings) that prevent loss of information
  • offers the “History of the project” in the form of a back-up of the previous versions (to re-access older versions)
  • allow simple access for FHNW-external people
  • integrated into common technological landscape of students, employees and teachers (single account)
  • Integration of LMS, local folders and the cloud (automatic updates of changes)
  • Simple overview
Expected benefits
  • Smooth, efficient and faster collaboration (no more up- and download, redundancies in content production are avoided)
  • Quality: Collaboration is less error prone;  (avoidance of conflicting versions and loss of information)
  • Ubiquity: data easily accessible from everywhere / storage is in the Cloud
Risks – what needs to be considered Some participants are concerned about decreased face-face meetings (reduced social contact)

Requirement 3 (Study-Phase): Project Coordination –> see scenario 4

Need Need of students and university employees for integrated project management platform.
Existing practices and problem statement An important aspect of university education is project-based learning. Similarly, university employees frequently engage in projects with other institutions from HE and practice. This shows the need for a collaboration platform that supports project management functions. At the time being, at FHNW there is no common PM platform available, and LMS are simply not suited as PM platforms. Some lecturers use external PM platforms that are not integrated into the universities technology landscape and require additional account management.
Proposed solutions
  • Students can organise themselves in groups and open up workspaces to realise a project.
  • Workspaces are used to share and edit document (see also requirements for synchronous and asynchronous collaboration)
  • Students can produce project plans including milestones and associated tasks
  • Tasks can be assigned to group members
  • Tasks, milestones should be integrated with calendar/email clients of participants
  • External people can access spaces and documents
  • Functions are integrated in one tool.
  • Solution offers a (configurable) selection of PM-specific templates is available
  • Includes a cockpit: it is possible evaluated progress at a glance (urgent tasks, deadlines etc.)
  • Easy to use; should not produce more administrational work.
Expected benefits More transparent and efficient project management. Focus on content and not on coordination efforts and, accordingly, improved outcomes.
Risks – what needs to be considered Not known

Requirement 4 (Pre-Study) –>see scenario 5

Need Better integrate and qualify students before they start their study.
Existing practices and problem statement There is currently very limited contact between prospective students and faculty. Many students who start are facing problems with some subjects like mathematics or accounting because a lack of prior knowledge (though fulfilling formal qualification).
Proposed solutions
  • Accordingly, it would be useful that students can access courses before study begin
  • The solutions needs to offer the following functions:
  • While the proposed solutions have been already described in requirement 1 and 2, of particular importance is the smooth access for prospective students.
Expected benefits
  • Students are better prepared for their future studies and struggle less at the beginning.
  • FHNW gets in touch with and is potentially able offer a more attractive programme; in this way the prospective students would be closer tied to university gap between prior education and HE would be bridged.
Risks – what needs to be considered Time consuming for faculty

Requirement 5 (Post-Study-Phase): Evidence/showcase competences as profiles –> see scenario 6 and 7

Need Need of alumni and employees/lecturers to showcase/demonstrate competences/achievements.
Existing practices and problem statement A few months after the completion of the studies at FHNW, student accounts are de-activated and e-mails, e-learning courses, virtual folders etc. cannot be accessed anymore (unless these materials have been manually exported). There are very limited opportunities for alumni and employees/lecturers to showcase own work/competences.
Proposed solutions Solution should:

  • Allow the compilation of relevant materials in one’s learning/work portfolio/archive after study end, i.e. accessing one’s learning archive (contacts, group work, presentations, literature list etc.) after having left FHNW
  • Support a seamless  learning-bio which means that after leaving FHNW one continue to load up his “learning material”, achievements and his certificates of performance on a platform.
  • Profiles of alumni and employees/lecturers that account for expertise/work and can be confirmed by others using social tagging functions.
Expected benefits
  • No need for manual export/import of relevant study documents; no loss of information through de-activated accounts.
  • Expertise from the members of the University/Alumni is publically visible
  • E-portfolio is also used for learning in the sense of reflection.
  • The e-portfolio is available from everywhere, p.e. in a job interview
  • Offering portfolios for students after study end may also more tightly connect students with FHNW.
  • And, FHNW will be able to better understand career-tracks of students  (on the basis of the publicly available parts of an portfolio) and possibly be able to offer more tailored further education programs.
Risks – what needs to be considered
  • Security risks, privacy issues and rights management.
  • Archive space.

Requirement 6 (Post-Study-Phase): International Management Re-United –> see scenario 7

Need Harness the social capital that has been built among students and university also after the students having left the institution.
Existing practices and problem statement Linking students with FHNW after study end has turned out to be a difficult endeavour; Current attempts at FHNW to develop online and offline alumni communities are decentralized, based on different initiatives of the individual schools; the development and invitation of students to FHNW-based online-alumni platforms has seen mixed-results at best, with a few participants and low levels of interaction. On the other hand, students frequently use non-FHNW-networking platforms such as XING or Facebook. Spaces where FHNW as an institution has little influencing opportunities.
Proposed solutions
  • Integration with existing networking platforms /export/import function (e.g. login with linked-account).
  • Support all kind of networking functions including profile, social tagging, endorsement, posting of messages on general level and to specific groups, e.g. job offers.
  • Location-based features: offer a map that shows the current location of members; to support members to network “physically” if they work in the same region; of particular importance for FHNW/HWS in view of their internationalization strategies.
  • Of particular importance is the formation of groups. Alumni students want to stay in touch with colleagues from their specific cohort.
Expected benefits Alumni and faculty are closer connected, which will result in several benefits, in particular in view of the practice-orientation of FHNW; for example, feedback on educational programme from a practice perspective, on-going, more intensive co-operation with FHNW and alumni (as business partners) in terms of joint innovation/research projects; knowing demands and needs of alumni FHNW may attract more easily students for further education/training programmes; a platform may also allow existing students to link with alumni, which is, inter alia, interesting in terms of jobs/internships. Alumni may benefit by being able to maintain their social capital including former co-students, lecturers etc. (strong and weak ties) across their career.
Risks – what needs to be considered The risk of implementing a FHNW solution is not being able to attract sufficient students (tipping point) since they are interested in using their own, non-FHNW-platforms.

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