Cris Ewing: ePar Lite: Tracking faculty achievement in Plone

A talk at Plone Symposium East 2009. Track B, 2:30pm, May 28.

link to video


The University of Washington Department of Radiology has an annual Professional Activity Report (PAR) process which all faculty are required to perform. For years, this reporting has been handled via paper-only files, with folders of data being handed around from faculty members to section chief, on to review committee members and finally to the office of the Chair of the department. This system worked, barely, but the drawbacks were clear to all. The paper waste alone meant that each year a small forest died for our compliance.

After the Radiology website migrated to plone in early 2008, it became a priority of the department to move this process online. The ePAR Lite system is the outcome of that work. It is an add-on product--compatible with plone 3 or greater and dependant on the FacultyStaffDirectory--designed to provide a seamless workflow process and user interface to create, edit, review and manage PAR documentation across the entire department. The system came online April 1, 2009, and is in use now.

This talk will cover the entire process of creating this system. We'll start with the administrative process of creating a specification and getting department and school sign-off for it. We'll cover some of the challenges of creating a specification in a University setting. We'll also talk about the development of the project, looking at the technical challenges of a complex worflow with email notifications built in. We'll also cover the testing process and how we went live. Finally, we'll take a quick look at how the system has been working for us, and discuss ways in which it might be generalized to provide a tool for the larger academic community.

This talk will be of interest to folks in the education sector, There will be a minimum of technical detail, so non-developers will be comfortable.

See Also: Symposium Talks | Main symposium page | Training | Sprints | Birds of a Feather