Portucalense University (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN19 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 4098-4107
ISBN: 978-84-09-12031-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2019.1039
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
In the process of organising exchange mobility, students and higher education staff members must conclude trilateral Learning Agreements (LA) that are the basis for the recognition of academic qualifications obtained abroad. While LA documents may be considered essential to an adequate organisation of credit mobility, there are several issues that hamper their preparation. In fact, the interlocutors involved are often not clearly defined, the information needed to build the agreements is rarely available online and in up to 75% of the cases, students need to change their learning agreements after their arrival at the receiving Higher Education Institutions (HEI). Furthermore, as the process is mainly paper-based, it is error prone and time consuming.

This paper describes the ongoing project developed by the authors aiming to develop a web-based software platform to automate the process of submitting applications for Portucalense University (UPT) students exchange and UPT academic and non-academic staff exchange (STA and STT) within the Erasmus+ programme.

The software application should consider the preparation of all the necessary documents online as well as their update along the application process. For instance, for students’ exchange, the application allows the LA to be prepared online by the student, and the connection with the coordinators of the sending and receiving Higher Education Institutions for the update of the document, enabling them to fill their own sections, and further approve and sign the document online.

A requirement set for the software application, was its integration, exchange of information and access through the SIUPT system (UPT web-based information system – on line academic portal). Web services were envisaged for the transfer of information between SIUPT (or other academic portals) and the software application. For the back-end development of the application, the PHP Symfony open-source web framework and a MYSQL database were used, while for the front-end development the Bootstrap framework was used.

The project addresses the dematerialization of the process of organising exchange mobility, transferring a paper-based workflow, which is reliant on timely postal deliveries for signature purposes, into an online system that will allow students and staff to gain considerable time when preparing their studies or work abroad and induce a greater degree of flexibility and efficiency when needing to revise the LA.

Beyond the dematerialization of the process, it is also envisaged that the online software application will allow HEIs to better manage the workflows of the learning agreements, rendering the process of approving and managing these documents more efficient, and thus freeing up time for staff members to work on other activities, while improving the quality of the mobility process.
Digital transformation, paper-based workflow, Erasmus mobility applications, systems integration.