eSignatures In Education – Overview
Educational institutions are notorious for their reliance on paper-based documentation and the amount of paperwork they generate.
According to research, an average school generates up to 2800 sheets of paper daily per student. This means that over a year, a small university with 10,000 students will spend nearly USD 200,000 on just paper.
However, unmanageable costs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to paper-based documentation – institutions that employ paper-based methods spend 5-10 hours on simple contracting tasks, are more likely to lose or misplace documents, and are much less productive than organizations who have successfully digitized their documentation.
Therefore, schools and universities need a quick & easy solution to go paper-free and automate these problems away.
Online electronic signatures are one of the most effective and convenient ways for educational institutions to reduce their dependence on paper and provide students with a hassle-free digital experience.
Before learning about how eSignatures can help organizations digitize, let’s first examine the problems of paper-based documentation in educational institutions.
Paper Documents & Wet Signatures – What Schools Get Wrong
Documentation in the education sector can be broadly categorized into the following –
- Academic – course design, lecture notes & presentations, assignments, test & answer papers, lab records
- Administrative – Campus management documents, human resources documents, application & admission, accounting & finance
- Research – Books, journals, academic papers, project resources
- Student information – Course documents, attendance, grades, certificates, assignments
Educational institutions rely on paper for documentation in all these categories, resulting in a variety of issues and pain points in organizational functioning.
Here’s how a typical organization will perform an administrative task involving sending out a student form.
While the process described previously involves just administrative documents, the same pain points carry through to all categories of documentation.
Here are the problems that educational universities relying on paper face –
Overspending on resources
As mentioned above, paper-based documentation involves massive unnecessary expenses for paper, stationery, storage, & couriers. According to SignDesk’s estimates, organizations overspend by nearly 60-85% on paper-based documents.
Low productivity & long wait times
Manual documentation takes 99% less time than digital methods. The former involves manually drafting documents, sending them to signers, getting them back & storing them. This entire cycle takes 5-10 hours for the average organization to complete.
This long turnaround time stalls other processes and results in a massive loss of productivity to the tune of 70-80%. Students & faculty are often directly affected by these delays, which result in both frustration & incomplete tasks.
Lost information & inaccurate storage
Information stored in paper form in filing cabinets are more likely to be lost or misplaced. Additionally, given the sensitive nature of the stored student information, the risk of theft is also high, and the consequences of document loss are dire.
No version control or tracking
Paper documents are difficult to track, resulting in even longer waiting times. Further, without any means to control the versions of documents, there are liable to be several copies of the same document that differ in degrees from each other. This hinders coordination within the organization and often results in errors and unfinished tasks.
Large carbon footprint
With non-sustainable practices being steadily phased out, it’s now the turn of paper. Organizations worldwide are becoming increasingly conscious of their environmental impact, and educational institutions need to follow suit. By reducing their reliance on paper, institutions can ensure a much lower carbon footprint and function more sustainably.
By leveraging digital documentation methods such as online electronic signatures, educational institutions can solve the aforementioned problems in a cost-effective & efficient manner.
But how can schools & universities get around to leveraging digital solutions? Here’s where the Edtech sector comes in.
How Edtech Can Help Schools Automate
The educational technology (Edtech) sector has made considerable strides in recent years by helping the education sector modernize its methods & reach more students.
The solutions offered by businesses in Edtech have revolutionized classroom lectures, lecture delivery, course materials & modes of conceptual understanding.
However, Edtech has a more prominent role in helping educational institutions revamp structurally.
Manual & paper-based documentation is a massive issue for educators and students due to high expenses, long wait times & non-productivity, and results in several needs of students and the institutions themselves being left unmet.
Edtech companies are in the perfect position to help educators alleviate these problems.
By integrating with document automation service providers and offering online eSignatures, Edtech businesses can help schools & colleges automate their paper-based documentation systems and provide students with a digital documentation experience.
Online electronic signatures can also streamline the functions of administrators and help staff get more done quickly.
Here’s what Edtech businesses can offer to schools and universities.
