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Overview

The REAL Portal is designed to help students discover, capture, and share their career-readiness competencies developed while at UC San Diego.
Melissa Campbell

Engaged Learning Tools Specialist, UCSD

Harrison Watts

IT Manager, UCSD

The Research Experience & Applied Learning (REAL) Portal provides a gateway for UCSD faculty to identify students qualified to assist with their research needs, and for students to locate research positions to support their studies. SoftServ created this Rails-based platform with multiple interactive enhancements to the design and UI over the years. We subsequently created a similar platform, the Undergraduate Research Portal, for UCLA.

Tags

Full Stack DevelopmentMonitoring & Maintenance

Requirements

Our Solution

In order to provide effective content for research opportunities, the platform needed to integrate with an external feed.

UCSD required the ability to populate the platform with research opportunities via integration with the Handshake external career service product, which automatically adds new opportunities to the app, capturing the data required to match with students. Additionally, administrators needed to have the ability to create an opportunity listing from scratch, which was achieved via a form on the Rails-side administrative dashboard.

Robust administrative functionality was required so the app could be tuned to meet the needs of students, faculty, and career services.

Utilizing a Rails backend allowed the implementation of a straightforward, user-friendly admin dashboard with versatile functionality. Admin-side abilities include creating custom opportunities outside of the automatic feed, the ability to create or update profiles, access to an archive of emails that faculty send to qualified students, and access to site usage metrics.

Design and UI enhancements were requested to create a better experience and more effectively connect students with opportunities.

SoftServ implemented a number of UI enhancements, like the ability to expand and collapse opportunity details to make better use of page space. We also implemented unique competency icons, using data from tagged skills to create a more visually engaging experience. We also created a profile checklist to ensure that students were including the best information to effectively connect them to research opportunities.

Results

We helped UCSD by creating an effective platform that connects students to research opportunities.

Integration with external APIs is key to providing data and functionality for most applications in today’s technical landscape. For REAL Portal, SoftServ built a seamless feed from the external Handshake API, allowing research opportunities to automatically appear.

SoftServ integrated the application with UCSD’s online career center infrastructure and implemented campus level login credentials. We have implemented CAS, Shibboleth, OpenAthens, and other SAML-based SSO for over a dozen institutions.

Over several years, UCSD engaged SoftServ to implement design and UI enhancements, including: options for filtering opportunities; a UI for expanding or collapsing opportunity details; and the integration of custom icons to represent research competencies.

UCSD wanted the ability for faculty to browse student profiles and engage qualified students. SoftServ integrated with UCSD email servers to provide an efficient user experience in allowing bulk email direct from the app to selected students.
API Integration
Single Sign On
Functional UI Enhancements
Integrated Email Messaging
Testimonials

Here's what people had to say about us.

Rachel Howard
Rachel Howard
Digital Initiatives Librarian, University of Louisville Libraries
We appreciate the time SoftServ took with us, as well as their team’s expertise, guidance, and persistence. They made it possible for us to include multi-page documents, provide friendly URLs for items and collections, and limit the size of allowable downloads in our Hyku application.
Jill Morris & Kirsten Leonard
Jill Morris & Kirsten Leonard
Executive Directors, PALNI / PALCI
SoftServ has been key in helping us accomplish the ambitious goals of our grant-funded efforts to build a cost-effective multi-tenant Hyku repository to suit the needs of many diverse institutions. Their expertise, commitment to education and open source values, and contributions to the greater Hyku and Samvera community has been highly valued by our team and is what sets SoftServ apart.
Andreas Kostopoulos
Andreas Kostopoulos
Archives Manager, American Research Center in Egypt
Thank you for all the great work you are doing at SoftServ! So pleased and proud to have worked with your team on developing our digital archives.
Rachel Howard
Rachel Howard
Digital Initiatives Librarian, University of Louisville Libraries
We appreciate the time SoftServ took with us, as well as their team’s expertise, guidance, and persistence. They made it possible for us to include multi-page documents, provide friendly URLs for items and collections, and limit the size of allowable downloads in our Hyku application.
Jill Morris & Kirsten Leonard
Jill Morris & Kirsten Leonard
Executive Directors, PALNI / PALCI
SoftServ has been key in helping us accomplish the ambitious goals of our grant-funded efforts to build a cost-effective multi-tenant Hyku repository to suit the needs of many diverse institutions. Their expertise, commitment to education and open source values, and contributions to the greater Hyku and Samvera community has been highly valued by our team and is what sets SoftServ apart.
Andreas Kostopoulos
Andreas Kostopoulos
Archives Manager, American Research Center in Egypt
Thank you for all the great work you are doing at SoftServ! So pleased and proud to have worked with your team on developing our digital archives.
Rachel Howard
Rachel Howard
Digital Initiatives Librarian, University of Louisville Libraries
We appreciate the time SoftServ took with us, as well as their team’s expertise, guidance, and persistence. They made it possible for us to include multi-page documents, provide friendly URLs for items and collections, and limit the size of allowable downloads in our Hyku application.
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