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Moving StREAM to the Cloud: An AWS Journey

Stream logo

StREAM from Solutionpath is a learning analytics platform, and one of only four products on the market providing a dedicated software solution to universities.

Working with Solutionpath we’ve enabled StREAM to move from being an on-premise server application into the cloud. This will make it easier for universities to adopt and use StREAM, and improve how they engage with, and retain, their students.

Alarming student drop-out rates

Six in every 100 students drop out of university in the UK.

But this average figure conceals bigger percentages in some institutions, with some drop-out rates as high as 18%. Universities are worried that these rates will continue to rise; the significant costs attached to university study mean that students are more likely to drop out if they don’t get value for money or the support they need.

Solutionpath Fact File
Helping universities support students since 2013.
StREAM stands for Student Retention Engagement Attainment Monitoring.
Partnered with Nottingham Trent University, KPMG and UKAT.
Based in Leeds.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased these pressures, with most teaching delivered remotely to locked-down students who have had limited social contact, often in a new city or country.

These drop-out rates also have serious financial implications for universities: a drop in student numbers means a drop in revenue.

By using learning analytics universities can gain valuable knowledge about individual students’ engagement, allowing them to intervene and offer support where students need it most. If a university can see that a student has stopped attending lectures, accessing resources and even (in normal times) visiting university buildings, it’s clear they’re at increased risk of becoming disengaged and dropping out.

StREAM flags up those students who may be at-risk, allowing the university to offer them support so they can continue their studies effectively. The platform makes this process highly efficient, with its advanced but intuitive functionality.

But the company faced a new obstacle. Its original business model was based on installing the product on physical servers hosted at the universities, but universities are becoming increasingly cloud-focused.

Why Move to the Cloud?

Universities like the cloud. It eases their administrative burden and is much easier to maintain and update than a centralised, server-based IT infrastructure. Typically cloud-based services are pay-as-you-go models which makes it easier for universities to budget and control costs.

Therefore, more universities are now including a requirement that a solution be cloud hosted in their tendering criteria.

Benefits of Cloud-based Software
Infinitely Scalable
Robust
Truly Serverless
Pay-what-you-use Approach

With StREAM Solutionpath has the perfect solution for universities, but if universities take a cloud-first approach, StREAM would be automatically ruled out.

The solution for Solutionpath was obvious: migrate StREAM to the cloud. This led to them approaching Isotoma, following a recommendation from a mutual contact.

Adding Value to AWS migration

Solutionpath wanted to move StREAM to Amazon Web Services (AWS). As an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, this made us the perfect fit.

Isotoma’s AWS specialists work closely with clients to design the best solution for their specific needs. In this case we recommended re-platforming StREAM, allowing it to be optimised for cloud-based deployment, without requiring major changes to the software.

However, we didn’t just do the work; we also gave them dedicated support to take on and manage the new cloud-based infrastructure of their AWS platform.

This included:

  • Explaining how to manage it and navigate its functionality

  • Onboarding them thoroughly

  • Showing them how to get the best out of it.

Even experienced developer teams need support navigating the unfamiliar world of AWS, so this additional training and contact helps build their knowledge and confidence in the new system.

Going live… without any last minute hiccups

The StREAM re-platforming project began in May 2020. It went live at a leading Russell Group university in February 2021.

The one late challenge we encountered was the university’s requirement to use Shibboleth; an open-source, single sign-on solution for their systems. Luckily, with our extensive experience in working in higher education we were able to make adjustments confidently and quickly, with no delays to our delivery schedule.

Future-proofing

By migrating StREAM to AWS we’ve provided future-proofing for both Solutionpath and the universities they serve.

For Solutionpath, they now have a more versatile platform to offer their customers.

And for universities, they have an assured means of improving student engagement, using dedicated learning analytics.

To find out more about our cloud migration expertise, take a look at the work we did for point-of-sale marketing specialist Ecrebo or our project for NOW Music.

If you want to maximise your cloud-based capability by migrating to AWS, please contact us.

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