The shift toward remote work has accelerated a much-needed evolution for educational institutions across the world. The latest digital tools make paperless document collaboration simpler than ever — and a growing number of educators are adopting these tools in their day-to-day workflows.
Over the past year, 25 percent of educators at both the K-12 and higher education levels have switched from “wet” paper signatures to e-signatures, while 32 percent are investing in digital student information systems, citing “easier access to information” as the main driving force behind this shift. In fact, a full 70 percent of education leaders agree that digital transformation is critical to their institutions’ long-term success.
How can your institution reap the full benefits of electronic document technology? Converting paper documents to paperless ones is only the first step in digital transformation — and the more you digitise paperless document processes, the more you’ll be able to leverage APIs and third-party app integrations to automate entire workflows from end to end — saving vast amounts of time, money and repetitive work for departments throughout your institution.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most powerful tools for remote document collaboration, and see how they can work together to create a truly digital education ecosystem.
Adobe Scan: Quickly convert paper documents to digital files
The first step of your institution’s digital transformation journey is to start going digital, by converting applicable paper documents to digital ones. Mobile apps like Adobe Scan help support this change from the classroom level up, by enabling teachers and administrators to convert paper forms and worksheets to multi-page PDF files. Scan runs on any iOS or Android device, such as an iPhone or a Samsung tablet, using the device’s onboard camera to turn paper into pixels — capturing high resolution photos of handwritten homework assignments, loan applications, contracts, and other documents.
Going paperless achieves much more than just saving time: for every 1,000 students who switch to digital documents, your school can save an average of 1,530 gallons of water, 533 pounds of wood, 534 kilowatt-hours of energy, 84 pounds of waste, and 1,287 pounds of carbon dioxide. That’s a major step toward sustainability — and toward setting a leading example for other schools.
Adobe Acrobat: Streamline real-time remote teamwork
The next step in going digital is to make your documents editable, fillable, and reusable, using Adobe Acrobat. Once you’ve converted your worksheet into a shareable, editable PDF using the Scan app, you can use Acrobat to make it digitally fillable, too. Acrobat’s Sensei AI technology senses where the document’s response fields are supposed to be, and automatically populates them with dynamic text boxes, drop-down fields, multi-selection menus, and more. You can also insert your own additional response fields with just a few clicks, and even add a “submit” button so students can email the form back to you directly within Acrobat. That means no more lost forms, smudged answers, or manual data entry — and a lot of saved time for you and your students.
Acrobat Sign: Easy way to collect electronic signatures
Now that you’ve taken the first steps toward going digital, the next stage of your transformation is to stay digital, by digitising the document processes you share with others. A great place to start is by plugging Adobe Acrobat Sign into your PDF forms, so you can collect digital signatures right within Acrobat. Sign handles the whole process of collecting and verifying qualified e-signatures (QES), which are validated by multiple third-party trust service providers (TSPs) — making them legally binding in most jurisdictions.
And Acrobat does much more than just streamline document signing. The app also tracks the status of each form you send out, so you can keep tabs on which ones still need to be signed, and ping signers for a response as needed. Once a respondent has electronically signed your PDF, Acrobat automatically performs multi-factor authentication to verify the signer’s identity — then returns the e-signed form to you (and/or any other staff members you specify) at the instant the signature is validated. By combining Acrobat and Acrobat Sign with a digital filing cabinet like Adobe Creative Cloud, you can create a full-featured contract lifecycle management (CLM) platform that automates whole departments’ signing processes in a single cloud-based location.
Integrate Acrobat with other collaboration solutions to automate paperless workflows
Beyond staying digital, your institution can take the ultimate step of truly being digital by integrating paperless documents and e-signatures into fully automated workflows.
Acrobat integrates seamlessly with Microsoft 365, Google Drive and other popular document collaboration tools, making it easy to collaborate on PDFs within your institution’s existing workflows. What’s more, by integrating your digital storage solution with Adobe Document Services and Microsoft Power Automate, you can automate batch document creation and data extraction — enabling you to send out forms, collect responses, pull data from each form field, and organise the resulting PDFs, all with just a few clicks.
Ready to take the next step on your school’s digital transformation journey? Let the qualified team at Dax Data help your institution provide students with the most efficient education experience possible.