The Course Approval Processes ES bundle allows academic and administrative staff in institutions of higher learning to create an academic curriculum using simple, easy-to-understand interfaces.
The Course Approval Processes ES bundle offers a flexible and paper-free process that enables multiple parties to request, review, and approve new academic courses and assign them to a centralized curriculum. The system allows for granular control over faculty responsibilities and includes functionality for:
- searching programs of study, module groups and courses
- allowing faculty members to request, access, and create courses
- enabling administrators and academic managers to process requests and approve courses as part of a program of study
An approval process for a new course typically involves several steps. It begins when a requestor – usually a professor or department administrator – designs a course. This data includes a description of the course and the curriculum requirements it fulfills. Technically this step can be well supported using a web-based interface, particularly using an interactive form created with the SAP Interactive Forms software by Adobe. SAP Interactive Forms provide a very convenient look and feel for even casual users. The course is then sent to a program coordinator who reviews the proposal and may add additional administrative information to the course. Finally, it is sent to an academic board or head for approval. After approval, the course becomes available in the academic catalog and can be incorporated into the class schedule.
The Course Approval Processes ES bundle also includes a query system for finding and editing existing courses. Faculty and administrators can find courses by looking up individual descriptions.
The Course Approval Processes ES bundle leverages enterprise SOA using SAP ERP 6.0 with the industry extension SAP Campus Management, which is part of SAP Educational Services for Higher Education & Research.
Course Approval Processes (click to enlarge)
Any institute of higher learning, small or large, that is still using paper-based or non-centralized computerized processes for creating or updating a curriculum will find this ES bundle of immense value. Deployment will lead to a reduction in labor time and cost, as well as offering real-time visibility into curriculum modification operations. It also ensures consistency of information on the curriculum throughout the whole process and transparency in the organization into the courses offered and their use in programs. Beneficiaries include universities and colleges.
For details on Service Operations, Business Objects and Process Components, please check the ES Workplace.
How to Use This ES Bundle
Many schools still rely on decentralized paper or electronic methods to prepare new courses in their curriculums. A professor may prepare a local copy of his or her course description and schedule. This is then passed to an administrator for approval, and it may go back to the professor prior to being entered into the system. This process is susceptible to multiple errors in paperwork as well as duplication of efforts during the course update process. Online course listings may also be disconnected from the real curriculum, with potential duplication of effort or failure to update the central curriculum in a speedy manner.
The systems used by institutions of higher learning are rarely interconnected, often brittle and inflexible, not to mention difficult to use. Few systems offer an end-to-end solution for creating and maintaining a curriculum between departments and individual colleges. The Course Approval Processes ES bundle utilizes an electronic request, process, approve, and update pattern that simplifies course creation. The process of approval depends on the rules within the institution and incorporates supporting steps (such as checks against existing courses or retrieval of legal coding attributes).
This ES bundle uses a composite application that consumes a service in its final step to create the course in SAP Campus Management.
The following section explores a use case for the Course Approval Processes ES bundle. It shows how to use the system to create and maintain an academic curriculum. While this example illustrates a few of the ways that this ES bundle could be used, the intention is to show the flexibility and reusability of these business objects and enterprise service operations so that you will have a clearer understanding of how to best deploy them in your own environment. This wiki is also a space for you to share knowledge and collaborate with others who are implementing the Course Approval Processes ES bundle.
Use Case 1: Curriculum Creation
A university professor wants to create a new class. In the past, this may have been a laborious, paper-based process. But since the university has implemented SAP Campus Management and the Course Approval Processes ES bundle, he is instead able to log on to the campus intranet and access an online form using SAP Interactive Forms.
The new course request can be started in several ways. A professor may start from scratch using a blank web form, choose from a selection of course templates with some prepopulated information fields, or even import course data from a PDF or Microsoft Word document in some cases. The professor then has the option of saving the new course request as a file on his local machine or printing it to a hard copy.
This process starts with using the Find Work Agreement by Elements and Read Employee Name enterprise service operations to identify the professor. The professor is then proposed as the responsible person for the course and the professor's department becomes the default for the department offering the course (the Find Organisational Centre by Employee enterprise service operation makes this association). The professor can override these defaults, which again invokes the Read Employee Name and Find Organisational Centre by Employee enterprise service operations as necessary.
The professor begins filling out the electronic form for requesting a new course. The form includes spaces for all data associated with that particular course, such as:
- Organization unit (or department)
- Grading scheme
- Grading scale
- Program types
Each course can be assigned to several programs of study or course module groups where the service operations Find Module Group by Name and Find Program of Study by Name support searching for them. Setting pre- and co-requisites is supported by Find Course Module by Name.
Sample Course Request Form
Once the course data is entered, the instructor sends the form to the department administrator. The department administrator gets the request in his universal worklist. The department administrator accesses the course request data and makes additions and corrections necessary. All of the functions available to the instructor could be made available to the administrator (and the same enterprise services are used). In particular, the administrator can add an official abbreviation or class code represented by the discipline of the course. The instructor can be notified if there are any errors or changes needed.
These stages already utilize all of the business objects used by this ES bundle, including Academic Course Module, Academic Module Group, Work Agreement, Organisational Centre, Academic Program of Study, and Employee.
The program coordinator can also check for potential duplicate offerings leveraging the enterprise service interface Manage Academic Course Module with its operation Check Create Course Module. If the requested course does not exist, the program coordinator can decide how it fits into the existing structure and even edit the course module, changing the course abbreviation or number, for example.
The department administrator then sends the class creation request to the head of the academic board. Once approved, the enterprise service operation Create Course Module facilitates the creation of the course in SAP Campus Management.
This section will be updated as future directions for this ES bundle are decided upon.
The Course Approval Processes ES bundle achieves connectivity between a client-specified UI and the backend system via SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (formerly XI) or via a direct web service interaction.