Covenant University (NIGERIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 5018-5027
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Academic institutions and research organisations are fast becoming very corporate in the design and setup of the workspace. There is an ever-present need for readily available information and sophisticated means of communication. As a result, information and communication technologies have being deployed for application in various fields of endeavour some of which include virtual offices. A virtual office is essentially a simulated corporate environment that gives subscribers access to collaborative and work related features, which act as a means of improving the way work is carried out in an organisation.

Several organisations opt for the software services rendered by virtual offices because of their cost effectiveness and tendency to boost the collective productivity of these organisations. For reasons as such, the existence of virtual office software suites have become rampant, but the availability of its services are at a cost. This paper reports the design and implementation of an Educational Virtual Office using Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) to relieve corporate organisations of the costly burdens of existing proprietary virtual office software. Tools used in achieving this feat are Drupal Web Content Management System (WCMS), readily available FOSS and a couple of freeware.

The developed educational virtual office suite was deployed in the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering of Covenant University. A usability (user satisfaction) test was conducted. Analysis of the test results showed that questions related to user satisfaction scored more “Strongly Agree” and “Agree” points than “Disagree” and “Strongly Disagree”. This is a pointer to the fact that features such as the GUI of the web application and its navigation proved to have little or no challenges as at when the tests were carried out.

Deployment of the developed educational virtual office suite has the significant advantage of low cost in comparison with proprietary virtual office suites with similar functionality. The fact that the suite was developed using FOSS gives it all the advantages that accrue from the employment of it from the system design bottom-Up. Such advantages as easy access to source code, which engenders easy upgrade of the component parts come naturally.
FOSS, Virtual Office, Drupal Web Content Management System (WCMS).