Plone Powers a New Registration Portal
Plone provides multiple integrations and high usability for the University of Jyväskylä's registration portal for international students
The Open University of the University of Jyväskylä in Finland faced a daunting challenge: With a robust offering of international studies courses and a student audience beyond the usual set of university enrollees, registration needed to be faster, less complicated, and more flexible. For example :
- Students from countries other than Finland needed a flexible authentication protocol
- Students part-way through the registration process needed to get quickly back to the place where they had stopped
- Coursework needed to be quickly and easily browsable, and purchase through university systems needed to be seamless
- Course administrators needed a system where course listings could be updated with ease
- Every step of the process needed to be loggable so that administrators could identify choke points and eliminate them
The development team at the University of Jyväskylä drew upon the strong core foundation of Plone to handle the all-essential data storage and management in a secure and accessible framework. Using Plone's modern RestAPI, the team was able to integrate, first, a wicked fast front end for managing data entry and browsing. Next, they used similar APIs to link to university systems for payment, user management, and the learning management system involved in course delivery. The ReactJS-based Volto front end (which will be standard on Plone 6) made dedicated and custom layouts very easy for the developers to create and even easier for administrators to add, edit, and organize.
One last integration using the RestAPI addressed the logging challenge. The team incorporated an open-source business process management tool, BPMN, into the platform to provide a window on every transaction, including how long each registration required and when and where registration ran into trouble.
Continuous improvement of the Plone framework has resulted in a fast, easy-to-use front end that editors love, deeply integrated with Plone's highly secure CMS backend built on Python and Zope. Based on Plone's unbeatable security record, the team knew they could trust the data to be safe. What's more, the framework's granular permission management was harnessed to allow teachers to access some areas, while students only got to see their own dashboard.
User feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from both teachers and students at Open University. Problems with the identification and registration process have diminished greatly and, surprisingly, this had the side effect of improving the atmosphere in the courses.
Visit the English language version of the portal.
Read a technical blog post about the business process management integration.