United Cerebral Palsy (UCP of Chicago) (http://www.ucpnet.org/) is a not-for-profit in the Chicagoland area that operates a very special program called Infinitec, meaning Infinite Potential through technology. It has been one of the most innovative and rewarding clients for TSG for the past 3 years. This post will discuss our experience with UCP and Enterprise Content Management.
TSG was first introduced to UCP when our founder attended a UCP golf outing coordinated by a long-term friend and UCP board member, whose son was born with Cerebral Palsy. Impressed with the mission of UCP, TSG decided to hold a TSG charity boat cruise along the Chicago skyline to benefit UCP. The boat cruise raised $5,000 for UCP and led to additional discussions about how TSG could add even more value to the charity.
We approached Paul Dulle, President & CEO at UCP to inquire about deeper involvement on our part. Paul asked what TSG did and we explained our IT background. Paul then told us about the Infinitec program, which is operated by UCP, and which provides technology support to children and adults with disabilities. He encouraged TSG to take the next step and get involved helping UCP/Infinitec recreate its website to serve a broader client base nationwide.
This unique opportunity provided TSG the opportunity to add value, not just by raising money, but by doing what we typically are paid by clients to do, Enterprise Content Management. Our involvement with UCP has enabled TSG to leverage our skills and those of our technology partners to benefit those with disabilities. In short, we wanted to donate our time and effort pro bono to moving this powerful Infinitec mission. This partnership has worked well as TSG has donated time and effort between engagements, when consultants are available to donate their skills to the project .
Our first application for UCP’s Infinitec program was with InfiniTEXT. What does InfiniTEXT do? InfiniTEXT provides classroom textbooks and novels as digital text for students with print challenges/disabilities. For example, children with cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities often have a difficult time with their vision and/or lack the physical strength and motor dexterity required to lift a book and turn pages. That said, many of these students can become proficient with computer viewing technology and can either read books online or have books read to them via personal computers. Unfortunately, the text books or novels available to the students in their schools were useless to them unless they could be adapted to be digitally accessible. So, teachers were forced to scan the books in a variety of formats for use by the children.
InfiniTEXT is a repository of shared digitally accessible materials containing books already scanned by other teachers in districts across several states. Teachers simply do a keyword search for a text book or novel in the format her student requires, thereby avoiding the arduous task of scanning the needed materials. Note: access to a previously scanned version of a copyrighted material is only permitted if the student’s district has already purchased a physical copy of the book or textbook for the student requiring the digital material and the student has a documented print disability.
The InfiniTEXT solution was initially constructed using EMC Documentum but is now running on Alfresco and is hosted in the Amazon Cloud.
Currently, the InfiniTEXT repository has over 11,000 files representing a variety of books and chapters. Last quarter these files were accessed over 1,500 times saving teachers time and effort, but most importantly providing students with disabilities access to materials critical to their success in the classroom.
Infinitec next steps
Our next major project will be released shortly. It focuses on core infrastructure for educational teaching. Targeted at professional development for educators, the application will provide viewing of instructional videos to enhance teaching to students with disabilities as well as provide the demonstration of competency following video viewing in the form of certification exams.
The solution will include additional Web Content Management with Alfresco and delivery via a LifeRay portal. The “best of breed” solution offers UCP the ability to quickly offer new services to their users including instructional videos.
To date, TSG has donated almost 2000 consultant hours to UCP. While the results of helping UCP and Infinitec fulfill their mission through our technology are obvious, it has truly been a win-win partnership. UCP’s work has proceeded at the pace of our staff when available, and TSG has benefited immensely by gaining a deeper understanding of ECM in real world solutions, while giving back to those in need.