Edform

Edform.org is an online alumni network and social media product for schools and institutions. They provide personalised alumni networking space, and features like online chat, video conferencing, career consultation to it’s member schools and its registered alumni and students.

Overview & Requirements

This is an online alumni network and social media product for various schools and institutions across UK. Different schools and institutions can register to this online alumni network platform, can set up their personalised network, where students and alumni can join and interact using vast number of tools available to them.
Detailed Requirements
Types of users

The site will have following types of users - School admin, students, alumni, teacher, sub-users, parents and children. Each school when they register, get their own network space, with a personalised URL. They can change the color scheme, upload school logo, add home page carousel content and a lot of other aspects.

Then, students and alumni can join into the network, by mentioning the school whose alumni network they want to join in during the registration. Students can also opt in not to be a part of any alumni network, but just join in as normal student. Alumni mandatorily has to be a part of the an alumni network, hence have to choose a school during registration. Parents can register and create their child accounts, who can then take tuition from the tutors who register on the site. Aldo, school admins can create sub-users for maintaining their site. Joining an alumni network requires approval by its school admin or sub users.

School Admin's controls

Within each alumni network, school admin can create various activities, like events, polls, news, opportunities, activities etc. Some of these can be created by students and alumni as well, but needs admin approval.

Alumni Mentorship

One major feature of the system is alumni mentorship. This helps students get help from alumni. Students can create a “Looking for” activity, and mentors can create “Available for” activity, based on various pre determined categories and by following an interactive process. Once created, a notification and email goes out to all the matching members and they can interact through private message and live chat.

Online video conferencing system

Also, another major feature is real time online video conferencing system called virtual sessions. Alumni and school admin can schedule virtual sessions and invite students to it. They can then do real time online interactive video conference and their sessions are recorded and can be viewed later on.

Career opportunities section

There is a feature called career opportunities, where through a fully interactive workflow, and by asking the users a set of questions, the platform suggests suitable careers to the users, and then shows them a host of other search results based on the the suggested careers, like blogs, articles, available opportunities and alumni and students in the present network who belong to or are related to the suggested careers.

Some other useful features

Apart from these, there are numerous other extensive features like, member search, image gallery, job opportunities, blog, activities etc. in case of member search, there are filters based on geolocation proximity, and a host of other filters.

Architecture

This site was a big challenge for us, as it had a huge feature set and focus was on not only implementing them, but to implement everything is the most effective way possible so that the site did not suffer performance wise. The client had a Drupal 6 version of the site, with limited features, but was interested in rebuilding the entire product in drupal 7 from scratch. We did a detailed discovery phase for the entire project, and reviewed every requirement in detail. We have used Drupal API and existing modules ecosystem to the fullest, and then wrote effective and performant custom code whenever it was required to do so.

The account set-up and user types were implemented using profile2, profile2 registration path, and a custom module to write the bridging functions.

Social media registration+login and social media posting features were implemented using a third party API service from oneallsocial.com. Using such an API ensured that we did not have to implement and maintain each and every social media and we easily get all the social media data from their API in a simple and hassle free manner.

Other major features were implemented using drupal APIs like form API, for Ajax API, Field API to create custom widgets and formatters, database API. In terms of contrib modules, we used a lot of them for various purposes.

A lot of contrib modules were used in the process, for various purposes. In some cases, we forked a few contrib modules to modify it and tweak it in a way to make it as per feature requirement.

The video conferencing system was implemented using Big Blue Button (BBB) Open Source System. It is an excellent open source platform system and provides a rich API as well for doing things like recording, scheduling and access check for conferences.

Challanges

The major challenge of the project was it's scale. There was a huge list of features the client as looking to integrate. This site was meant to be an extensive platform for schools and alumni. We knew if the planning was not right, the site would fall apart, and later of face performance issues and other technical shortcomings. We did a month long discovery phase, consulted client on various requirements and came up with fool proof architectural plan. There were so much to do on this and we faced quite a few challenges. The was to develop a full features video conferencing system, and client was looking to use an open source technology for it. We evaluated a lot of solutions and finalised on the awesome open source Big Blue Button for this. There were other numerous challenges, which our technical team solved with different approached, sometimes with a contributed module used as a base, sometimes creating a complete custom solution based on Drupal APIs.

Outcome

The project was developed in phases. The initial build was released in three months and the client was extremely impressed with our work methodology, quality of work and delivery. The initial build already had a huge feature set, but that was only the beginning. Soon after this, the client signed off the next two builds, two month each, during which we implemented some major enhancements, like career opportunities scheduling, virtual sessions feature and online conferencing, member matching etc. This project is a huge success, as all the features were implemented perfectly, and needless to say the client was overwhelmed with the end result.

Social Media Integrated, Intuitive and Sequential Registration workflow for Students, Alumni, School, Parent Tutor

Virtual Sessions, a full fledged video conferencing system, using open source Big Blue Buttons.

A detailed career insights workflow, that based on a detailed set of questions in quiz format, suggests viable career choices.

Per School Personalised URL, where all the members of the Alumni Mentorship Programme will communicate

Extensive search powered by Apache SOLR

Clean and Elegant Responsive Design, Bootstrap Based Theme Implementation

11,546

Lines of code

540

Coffee Consumed

6

Members in the Team

7840

Hours Used

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