When Crimsonwing was appointed back in 2003 to develop an online system for Malta’s College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) part time course registration and administration, the system was also supposed to form part of the Maltese eGovernment portal. This platform was built using the Microsoft .NET Framework.
The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) is a major educational institution in Malta. MCAST provides vocational and professional education and training responsive to the needs of the economy. At the time when the project was commissioned, it offered around sixty full time courses to thousands of students and a number of part time courses to an estimated 1200 students.
background & requirements
MCAST recognised the need to move from a manual system of course registration to an automated system, which combined administration processes and enabled them to handle all course schedules, fees, payments, lecturers and various logistical matters more effectively. It was also necessary for the system to form part of the Maltese eGovernment framework and was proposed and financed by the Ministry for IT and investment.
As a result of the requirements analysis, Crimsonwing decided to create two separate sites for MCAST: a “public site” and an “administration site”.
From the public site, users can easily navigate through the various functions which are available, including browsing through the schedule of courses and once a course has been selected all bookings and payments can be made online. The “administration site” provides MCAST staff with facilities for maintaining details related to the various institutes, courses, schedules, lecturers, fee waivers and users. MCAST staff can hence stipulate and define the institutes, lecturers, courses and schedules that are on offer.
Crimsonwing worked hand in hand with the various stakeholders involved in the project so as to ensure that all requirements, standards and constraints were addressed. The Crimsonwing development team used the Microsoft .NET platform. The .NET Enterprise Servers, including the Windows 2000 server family, make up Microsoft .NET’s server infrastructure for deploying, managing and orchestrating XML Web services.
A number of benefits have been identified but the predominant and most obvious one is that the system greatly facilitates their staff’s operations as well as providing more functionality and ease of use to the students.
By introducing the new system, the college increased the number of channels available to students to register for courses. Furthermore, MCAST is now able to handle the increased information flow and larger amounts of data and functions. This in turn leads to a more relevant analysis of their operations and performance. The reporting facilities have become much more effective – ad hoc reporting has become more straightforward, where users with specific access can download data to Microsoft Excel or to third party applications such as Microsoft Access.
MCAST Part Time Course Manager commented: “Crimsonwing delivered an excellent service thanks to a combination of professional teamwork and good communication. We got exactly what we wanted and have successfully reached our goal especially since the end result was different to the original proposal.”