WGU creates 24/7 seamless e-learning experiences with Dynatrace

"Dynatrace is the evolution which every technology industry should adopt. It's intelligent, it's agile, and it also lives up to the promises that it makes to its customers."

Oindrilla Sen - Software Engineering Manager, WGU

Technology-enabled learning

Western Governors University (WGU) is a U.S.-based online university dedicated to making higher education as accessible as possible, for as many people as possible. Students come from all U.S. states and backgrounds and need a flexible learning style to fit around their busy work and home lives.

Students need a perfect experience every time they log in to a WGU system whether it’s to study, access a course, or take an assessment. Otherwise, they risk losing momentum in their studies, which can impact motivation and affect their grades. The performance and availability of WGU’s e-learning platforms are therefore key, especially during peak times ahead of an assessment. These platforms are built on a dynamic cloud-based architecture, to enable greater agility and rapid innovation that keeps WGU ahead of the curve.

Getting cloud-native observability

With a constantly changing technology stack, the WGU team found it challenging to get a 360-degree view of all its applications or understand the critical dependencies across its heterogenous environment. WGU understood that it needed end-to-end observability across its applications and infrastructure so it could identify and resolve the root-cause of issues as quickly as possible, to maintain seamless student experiences that extended beyond just online instruction. After evaluating the market, WGU selected Dynatrace, identifying its highly automated, intelligent system approach as a key differentiator.

“It’s extremely important that when a student logs onto our platform with a plan, we help them achieve their plan, no matter the time of the day or year,” said Oindrilla Sen, Software Engineering Manager at WGU. “When moving to a new observability and intelligence platform, we wanted to make sure we had the best in the market. We wanted a platform that not only integrates with our environment but gives intelligent advice on how we can make our systems more robust. We did due diligence, research, and checked customer feedback, and Dynatrace was an obvious choice.”

"We did due diligence, research, customer feedback, and Dynatrace was an obvious choice."

Oindrilla Sen - Software Engineering Manager, WGU

Life with Dynatrace

  • A unified view of e-learning journeys: Dynatrace helps WGU to quickly understand the student experience across its end-to-end technology stack and identify potential breaking points before they impact learning journeys. This enables WGU’s engineering team to maintain performance and availability across its platforms, to ensure students can access their learning resources whenever and wherever they need to, with minimal or no disruptions.
  • Better student experiences: With Dynatrace’s Smartscape technology, WGU has a continuously updated topology map that enables its teams to see upstream and downstream systems and understand all dependencies across the stack. This enables its teams to get a better insight into the cause and wider impact of specific issues that impact student’s learning journeys, so they can optimize their experiences more effectively.
  • Greater responsiveness: When problems do occur, Dynatrace’s automatic and intelligent observability capabilities instantly alert the engineering team to the issue. Previously, many faults remained undetected until students reported issues they had when accessing a particular system, but now engineers can proactively resolve issues as soon as they emerge.
  • Minimized disruption: Dynatrace has already significantly reduced the time it takes WGU to resolve issues in its students’ learning journeys, by offering precise answers that reveal the root-cause in real time. This means that WGU’s engineering teams no longer need to spend time trying to understand what caused an issue, and can get straight onto resolving them, which minimizes disruption for students.

“WGU and Dynatrace are going to have an amazing future together,” continued Sen. “Dynatrace is the evolution every technology company should adopt. It’s intelligent, it’s agile, and it lives up to the promises it makes to its customers. When you have a problem with a system, it’s possibly not something you have seen before. So having an intelligent solution that adapts to the problem, and makes sure you are aware of it, is super important. We’re going to make sure we live up to our promises to our students, and we’re going to heavily use Dynatrace to make sure we don’t falter on that.”

"Dynatrace is the evolution which every technology industry should adopt. It's intelligent, it's agile, and it also lives up to the promises that it makes to its customers."

Oindrilla Sen - Software Engineering Manager, WGU

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