The JOBELMANN-SCHULE – Berufsbildende Schulen I Stade vocational school developed its own social network for teachers and the school administration. Open Source made it possible to set it up in a manner that complies with the latest data privacy regulations, and the use of Univention Corporate Server for the basis also makes it easy to administrate.
The JOBELMANN-SCHULE in Stade has around 2,250 students, almost two thirds of which attend part-time while they complete vocational qualifications. There are 130 members of staff on site offering instruction in more than 20 careers requiring practical training. E-mail communication between the staff and students has long been handled by the groupware “Tine 2.0”, which is based on Univention Corporate Server and which we introduced some time ago with the support of the Hamburg-based company Files Per Hour. However, the majority of faculty members also wanted to offer the students a means of communicating with them outside of class. To this end, they began looking for a platform that spoke to the young people: a social network.
Every knows e-mails, but students are now using this communication channel less frequently and intensively. In addition, many solutions are not secure. In contrast, they do use Facebook, WhatsApp, etc., intensively. Those applications are out of the question for use by a school though, as there is absolutely no guarantee for the protection of personal data. For data privacy reasons, the official use of such networks is also explicitly forbidden for schools in the majority of the German states.
As such, it was clear from the get go that the JOBELMANN-SCHULE would have to develop its own system that satisfied the following criteria: The system must reflect the students’ real-life situation and be appealing. It must be easy to operate via mobile devices and allow push notifications. In order to guarantee data privacy, all data must be stored in a closed network accessible only to the staff and students. Only the school can create users and manage their rights.
The solution should be as inexpensive as possible and be associated with minimal administrative efforts that the teaching staff can perform themselves at least to some extent. The system administrators and school administrators should be able to take care of the technical support of the solution alongside their existing duties without considerable extra effort. In addition, it should be possible to integrate the new solution in the existing infrastructure without any problems.