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PUCPR Buddy Program Plataform

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Introduction: The involvement of the local academic community in organized, institutional initiatives to welcome international students – often named Buddy Programs – is highly desirable and common in many universities throughout the world. The general goal is to connect international students with volunteers willing to facilitate the early stages of the adaptation to the new environment. At PUCPR, the Buddy Program has started as an initiative of local students who lived abroad and has been institutionalized since 2015. Today, PUCPR Buddies assist international students with a wide range of academic issues, from integration to the community to administrative and legal procedures. However, most of the procedures for enrollment and matching of PUCPR volunteers is still done manually.
Objective: To create a web-based, automated platform following the model of social networks, aiming to facilitate the enrolment of PUCPR volunteers and the matching of these volunteers with an international student.
Methods: The PUCPR Buddy Platform was built modularly using an Outsystem Development Platform that allows for organic future expansion, following a web format adapted to tablets, smartphones and computers, and applying market standards and good practices. The security mechanism uses Corporate Shared Authentication Service through the Microsoft Active Directory Platform, and the Authorization Service (post-authenticated user permissions) is managed by the Buddy Program Service itself, within the Outsystem Platform. The platform is not integrated with other corporate platforms and all services are supported by certificate of security SSL (Https - encrypted - icon of the padlock in internet browsers).
Results: The PUCPR Buddy Platform is currently operating in test mode. The platform is open to receive applications from local volunteer students, which must be validated by the International Mobility Office. The platform is also open to international students. Once a match is established, both individuals become able to see their mutual profiles and start communicating. Local students need to sign a term of participation and receive an orientation handbook.
Future perspectives: Upon consolidation of the Buddy Platform, the same model will be applied to the development of a web-based, fully automated application process for international students.

Author(s):

Valesca Walesko    
Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná - PUCPR
Brazil

Marcelo Távora Mira    
Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná - PUCPR
Brazil

 

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