How the Portuguese Government is providing educational accessibility using the Open edX technology

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The Foundation for Science and Technology (FTC)  is the central Portuguese governmental institution responsible for evaluating and funding scientific research activities, particularly in the areas of natural, exact and social sciences and humanities. The FTC was founded in 1997, and was preceded by the Junta Nacional de Investigação Científica e Tecnológica (JNICT).

As a governmental institution committed to promote the spread of knowledge in different social matters, the FTC came up with an online educational initiative that aimed to offer a wide variety of online courses based on social science subjects. One of the main challenges for this particular project was the creation of a multi-tenant platform installation with a unique infrastructure, in which multiple custom developments were required to perform specific functionalities.

To support this particular initiative, The FTC team relied on eduNEXT´s trajectory and expertise in Open edX projects, to build and launch NAU, an online learning platform that promotes the offer of massive online courses as an educational alternative for Portuguese citizens. The first stage of this project was mainly covered by the installation of an Open edX multisite platform that involved complementary services offered by eduNEXT such as, Open edX Insights and the Course Discovery Service.

During the second stage, requirements were based on multiple custom development for the elaboration of additional features that include; allowing users to log in with their portuguese ID barcode, a SMS gateway integration, that provided platforms’ instructor and administrators access to send notifications and text message to users’ mobile phones, as well as an integration with the payment processor SIBS to offer an additional payment alternative, among others

eduNEX’s contribution to NAU supported the Portuguese government’s initiative to promote the spread of knowledge by providing educational tools for a wide variety of audiences. This  effort has represented an increase of qualified professionals among Portuguese citizens, specifically those that had limited access to education. 

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