About St. Mary MacKillop College
St Mary MacKillop College is a Catholic co-educational school for students in Years 7 to 12 of the Australian school system (from approximately 12 to 18 years of age). Split into junior and senior campuses five kilometers apart, the College is the largest in Canberra, with more than 1,750 students and 170 staff.
With its focus on giving the best possible preparation to its students—whether they choose to move into tertiary education, technical apprenticeships or employment—the College must ensure that it moves with the times. In an increasingly connected and mobile world, the ability to share information and collaborate on projects is paramount.
While students and staff were able to access their own files securely from outside the school firewall, the existing solution did not support mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, and did not allow users to share files with each other.
To save time and effort, and to better prepare its students for the “social” economy, St Mary MacKillop College needed a secure file-sharing solution that would enable groups of users to discuss and comment on files. With the use of mobile devices growing rapidly, particularly among the older age groups, multi-platform support was one of the key criteria.
The College chose Filr, a file access and sharing solution that provides a single convenient location for each authorized user to view and share files. The solution’s smart search capabilities make it quick and easy to find documents, and strong integrated access controls ensure high security. Access rights to files can be timed or left to expire automatically, and users can choose different levels of file access—from read-only to full-editing rights. Files remain on the College’s file servers, but can also be securely downloaded to mobile devices for offline access.
“Filr was available within our existing Open Enterprise Server licensing agreement, and it met our requirements perfectly,” said Brett Seivers, Network Manager at St Mary MacKillop College. “We have a general preference for Novell (now a part of Micro Focus) technologies, both for their advantageous pricing and their openness, and Filr was an excellent fit with the rest of our infrastructure.”
The College was able to deploy Filr with no external assistance; the solution automatically picks up existing folder permissions from NetIQ eDirectory, and allows further tweaking of folder access rights. In doing so, it breaks down the barriers to collaboration, without compromising on security.
Students and staff alike were quick to make use of the new solution, largely via the web interface and free apps for Android and iOS. Users can easily access all of their own files, and can now also share selected documents or folders with other users or groups. Users can make comments on and have discussions about shared files, and everything takes place in the same intuitive interface.
“Filr enables students to work on shared assignments in a much more convenient and organized way,” said Seivers. “Rather than having to crowd round the same physical machine, or emailing documents to each other and later consolidating all the feedback, they can quickly pool their ideas and discuss projects wherever they are.”
Filr helps students at St Mary MacKillop College work together on projects, learn from each other and maximize their potential.
“Students are rapidly adopting Filr as they realize the benefits it offers in terms of speed and convenience,” said Seivers. “They can now seamlessly and securely share their files with users on practically any platform, which helps with our plans for BYOD [Bring Your Own Device].”
The solution makes it easier for teaching and administrative staff to share and comment on documents, saving effort and freeing up time for greater productivity. A typical example is sharing the minutes of staff meetings, which used to generate large numbers of ‘Reply All’ emails, wasting time and effort. With Filr, staff have a convenient forum to discuss and resolve issues quickly.
“Filr is the latest in a long line of flexible and reliable solutions that are helping us minimize administrative time and cost, and maximize the time people can spend teaching and learning,” said Seivers. “As we continue to develop our information technology resources, our solution helps us to maintain our standing as a progressive institution that gives students an excellent preparation for the future.”