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Course Organization for Adult Education Center with Stackfield

6 min read

Highlights

  • Tasks relating to course organization, lecturer assignment, and room management are mapped transparently for the entire team
  • Dates for team events are set via polls and saved in the Stackfield calendar
  • Documents and whiteboards can be created and displayed together as a team in Stackfield
  • The availability of all employees is visible at all times via user-defined statuses

About the Adult Education Center of Schwäbisch Hall

The Adult Education Center (German: VHS, short for Volkshochschule) of Schwäbisch Hall is a non-profit educational institution in the northeast of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. With a program of approximately 1000 events, courses, workshops, and lectures per semester and a lecturer pool of around 400 lecturers, the Adult Education Center presents a broad offer of educational and continuing education programs for interested adults. Stephanie Lander works in information and registration of the Adult Education Center of Schwäbisch Hall and has been effectively utilizing Stackfield together with her colleagues in course organization, employee management and other organization-intensive areas for almost a year.

The initial situation: no transparency and an abundance of different tools

Initially, work at the Adult Education Center of Schwäbisch Hall was decentralized and carried out in various tools. Tasks such as course cancellations or website maintenance were communicated via Outlook and personal appointments were managed in Outlook calendars. The whiteboard collaboration tool Conceptboard was used for joint brainstorming or other creative work. Tasks for the Federal Volunteer Service were managed in Google calendars and documents were edited in Google Docs. The problem? There was no interface between different platforms, no shared view that everyone in the team could access, no 'real' task management. Information was lost and processes were intransparent, complex and lengthy. There was no way to process orders spontaneously and map tasks transparently, Stephanie Lander recalls. One thing was clear: to finally get an overview of tasks, deadlines and documents, the various programs had to be combined into one tool. The all-in-one dream was to create a shared, digital workplace for the entire team.

Stackfield as data protection and price-performance winner

In the search for a suitable collaboration tool, specific data protection regulations were initially relevant due to the processing of personal data. This quickly led to Stackfield. The tool asserts itself here with its Munich-based headquarters, several ISO certifications and GDPR compliance.

In terms of functionality, Stackfield impressed during a short test phase. The strengths of the individual tools, which were previously used separately at the Adult Education Center of Schwäbisch Hall, were brought together on a single platform and supplemented with additional valuable functionalities:

  • Communication through different Stackfield chats and rooms replaced Outlook
  • Task management via the Kanban principle, as a list, or in a Gantt diagram
  • Joint team calendar including an Outlook interface for team-relevant events
  • Stackfield's pages and whiteboards instead of Conceptboard and Google Docs for collaboration in documents and boards
  • Extensive project management including controlling in Stackfield's project rooms
  • Video conferences including screen sharing
  • Various possibilities for central document and file storage

On top of this came Stackfield's non-profit discount of 30 %, for which the Adult Education Center of Schwäbisch Hall qualified as an educational institution. Stackfield thus distinguished itself in terms of data security, range of functions and price-performance ratio.

First steps on Stackfield: without problems thanks to user-friendly interface

In June 2023, the Adult Education Center of Schwäbisch Hall finally introduced Stackfield. With the help of training courses and small trial tasks for employees, they were trained to use Stackfield correctly. Additionally, Stackfield's user-friendly interface made the first steps easier. “The initial familiarization phase went really well. I had no problems getting used to Stackfield,” praises Stephanie Lander.

Transparent task management with Stackfield

Before Stackfield, tasks at the Adult Education Center of Schwäbisch Hall were primarily communicated via email or in person. Responsibilities were noted down privately and individual tasks were completed independently. However, without a transparent task overview for the entire team, tasks can quickly be overlooked and the current status remains unclear, which can easily lead to bottlenecks and misunderstandings.

With Stackfield, the Adult Education Center was able to solve several problems in one fell swoop. Each application area, such as course organization or information and registration, has its own space including task management functionality. The tasks are provided with relevant information via specific fields in the task card and assigned to the individual team members. Labels are used to additionally divide the tasks into categories so that they can be categorized at a glance in the overview. The tasks can be displayed as a list or in a Kanban board and, if required, also in a Gantt chart. “This type of task management and the associated collaborative work is simply impressive,” praises Stephanie Lander.

Especially in information and registration, tasks often have to be processed as quickly as possible. For example, if a lecturer is absent, the course participants must be notified by the information and registration team. In this case, a prioritized task is created. A label marks the task as “short-term” and with a due date and an assignment to the person responsible, the task appears directly in their My Week dashboard. This makes things easier for Stephanie Lander as it guarantees that someone will deal with the task.

„The assignment of tasks creates responsibility. This means that tasks are carried out much more reliably.“

Shared team calendar and Outlook interface

Whether for content planning on social media, as a vacation calendar or, quite classically, for planning internal and external team events: The Stackfield calendar is used in a variety of ways in the Adult Education Center of Schwäbisch Hall and creates documentation about upcoming events that was not available before. Anyone who wants to continue using their external calendar, e.g., in Outlook, can do so without any problems. Every calendar in Stackfield can be subscribed to with just a few clicks and the corresponding meetings can be displayed in the user's own calendar.

Not only events, but the entire organization of meetings, events and conferences takes place in Stackfield. The agendas of the individual team meetings can be compiled in the Stackfield module Pages and appointments are made via Stackfield polls in the module Discussions. Stephanie Lander praises the numerous communication channels that are available in addition to the discussions in the room: the communication stream including all activities in the room, a comment section for each entry and, of course, telephony via which video conferences can take place directly in Stackfield – a clear plus. “To avoid lengthy explanations, we often use screen sharing here, which saves time,” says Stephanie Lander.

Creating documents and whiteboards as a team

Google Docs was previously used at the Adult Education Center to create documents together, while the team whiteboard collaboration tool Conceptboard was used for shared pinboards. The fact that Stackfield was able to replace both tools was a relief for the educational institution. Today, documents can be created in Stackfield's module Pages, while the module Whiteboards is available for pinboards. Whether page or whiteboard, a version history shows when the item was edited and by whom. If necessary, a click on a simple button can be used to return to an older version. A comment section provides additional document-related exchange options, a status (On hold, In progress, For approval or Final) provides information on the current status and the page or whiteboard itself can be archived, favorited and forwarded.

Checking team availability thanks to Stackfield's statuses

Before Stackfield, it was often difficult to see whether colleagues were at work or available or not, because working hours varied and meetings took place regularly. With Stackfield, the Adult Education Center's information and registration can now provide information at any time about who is currently available and who is not.

A glance at the profile picture is enough. A small colored circle shows the current status: green for present, red for busy and grey for absent. If required, employees can also use Stackfield's status messages “Home Office” and “Meeting” to provide more detailed information about their own availability. This form of transparency has made things a lot easier for Stephanie Lander and her team colleagues.

“Stackfield's intuitive and logical usability has made a lasting improvement to our working lives.”

Stackfield's support as back-up

With Stackfield, the Adult Education Center of Schwäbisch Hall was able to successfully combine various tools into one without any data protection concerns. The minimalist user interface makes Stackfield easy to understand for all employees and, should any questions arise, support can be contacted with just a few clicks via private message in Stackfield. “The support responds to messages immediately and is always very friendly,” Stephanie Lander concludes.

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Cristian Mudure
About the Author:
Cristian Mudure is the Founder and CEO of Stackfield. He loves digital business models and spends his spare time on the tennis court.
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