Student Experience usually refers to the experience of university students since, unlike school students, their involvement during the academic period is all-encompassing. It is, in fact, an experience that encompasses several aspects: teaching, access to services, community life, job placement activities and so on. As is already the case for other types of user experience, Customer Experience in primis, today it is possible to adopt technologies to improve the Student Experience, to the point of making it a competitive factor capable of directing the choice towards one university rather than another. Application Performance Monitoring (APM) is one of these technologies precisely because of the incidence it can have in defining the quality of the User Experience in general, and therefore also that of the Student Experience in particular. Therefore universities will no longer be able to do without it.
How APM changes the Student Experience
Gartner defines the Application Performance Monitoring and Observability market as that of software to enable the observation and analysis of application health and user experience. Placed in the university context, APM essentially allows the Student Experience to be optimised. There are, in fact, systems that make it possible to collect feedback on the perception that the student population has of the overall offer of the university they attend. It is a pity that the data collected for the purpose of discovering this “sentiment” often arrives too late, when by then a problem in the IT infrastructure or applications has compromised the retrieval of information, the success of an exam or even the very possibility of attending one's degree session. And that this is not a remote possibility is evidenced by the regulations that the various universities have had to adopt due to the pandemic, especially to manage the non-attendance of normal teaching activities.
The 4 most important requirements provided by Application Performance Monitoring
The Sapienza University of Rome, for example, in its circular letter about new procedures for written examinations in telematic mode, specified that “students who have technical difficulties or malfunctions during the test must notify the Commission in order to agree on a solution. In the event of problems that cannot be resolved, the student will be deemed to have withdrawn”. In the circular letter it is assumed that problems, especially with the connection, could depend solely on the student. Actually, they could be generated by the unavailability, even temporary, of the university's web application with the result of penalising the end user. It must be said that Student Experience does not end with examinations which with the arrival of the next normal it is presumable that they will return to being conducted physically in front of the board. A valuable Student Experience is therefore based on ensuring that the four requirements monitored by the APM are met: reachability, availability, performance and reliability.
Student Experience and APM, a combination that helps innovation
From registering online for an exam to booking a meeting with a professor on the official website, the university's IT ecosystem must be able to support every moment of the Student Journey, but not only that. It must be ready to adapt to “blended” teaching models in which physical and virtual work together to make it easier to achieve the university institution's objectives. Application Performance Monitoring, therefore, will not only prevent performance degradation from affecting the quality of the Student Experience, but as a stimulus for continuous improvement and innovation. Its area of relevance, in fact, will tend to expand on any new digital service offered, including virtual and augmented reality-based labs, enhanced streaming or on-demand lecture offerings, increased online resources, etc. All this is possible if the analysis of application health and user experience, to quote Gartner's definition, can rely on a reliable and secure tool such as APM.