Computers have become an integral part of the education system. Quick and trouble-free access to new user accounts for students and staff members is now more critical than ever, especially when accessing a user account for the first time.
Ongoing maintenance to user account information and the constant creation of new user accounts created a serious issue for School District 67. Typically, requests for new user accounts and student enrollment processes were handled by the various staff members that were available to create new accounts. These changes consisted of tedious tasks subject to errors, large numbers of paper-based processes, and duplication of work. To create 100 users accounts it would typically take 500-700 minutes, resulting in several days of work.
To provide a streamlined and efficient user account maintenance process, School District 67 implemented a custom solution utilizing ComponentOne® Studio for ActiveX controls including True DataControl™ 8, True DBList™ Pro 8, and True DBInput™ Pro 8. The solution provided a trouble-free standardized account creation process, and the ability to add/update accounts, either one-at-a-time or in bulk, quickly, efficiently and error-free.
- ActiveX controls provid ease-of-use and fast integration into the application development cycle
- Flexible controls allow connections to many different database systems
- Simple to use controls with feature-rich functionality
Advanced, Automated Solutions with ActiveX Edition
The new application, a custom program created to fit the need for data entry on a large scale, was produced with ComponentOne True DataControl, True DBList Pro and True DBInput Pro. It provided a more advanced, automated solution for the student enrollment process along with support for the re-entry of student accounts each year in September. It supports 8,000 users, and is used by the School District 67 Technical Services Department to create accounts and to enter student and staff changes into a centralized Microsoft Active Directory. With this new application, a large number of user accounts can be created accurately, reliably and consistently. Users can now be moved from one site to another with ease, and if necessary, accounts and directory permissions can be recreated as all of the original information is stored in a central Microsoft SQL database. The flexibility of ComponentOne Studio for ActiveX controls allows connection to many different database systems through the set of drivers provided. For example, the School District began the process of reconstructing the Active Directory with Windows 2003 servers and used a Microsoft Access database to create the first few users on the new Active Directory, as the District SQL servers were not available initially.
“We selected ComponentOne products for ease-of-use and fast integration into the application development cycle. The products specifically provide bound ActiveX controls for database interaction, as well as reports and presentation tools, plus they’re all very simple to use, and offer feature rich functionality. I have been able to automate the creation of 1,000’s of user accounts quickly, reliably and with a measurable consistency,” said Eugene Smith of the Technical Services Department at School District 67. He added, “The next project is already underway for an application to document individual education plans for special needs students within the District. Many more features of the ComponentOne Studio ActiveX Edition controls will be utilized for this next project.”
The re-design of how the technical department delivered technical services began when the servers were centrally relocated to the main district office site. Recently the network was upgraded to a municipal-wide fiber optic network with fiber drops at each school site. So, instead of separate Active Directory user databases, one per school, the technical services staff re-deployed all users into one district-wide Microsoft Active Directory. They then took over the responsibility of entering and maintaining user accounts for the school district. The Technical Services Department needed a tool to enable them to do what was reliable, efficient, and enforced the entry of the required data for Active Directory. The application was tested during development and deployed to a few workstations for use by the Technical Services Department.
All user account information entered into Microsoft Active Directory follow the design of the centralized services. Since Microsoft Active Directory includes all users in the school district, they now have full-centralized control over the entry of users in Microsoft Active Directory in a consistent and reliable fashion. By centralizing account control and maintenance, the security issues of multiple account operators and incorrect data entry was solved.
Significant Time Savings and Quick Network Access
The application works by importing basic user data into an SQL database, usually a text file exported from the student information system. This basic data includes the user’s login name, password, first name, and last name. From there, user accounts are created in Microsoft Active Directory either one by one or in mass quantities, and placed in the appropriate Organizational Unit (OU) with the basic information plus additional standardized information including school, grade, home-drive path, roaming profile path, etc. Users are also added to the selected windows security groups. After the account is created the application then creates the folder structure for the user’s data/profile on the appropriate file server and sets the users permissions for those folders.
This valuable application improved user experience, increased timesavings, provided elimination of input error, and increased productivity. Specifically the benefits that resulted include the ability for new staff members and students’ to quickly access the network, and improved response time for school office staff requesting new accounts. The previous process took days to add student accounts (e.g. 100 users in 500-700 minutes) at the beginning of each school year, as well as new staff or staff changes. After implementation of the application, 100 users could be created in as little as 20 minutes, resulting in a significant savings of time.
We selected ComponentOne products for ease-of-use and fast integration into the application development cycle. The products specifically provide bound ActiveX controls for database interaction, as well as reports and presentation tools, plus they’re all very simple to use, and offer feature rich functionality. I have been able to automate the creation of 1,000’s of user accounts quickly, reliably and with a measurable consistency.
—Eugene Smith, Technical Services Department, School District 67
About School District 67 (Okanagan-Skaha)
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