By doing so, these businesses can help educational institutions automate and go paper-free.
Next, let’s get into the weeds and examine how an online electronic signature solution works and what it can do for a university.
Online Electronic Signatures – What They Are & How They Work
Electronic signatures are simply the digital equivalent of physical wet signatures placed on documents to indicate consent and acceptance.
Despite their simplicity, eSignatures have had a massive impact on every organization that’s decided to leverage them. According to studies, eSignatures can reduce turnaround times on document cycles from 10 hours to within 5-10 minutes, reduce processing errors by up to 90%, and make audit cycles 60% more efficient.
The more advanced an online digital signature solution is, the more it can do for an organization. With features including multiparty & multi-location signing, online approvals, templates for document creation, user access roles & a dashboard for profiles, SignDesk’s online electronic signature solution is robust and multi-functional.
Here’s how our eSign solution works –
- An admin logs into SignDesk
- Custom templates are used to draft multiple copies of documents
- These documents are sent to other members for online approval
- The documents are then sent to the concerned student
- The student eSigns the document instantly
- Other stakeholders are informed about this & subsequently, also eSign the document
- The signed document copy is sent to everyone for download
- The signed document is stored on an intelligent dashboard for easy retrieval
SignDesk’s online eSignature solution is currently leveraged by 350+ businesses and has helped these businesses reduce expenses by 60-85% and turnaround times by nearly 99%.
In the context of academic documents, here’s what our eSign solution will look like in practice.
This upgraded documentation workflow removes the need to painstakingly draft every document separately and significantly lowers the time taken to perform vital administrative functions.
However, these aren’t the only benefits of leveraging an online electronic signature solution.
Benefits – Why Educational Institutions Need eSignatures
Educational institutions that employ digital methods of documentation, including templates & digital signatures, stand to benefit greatly from these solutions.
Here are the advantages of leveraging eSignatures in educational institutions.
Cost and time savings
The cost and time savings of switching to digital methods are well documented. According to research, the Chicago School of Professional Psychology cut down on document processing time by 60% after switching to online modes of admission.
The University of Central Missouri also saw huge improvements in internal efficiency after switching to online modes of communication & documentation.
According to SignDesk’s own research, eSignatures improve productivity by up to 70% and reduce errors by nearly 90%. Time saved is also of a similar magnitude, with overall process completion times improving by nearly 99%.
Improved organizational capabilities
Moving to digital documentation methods such as electronic signatures enables transparent organization. Document approval is completed online and a virtual audit trail ensures that all stakeholders are kept in the loop.
Centralized document storage on a smart dashboard additionally ensures that all documents are easily available.
Clear communication & easier collaboration
Online electronic signature solutions enable digital communication for documentation purposes such as document drafting & approval. Stakeholders can clearly view any changes to documents in real-time; additionally, version tracking ensures uniformity across the organization.
Online eSignatures are nearly 99% faster than wet signatures. eSign solutions enable signatures to be collected within 5-10 minutes as signers can eSign documents remotely.
By leveraging eSignature solutions, universities can ensure that students aren’t distracted or weighed down by the responsibilities of documentation, enabling better learning.
Online electronic signature solutions are the answer to wasteful and inefficient methods of documentation and need to be extensively leveraged by educational institutions to reduce expenses, go paper-free and offer their students a completely digital experience.
Award-winning Online Electronic Signatures
SignDesk is a leading document automation solutions provider, assisting businesses and enterprises across various industries in developing a smooth workflow process. Our eSign workflow solution enables educational institutions to manage & eSign documents efficiently on a single system.
Our online eSign solution offers electronic, digital & Aadhaar-based electronic signatures. Our custom templates enable the creation of legally valid documents. Other features include multi-party & multi-location signing, virtual audit trail, real-time notifications & reminders, web & android support, and more.
Our product has enabled 350+ enterprise clients to reduce turnaround times on contracting & documentation costs, boost productivity by 50-60%, and streamline their documentation process.
Are you ready to automate your organization’s documents and digitize your workflow process? Book a demo to find out how!