ASU's move to the cloud supports a more seamless experience for transfer students in Arizona
Serving over 10,000 transfer students each year, the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) and AZTransfer support learners on their journey to transfer from community or tribal colleges to any of the three state universities in Arizona, including Arizona State University (ASU), University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University.*
A key part of the AZTransfer system is housing a database of records for all credits a learner has earned. And for over 20 years, ASU has played a key role in hosting the secure storage of this data on-premise, meaning a physical data warehouse containing all student data from across Arizona’s community college systems and the three Arizona public universities.
As part of the university's digital transformation efforts to be a fully cloud-based infrastructure, migrating the AZTransfer system would require the technical expertise of ASU, combined with partnership from ABOR.
Rebecca McKay, Senior Director, Systems Development & Administration at AZTransfer, summarized the experience of working with UTO, noting: “Everyone on the team is an absolute expert in their area, I was included in every part of the migration and felt empowered to continue to create, and make improvements to, the system even after the migration was complete."
Everyone on the team is an absolute expert in their area, I was included in every part of the migration and felt empowered to continue to create, and make improvements to, the system even after the migration was complete.Rebecca McKay, Senior Director, Systems Development & Administration at AZTransfer
ASU’s digital transformation impact reaches beyond the university
This project was spearheaded by Joe McDonald and Linda Fornefeld, both of whom are part of ASU’s University Technology Office.
The project launched in February 2020, just a few weeks before the pandemic would cause major disruptions in society and the workplace. So beyond the complexity such a project requires, the teams also had to reimagine how work gets done.
In order to complete the project, the AZTransfer system was dismantled on the legacy platform and completely rebuilt in the cloud on AWS. The team worked in what is called sprints, which are project goals that are met within a set time period. When the transfer was completed the team had worked through 42 total sprints.
As McDonald noted, “Today, the AZTransfer system has better performance, better responsiveness and more visibility for users.”
“Today, the AZTransfer system has better performance, better responsiveness and more visibility for users.Joe Mcdonald, Project Lead
It’s important to note that the system’s user interface has remained the same for learners. However, the move to the cloud resulted in significantly faster processing speeds, which benefits both the engineers and the users. Faster speeds offer a more streamlined experience, less buffer time between searches, and easily accessible information for students, faculty and staff in managing the transfer of credits.
Fornefield reflected on the project saying, “Appreciation and celebration from the customer is most welcomed. Having Rebecca involved in the creation of the product was what made this project so unique.”
UTO is proactive in always seeking to optimize tools to serve the university community at ASU and beyond.
*Check out the 2021 AZTransfer report for more information.
A special thank you to all that were involved in the project:
From AZTransfer: Rebecca McKay, Katie Greisiger Frost
From UTO: Joe McDonald, Ken Raveling, Sophia Kamen, Phil Stephens, Linda Fornefeld