Thanks to a partnership with Beta 80, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore has implemented a successful model of University Agile Software Factory, to rapidly develop, modify and distribute applications supporting distance learning (DAD) and online bureaucratic services.
The Covid-19 emergency and the necessity of social distancing had forced the institute to review its teaching methods, its management of exams and provision of administrative services.
University Software Factory: from face-to-face lectures to remote teaching
Università Cattolica was already equipped for remote teaching activities, but the general approach to teaching was still oriented towards face-to-face lessons. In just two weeks, habits were subverted: lectures got completely remote for over 43,000 students, with a strong impact on university organization and the management of information systems.
The pandemic has therefore played a role as an accelerator for digital transformation projects, thanks to the support of management, the close collaboration between university units (the administrative staff, the IT specialists, the teaching body) and the Agile Software Factory model implemented in University from Beta 80.
From a silo plant, we helped the institution move to the creation of cross-functional groups, engaged in application development activities according to the Agile logic, which made it possible to react much more quickly to the changes needed.
The Software Factory model was adopted for the development of all Università Cattolica applications. Beta80 used an iterative incremental (agile) approach to ensure continuous changes and meet user needs based on the feedback received. However, for the development of some activities, the classic waterfall methodologies remained in place.
Successful projects, thanks to an established partner
Beta 80 played a crucial role in the implementation of the University Agile Software Factory, not only from a technical point of view but also from a methodological perspective and for all aspects concerning change management.
The IT partner has been collaborating with Università Cattolica for about eight years and has in-depth knowledge of internal processes, an indispensable requirement for successfully implementing an application development structure according to agile principles. Its team of highly qualified experts works side by side with university staff, directly within the university (or remotely when required by anti-contagion regulations).
Furthermore, Beta 80 operates according to an extremely flexible approach, which lends itself well to supporting the operational dynamics of the University: any sudden change, of course, is an open possibility, when IT projects are blocked prematurely while others get activated during the race.
Designing the new normal of University
As the pandemic catastrophe continues to strike, any training institution is forced to review future strategic lines and to consider the hypothesis of a new normal based on the mixture of face-to-face activities and distance learning.
However, there is no going back: after an initial adjustment phase, the experience of remote learning met with the appreciation of students and teachers from many points of view. If the hope is a return to normality, the University of tomorrow will not give up the benefits of online teaching - think of how convenient it is to attend lessons remotely without facing any commuting or rush-hour traffic, for example.
Furthermore, the quality of digital services to support teaching represents a differentiating factor for any university, which today finds itself competing within an international scenario, with competitors from all over the globe.
Università Cattolica, therefore, moves towards a hybrid organizational model, where the two approaches to teaching - face to face and remote - coexist. Students will be able to physically go to the premises, but access will be limited, and on shifts; the lessons will, in any case, be available online, in on-demand mode or broadcast in live-streaming.
In short, the future increasingly requires the ability to adapt to circumstances, according to a flexible and resilient approach. This is why the University Agile Software Factory of Beta 80 will continue to play a fundamental role for a winning university model, able to respond to the needs of all stakeholders, as learners, teachers, administrators, management, and more.