Beyond Facebook – Safe Social Networking for Schools with HumHub@school

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.

Setup of an Efficient IT Infrastructure with Central Identity Management in 261 schools in Cologne

A large-scale project is currently under way in Cologne, Germany: the setup of a standardized, centralized identity infrastructure for all schools. This is set to include considerable simplification of the software distribution and the administration via the education authority over the coming years and measures to ensure that the schools in Cologne are ready for the digitalization of education.

Administration of Tablets in Everyday School Life with Mobile Device Management (MDM)

With the increased interest of schools to use tablets in classrooms, the Kreismedienzentrum Wildeshausen (media center of the district Wildeshausen) experienced a significant increase in inquiries for circulating tablets in 2015. In order to guarantee a safe operation of the equipment regardless of the location, the institution was faced with the task of organizing a reliable central tablet management.

Due to lack in personnel at the KMZA it was impossible to organize a manual device management, in which the tablets are connected to a laptop via USB cable and the subsequent MDM configuration is carried out individually.

In addition to the central tablet management, they planned to lend the devices to the schools as a so-called ‘suitcase solution’ and wanted to make remote maintenance possible.

Customized Univention Portal Page in Just a Few Steps

Screenshot of a personalized Univention portal

The Univention Portal is the central hub via which users access a Univention system. It is where you can find links to installed applications like webmail. In addition, administrators also have the option of including their own links to external websites. Last, but by no means least, there is also a module here with which users can change their own password.

Univention supports personalization of the portal’s start page – in the best-case scenario, this not only ensures compliance with your corporate identity, but also allows users to identify better with Univention. For example, it is possible to place a number of different applications on the start page, permitting users direct access to them. Yet another option is even more evident immediately: In just a few steps, the portal can be customized with a large-scale background image and a portal logo. Domain administrators can perform this step quickly and with minimal effort.

Development of a Central IT Structure With Integration of Local School Servers in the Kassel District – Preparation is Everything!

Foto des Kreishauses vom Landkreis Kassel

The school IT service in the rural district of Kassel, Germany, is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the IT infrastructure in 72 schools counting a total of 25,000 pupils and 2,000 members of staff.

Support of decentralized structures as rural district

Our IT support is based in the media center in Hofgeismar, but as a rural district we are of course faced with certain challenges presented by the distribution of the schools throughout the district. Our overall support concept is oriented toward the decentralized structure. From an organizational and technical perspective, we aim to centralize as much as possible, but the individual support technicians are often out of the media center for days at a time working on site in the schools.

Data Privacy-Compliant Integration of Office 365 in Fulda schools

Foto vom Rathaus in Fulda

The municipal authorities of the German city of Fulda in the state of Hesse are responsible for the administration and operation of the IT in 23 schools in Fulda – including 2 vocational schools and 2 grammar schools – for a total of 13,000 pupils and 1,000 members of teaching staff.

Unlike in the rest of Hesse, as an education authority for a small city, we have the city’s own well-developed fiber-optic network at our disposal. The majority of the schools are already connected to the fiber-optic network covering the whole city, which allowed us to do away with local servers in the schools at an early stage and focus on a centralized IT concept instead. As a result, all the school IT in Fulda now runs over centralized servers in our administration center. We operate an Active Directory domain of our own design on these servers with centralized domain controllers, to which a terminal server farm comprising both Windows and Citrix servers as well as the central file servers are connected.

OX App Suite – the whole office online

Screenshot OX App Suite

The groupware solution OX App Suite, available in the Univention App Center, is aimed at companies, educational institutions and public administrations looking for a modern and future-proof communication solution.

OX App Suite is a modular communication and collaboration platform. It is based on open standards and can be used in combination with Univention Corporate Server (UCS) for the integration into existing IT infrastructures.

Digitalization Package for Schools with Integrated E-Mail and Collaboration Functions

Logo Ucs@school und OX
As a leading provider of Open Source-based IT infrastructure solutions, we have now “bundled” a new digitalization package for schools, in the knowledge that only secure, flexible, and user-friendly solutions allow the modernization of the IT infrastructure in education so desperately desired by politicians. To this end, we have comprehensively expanded our special solution tailored to the requirements of education authorities, UCS@school, with groupware functions and the web-based office suite from Open-Xchange. The new software package was also on show at this year’s CeBIT.

It supports schools in their digitalization, and we are delighted that the city of Basel, Switzerland, is already implementing it in a pilot project for 20,000 users.

Digital Opportunities in Education Simply Too Good to Waste

Tafel mit Aufschrift "What's Next"

What is the current situation?

Compared with other developed countries, Germany’s pupils, teachers, and curricula are lagging far behind in terms of digital education and media skills. The German Minister for Education, Johanna Wanka, has identified two principal reasons for this, which will now be addressed in the new DigitalPakt#D strategy. One the one hand she sees a lack of pedagogic concepts and strategies, and on the other an underdeveloped IT infrastructure. I can agree wholeheartedly with this assessment for many sectors.

Cool Solution Moodle – For Cooperative Learning

Moodle Logo

What are “Cool Solutions”?

Cool Solutions is the name we use to describe Univention solutions which expand UCS with practical, advantageous functions and which we successfully employ for our customers. These solutions are regularly showcased in the Univention Wiki in the form of Cool Solutions articles.

In this article I would like to introduce the learning platform Moodle and its interface with UCS. At the end of this article you can also find an interview we conducted with the Chemnitz education authorities, which are currently implementing Moodle in a number of the city’s schools.

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