TEDI-London deploys innovative student records system

TEDI-London is a new higher education provider for future engineers, founded by Arizona State University, King’s College London and UNSW Sydney. Their innovative approach to education aims to empower students from diverse backgrounds to become independent curious learners with a global, future-focused outlook.

The Challenge

As TEDI-London edges closer to their opening date in September 2021, they needed to secure a student record system to enable them to start accepting students. With no legacy infrastructure, TEDI-London had the freedom to build a highly intuitive, future-proofed system that could scale and adapt as the organisation grows. With this in mind, TEDI-London had an ambitious plan to build a system that could provide a holistic view of each student throughout the full student lifecycle, encompassing everything from initial inquiries, through to application, admission, enrolment and support through the whole curriculum.

The Solution - Phase 1: Admissions

Having determined that off-the-shelf products were over-engineered and potentially a more expensive route, TEDI-London turned to ANS to leverage Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE and Microsoft’s Higher Education Accelerator to build a bespoke solution.

The Microsoft Higher Education Accelerator is a pre-built framework designed to enable HE intuitions to get up and running faster, improve student and faculty engagement and enhance institutional effectiveness. The data model enables organisations to create a holistic student profile, automate attendance, track student behaviours and apply a skills-based learning framework based on learning experiences and assessments.

David: “We really set out on this project as a test case to discover what was possible with the Microsoft higher education Accelerator. No organisations had ever built any significant functionality using that Accelerator until we embarked on this project and there was a lot of interest around whether it could actually be done.”

As part of ANS’ delivery methodology, TEDI-London composed a core team of business subject matter experts and CRM administrators to work directly with ANS to model and design the system. The core team attended workshops and weekly iteration meetings, enabling them to participate in configuration work, contributing to the overall design and build of the solution.

David: “Adopting this approach to the build and delivery of the project has encouraged business stakeholders to really think about how they want to work and how they want their processes to operate. Involving the team in the build has enabled us to create a solution that is really easy for them to use. Not only that but the team are now already competent and capable of using it, since they’ve helped design it.”

Helen: “I’ve never been involved in an IT project of any description and so to be able to have some input and control over the way that is laid out is really important. The team were very sympathetic to the fact I wasn’t technical and ANS talked through the project in a way that I, and my non-technical colleagues, could really understand. Ultimately, involving us in the project in this way has helped to improve engagement and buy-in across the whole organisation.”

The first phase was broken down into 5 focus areas:

  • Admissions
  • Enrolment
  • Finance
  • Curriculum management
  • The long term vision

Within 8 weeks of starting the project, TEDI-London were able to get the admission functionality live, giving them ability to run their admissions cycle through the system, while continuing to improve the functionality of other parts of the process.

The Learning Tree Application

ANS also worked with TEDI-London to build a learning tree application as part of their bespoke virtual learning environment in Microsoft Dynamics 365.

The learning tree is a web application that will be used to manage and surface learning content for students, giving them the ability to engage with the content at their own pace through recommended pathways based on the data and the experiences the individual student has had  within the application.

The Learning Tree web application is surfaced through Teams but is also accessible as a standalone application.

David: “We wanted to create an engaging, intuitive platform that would feel familiar to students. Rather than having a traditional library and lectures, we’ve now got a way of getting bite-sized chunks of information to students allowing them to gain an understanding in a particular topic area before moving on.

“We believe this is a great ecosystem for learning because it allows students to learn at their own pace. In the future, we plan to build AI into the application so that students will receive bespoke journeys depending on their needs and how they are progressing with their pathway. Expanding this capability will be key for enabling us to create personalised learning and support for students as they progress.”

The TEDI-London Power App on mobile

The Solution - Phase 2

ANS is now working with TEDI-London on a series of Power Apps which will act as the interface for students and academics to connect directly into Dynamics.

Students will be able to access their timetable, find out when assignments are due, view grades and get up-to-date course information through a collection of Power Apps wrapped up in a ‘super app’ giving them a single point of access to that data.

Academics will also be able to monitor and record attendance which will be fed back to various 3rd party agencies such as the Student Loan Company. International student attendance will also be shared with the Home Office as part of their Visa requirements.

The Outcomes

As a result of building and deploying their new student record system, TEDI-London are now in a position to accept student applications in anticipation of opening their doors in September 2021.

TEDI-London’s core team were also very driven to build their own internal centre of excellence around the Microsoft Power Platform. To help them achieve this, ANS’ technical team worked hard to upskill and train TEDI-London’s internal IT team and wider organisation so that they could provide the agility in the solutions that their business users required, while gaining the confidence in being able to make changes in the solution themselves.

As well as having the skills and confidence to evolve the solution themselves, TEDI-London have also been able to:

Streamline student recruitment

Student recruitment is currently TEDI-London’s top priority and they now have a simple and intuitive system to manage applications and support students through the whole curriculum. 100% of direct applications and those coming from UCAS are now being processed through the system, giving the TEDI-London team a clear breakdown of the number of applications and their status in the system.

Manage direct applications

One of TEDI-London’s key drivers is to help non-traditional students  get them into engineering. It was important to build an application process that removed the UCAS barrier and could capture a broad range of information from people with  diverse backgrounds who often don’t fit into tick boxes. Building the system in this way enabled TEDI-London to create a very personalised application process.

Identify & respond to trends in data

As students move through their higher education journey, Dynamics is enabling TEDI-London to quickly identify and respond to trends in their data so they can make smarter decisions, faster. Using Dynamics, TEDI-London will be able to tap into big data, advanced analytics, and intelligent processes to help them collect and then act on the right data at the right time.

ANS totally understood what we were trying to achieve and why. I didn’t want to buy a product from a supplier which would have resulted in a chain of ongoing consultancy. ANS understood that and positioned themselves as a systems integrator of choice rather than a supplier of IT products.

I have never had the pleasure of working with an organisation that has been so flexible and accommodating. Most partners would have tried to tie us down to a planned schedule of works and exact deliverables from the outset, but when we set out on this project, we hadn’t even recruited most of our staff and we wanted them to drive the project so we honestly didn’t know what we needed to achieve at the beginning. ANS totally understood the need for this flexibility and were incredibly accommodating. It’s very unusual to find a supplier that will work in this way and it’s certainly something I’ve never come across before.

David Minahan
CIO, TEDI-London
Innovation Hub

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