Schools in the District of Kassel: Managing iPads Centrally With UCS@school

In the district of Kassel, our team of 12 is responsible for the IT support of a total of 72 schools (49 elementary schools, 14 high schools, 3 grammar schools, 2 vocational schools, and 4 special needs schools) and around 27,000 user accounts (approx. 25,000 pupils and 2,000 faculty members). We take care not only of the hardware (server, PCs, iOS devices, etc.), the network, and the telephone systems, but also of the operating systems, software, and mobile device administration.
In this blog article, I would like to describe the challenges we encountered as a district with a large surface area and a multitude of small, spread-out boroughs when it came to allowing the use of mobile devices in our schools and keeping the efforts associated with the introduction and support to a minimum at the same time.

UCS@school and Open-Xchange for Schools in Basel

For some time now, we have been looking for a consistent solution for the mail system used by our teachers and students. We need a secure environment that’s easy to manage. In a combined effort, ICT Medien and Adfinis SyGroup, a Swiss Service Provider, migrated the schools’ existing mail system with around 32,000 accounts. We connected the current identity management (UCS@school) to the e-mail and groupware solution Open-Xchange. In this article we’re going to describe the initial situation, talk about our considerations, the planning phase, and the requirements for the new mail and groupware solution. We’re also going to tell you about our system architecture and the servers involved. During the migration we encountered some problems – you’re going to read about them and about our solutions. Before we start with the more technical details, we’d like to say how happy we are with the new Open Source solution: The new mail system fulfils all requirements in terms of security, high availability, and the current data protection guidelines.

Email Service, Learning Platform and Unified User Identities – Bremerhaven Digitizes School IT

As a media center in Bremerhaven, we support a total of about 40 schools, 1,700 teachers and 17,000 pupils in the use of IT and other media. When we began implementing our digitization strategy in early 2015, the introduction of a learning management solution was at the top of our list of priorities. But even then, we were already considering offering further services, such as a service e-mail address for teachers. At that time, however, there was still no standardized database in which the data of all pupils and teachers was available to which a learning management solution or a e-mail server could be connected.

New in Univention App Center: Apple School Manager Connector

iPads in schools

The digitisation in schools that are equipped with UCS@school continues to progress rapidly. Many school authorities and federal states are providing schools with mobile terminals for use in the classroom. Apple’s iPads in particular are in demand. The devices are robust, easy to use and affordable. They are also equipped with a large number of special apps for digital education.

While iPads are usually tied to a single user, there is one exception for schools with the so-called shared iPads: Students authenticate themselves with their credentials and can thus access personal data, homework, apps, books, etc. This not only saves costs but in combination with mobile device management also a lot of time, as teachers can manage the contents centrally.

Data Protection for Your IT despite Microsoft Office 365

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Do you already know our Microsoft Office 365 Connector? If you use Microsoft Office 365 while simultaneously attach highest importance to the protection of your data, you should definitely try this App.

Working from anywhere has only become possible and effective through the cloud, but the administrative effort involved in integrating and maintaining all users can be horrendous. On top of that, data protection is a delicate issue for cloud services. In this article you will therefore learn how our connector provides a solution and how you can install it easily.

Univention supplies the IT infrastructure for teaching in Bremen‘s schools

group of school kids with tablet pc in classroom

Since 2003, the Bremen „Senator for Children and Education“ has been developing and implementing a centralized offer for the provision of IT infrastructure in Bremen‘s schools. Among other elements, this covers centralized identity and infrastructure management, defined server and desktop environments, software distribution of educational applications for schools, a school software solution for computer-assisted teaching and roll-out, support, update and helpdesk procedures.

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.