AFMC Student Portal
The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) represents Canada’s 17 faculties of medicine and is the official voice of academic medicine in this country. The organization is comprised of several committees and groups dedicated to providing guidance on continuing, postgraduate, and undergraduate medical education. The AFMC provides national engagement on a variety of issues relating to diversity in Canadian medical schools, global health, professionalism and student affairs.
As the representative of Canada’s 17 faculties of medicine, which collectively graduate over 2,650 MDs and enroll over 11,500 undergraduate medical students annually, the AFMC required an online tool that would successfully provide a fully bilingual, one-stop-shop for Canadian and international students applying for visiting electives at all faculties of medicine across the country.
As the Portal would support the uploading, storage and maintenance of highly sensitive user data, such as credit card information and personal identification data, the adherence to strict data security protocols would be a key facet of the application architecture and development. The Portal would have to be fully secure and protected against any potential security breach, with all possible threats successfully identified and rigorously mitigated.
A number of diverse user groups, comprised of approximately 6,000 Canadian and international undergraduate medical students within a one-year period, as well as 20 to 30 institutions represented by school administrators, would require regular access to the Portal as registered users with customizable profiles and the ability to view and interact with the Portal in their language of choice (English or French). In addition to registered users, the Portal would also support public, non-registered users in their search for information on Canadian medical schools and visiting elective opportunities.
The overall goals of the Portal focused on streamlining the elective process for students, as well as providing a searchable database for all visiting elective programs offered in Canada. Other functional requirements would include the ability to process payments for program registration, with required full compliance with Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standards, as well as the ability to create dynamic, user-generated reports on a variety of data criteria.
Wired Solutions responded to the challenge by developing 4 distinct modules to serve as the core of the Portal. Each module responded to the specific needs of the Portal’s main user groups: Students both Canadian and International, Institution Administrators, AFMC Global Administrators, the general public, etc. This approach ensured that the objectives of each stakeholder were met, while also creating a cohesive, yet multi-faceted hub. The core custom modules comprised of:
- The Visiting Electives Guide: A searchable database of all visiting electives offered in Canada.
- The Registrant Account Module: A secure application that allows students to register for electives, process application payments, and stay informed about their application status.
- The Placement and Confirmation Module: A module fully managed by administrators at each faculties of medicine, as a tool for allowing students to apply for electives, process transactions, correspond with applicants and successfully process student placements within various electives. This module also facilitates the ability to manage Institution Profiles with information supporting the student decision-making process; and
- The Admin Module: A module designed to support Global Admin, by facilitating key business workflows such as managing Portal user accounts, managing system email correspondences, generating customized user and system reports, and more.
We ensured access to each module was effectively controlled through custom extensions on the platform’s authentication and authorization frameworks.With our custom roles-based security framework, areas of the Portal remain locked down with access granted according to a user’s Security Role.
Customize AFMC Data Exchange APIs were developed in order to successfully create the platform’s robust, searchable database of elective opportunities and institutional profiles. Through the Visiting Electives Guide, end users can now conduct intuitive keyword searches for elective opportunities and institutions that fulfill their undergraduate medical school needs.
In support of bilingual functionality requirements, Wired Solutions utilized our proprietary Multilingual Engine to dynamically drive language preferences throughout the Portal. With this custom engine, end users are able to select their language preference (English or French) from within their personal profile. When a user changes and/or sets their language preference, the interface automatically refreshes to to display all content in the appropriate language. All on-page content, including navigation menus, data forms and fields, drop down menus, buttons, reports, etc. are changed dynamically in order to reflect the user’s preferences throughout the system. All web pages that do not require the end user to be logged in, display content in both English and French.
Our agile and collaborative approach to development and project management ensured that we worked directly with each Faculty of Medicine in Canada, as well as project managers within the AFMC.
The following technologies and development frameworks were selected in order to support the size and scope of the AFMC Student Portal, as well as allowing for the system to scale, providing long term sustainability and viability:
- ASP.NET MVC
- Microsoft SQL Server
- HTML5 & CSS