1 Technical University of Ostrava (CZECH REPUBLIC)
2 Portucalense University (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 1725-1734
ISBN: 978-84-09-08619-1
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2019.0502
Conference name: 13th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 11-13 March, 2019
Location: Valencia, Spain
In the process of organising exchange mobility, students and higher education staff members must conclude trilateral Learning Agreements that are the basis for the recognition of academic qualifications obtained abroad. According to the PRIME survey, conducted by the Erasmus Student Network in 2010-11, while Learning Agreements (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), usually due to changes in their study plans abroad. Furthermore, as the process is mainly paper-based, it is error prone and time consuming.

This paper describes the project developed by the authors, including two Postgraduate Erasmus students, conducted in the context of Erasmus+ Student Mobility for Placements (SMP) at Portucalense University (UPT). The aim of the project is to develop a web-based software platform to automate the process of submitting applications for 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 and access through the SIUPT system (UPT web-based information system – on line academic portal), developed in PHP. For the back-end development of the application, the PHP Symphony open-source web framework and a MYSQL database were used, while for the front-end development the Bootstrap framework was used.

This process therefore transfers a paper-based workflow, which is reliant on timely postal deliveries for signature purposes, into an online system that will allow students to gain considerable time when preparing their studies abroad and induce a greater degree of flexibility and efficiency when needing to revise the Learning Agreement.

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.