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.

Brief Introduction: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Bring Your own Device Illustration

The term “bring your own device” also known by the acronyms “BYOD” and “BYOT” refers to the concept of organizations and companies allowing their employees to bring their private, mobile devices to the office and use them. This can present a number of advantages for both employees and organizations alike, for example:

  • Potential for cost savings on devices from the organization’s perspective
  • Employee satisfaction at being able to choose the device freely
  • Simplification of the work/life balance for employees
  • Increased productivity from not being bound to specific locations and schedules

In addition to the advantages listed above, the development also goes hand in hand with a whole range of legal, organizational, and technical challenges.

New Release of UCS@school Simplifies the Central Management of User Accounts

Logo UCS@School
With the release of UCS@school 4.1 R2, we have equipped our IT solution for schools with two new additional functions for the central management of digital identities and authorizations. From now on, UCS@school allows teaching staff and pupils to use their accounts at various schools. And stored school administration data can now be automatically imported into the identity management system of UCS. These new functions significantly reduce the maintenance efforts of managing the identities and authorizations of pupils and teaching staff. With these two new features we increased UCS@school’s standing as a solution for creative, centralized, and cost effective IT management of applications and digital identities in schools.

Univention Graduate Prize 2016: Submit Your Dissertations on Open Source Topics Now

Absolventenpreis 2016 Banner

Once again we are awarding the Univention Graduate Prize amounting to 3,500 Euro for dissertations that contribute in particular to the wider usage of Open Source software. A first-rate panel of experts comprising Open Source specialists from Fujitsu, Bosch, Lufthansa Systems, and DB Systel as well as the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the online news portal Pro-Linux.de will judge all the entries on their suitability for use and innovation.

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