Filed Under (conference) by Geek in Residence on 07-11-2008

My conference notes on the talk: Managing Student Disputes through Technology by Aline Grossman, Executive Director Business Integrated Services and Traci Hardy, Project Manager of the University of Phoenix and Maddy Lakshmanan, Project Lead of Apollo Group, Inc.

The University of Phoenix is the largest private university in North America, specializing in adult (working students) education.  With nearly 200 campuses, the University serves 300,000+ students with more than 100 degree programs.  So it’s a big place … and their challenge was to manage student disputes in a highly distributed and mostly virtual environment.

So they built a web-base Dispute Management System (DMS) and in the last four years, they have successfully processed 14,000 disputes.

The requirements document was 103 pages long.  They employed traditional project management with agile development and “UI engineering” to maximize results.

Here are the layers of technologies used:

Framework: Spring MVC 2.04 (although 2.05 is apparently better)

View Layer: Ext.js, Prototype.js, JSP, AJAX, JSON

AppServer: Jboss 4.05 CA (with load balancing)

Data Layer: Hibernate 3.0

Database: MS SQL Server 2000

Authentication: ACEGI, CAS, CAP

Web Services: Xfire

Tools: Fortify (protects against SQL injection), QTP, LoadRunner (performance testing)

Libraries: Quartz

Some of the technical challenges:

  1. controlled access
  2. locking feature
  3. communication with other applications
  4. securing legal data
  5. backing up secured date (every 15 minutes)
  6. monitoring the application’s availability

Future directions for development include consolidating other dispute systems, easy access to earlier disputes, dealing with retaliatory issues, work load balancing and trending.

My next post will summarize notes from the talk The Unique Human Brain: Clues fromNeurology by V.S. Ramachandran, Professor and Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California, San Diego.