'Cloudy' Thinking Produces Concrete Results For University's IT Support
Date posted: 24 December 2013
An online coursework submission project developed at the University of Derby, which saves time and money, has been shortlisted for a top information technology (IT) award.
The University has been shortlisted in the 'Best Hybrid Cloud Solution' category of the 2013-14 Cloud Awards for its e-Submission initiative. The Awards were founded in 2011 by a leading group of IT engineers, business leaders and marketers.
Cloud computing allows organisations to share scalable, efficient computing services which can offer improved access to consumers, and improved flexibility and agility to organisations.
The University's e-Submission initiative, launched in September 2012, allows students to submit coursework, and check for tutor feedback or ask for support online, at any time.
By replacing previous paper-based submissions it has saved time for students - who no longer have to travel to the University to drop off completed work or make appointments with tutors - and for staff, and reduced printing and paper costs.
To make it work the University's IT Services department had to integrate shared cloud systems with existing internal systems to create a start-to-finish hybrid cloud; complete with technical support for students and academics using it. It is this work which has seen it shortlisted for the Awards' category.
Neil Williams, IT Director at the University of Derby, said: "The solution solved an issue for the University but it's one all universities face.
"We believe we are leading the way with this start-to-finish hybrid cloud, working across an entire portfolio of educational courses with all of the associated business processes, policies and guidelines required to fully deliver a hybrid cloud solution.
"In some ways the innovation behind this has been less about the technology and more about the process, policy and communications plans built in to manage risk if something goes wrong."
A recent survey found more than 80% of University students and staff preferred the e-Submission system to the previous paper-based one.
The winners of the 2013-14 Cloud Awards will be announced on Tuesday January 28, 2014.