Business challenge

Facing a tight deadline, La Trobe – Didasko needed a cloud-based platform that could support its new online course focused on virtualization.

Transformation

Didasko created a VMware sandbox that allows students to study, design and deploy a fully realized virtual network.

Results

< 4 weeks

to deploy a virtualized learning environment to support university-level classes

Enhances the student experience

with rich, comprehensive controls for a broad user platform

Promotes future growth

that can readily scale to accommodate shifting class sizes and expansion plans

Business challenge story

Think fast

Dedicated to empowering students to find success in the job market, Didasko has over 20 years experience developing educational content and systems across the vocational educational sector. In 2017, Didasko forged a partnership with La Trobe University, a highly-respected university in Australia, to deliver online undergraduate degrees in business and IT.

The program is structured so that students will earn a diploma after the first year, an associate degree after the second and a full bachelor degree after the third year.

“Right now we’re offering five online degrees across business and IT,” elaborates John Anderson, General Manager of Strategic Partnerships and Marketing at Didasko. “We  build the content and deploy the learning management system,  plus we provide the academic support for the students.”

He continues, “All of the degrees that we provide with La Trobe are applied degrees. So while the typical degree is theory-based,  we make sure that the student has a strong grasp on how to translate that theory into practical skills.”

In early 2019 however, this need to provide direct experience was proving to be a challenge for the new degree program. In particular, two of the degrees required a subject focused on VMware skills – a subject that Didasko had not yet created.

“We build subjects on a development basis as we need to,” explains Anderson. “We want to provide students with up-to-date skills, and technology changes quickly.”

“So there was a bit of a speed requirement,” adds Brahim Stewart, ICT Systems Engineer at Didasko. “We had only three weeks before we had to roll out the subject, but we were having trouble finding the right platform. We wanted to teach VMware at a bare metal server level – this requirement was quite particular. However, most simulators won’t give you access at that level. We needed a fully-fledged VMware environment.”

It was a pretty tight timeline. But IBM was able to come quickly and give us instant assistance.

John Anderson, General Manager of Strategic Partnerships and Marketing, La Trobe - Didasko

Transformation story

Hands-on experience

Fortunately, Didasko is an IBM Business Partner.

“Having worked with IBM for the last 3-4 years,” Stewart elaborates, “we were able to work out how we could pull together a course that would enable students all around Australia to have access to a VMware environment with bare metal controls.”

To serve as the backbone of its new course, Didasko employed the IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions offering. Now, students across Australia can log into the IBM Cloud remotely via a VPN and directly access the VMware console for their class projects.

“They start from scratch,” continues Stewart. “They are setting up a fully-fledged internal network for a mock business. They have to configure the hosts into a cluster – set up all of the networking and storage configurations. They’re doing everything they would if they were working at a job.”

To walk the students through this course-long project, Didasko provides them with access to its learning management platform, complete with associated video lectures, assessment tools, course notes and exams.

The level of scalability and accessibility offered by the IBM Cloud drew us in as well. We can just dial up extra resources with the touch of a button, and in less than an hour we have what we need.

Brahim Stewart, ICT Systems Engineer, La Trobe - Didasko

Results story

High marks

Thankfully, the architecture for the new VMware course, Bachelor of Applied Information Technology, was available on time, enabling Didasko and the university to meet the needs of the incoming class. “It was a pretty tight timeline,” recalls Anderson. “But IBM was able to come quickly and give us instant assistance.”

Also, Didasko is thoroughly pleased with the performance of the IBM Cloud platform. “The level of access is great,” adds Stewart. “Nobody else offers bare metal, but now we can give our students a chance to work with a ‘real’ VMware environment. And since VMware covers about 80 percent of the hypervisor market, being educated in VMware is a huge thing.”

He continues: “The level of scalability and accessibility offered by the IBM Cloud drew us in as well. We can just dial up extra resources with the touch of a button, and in less than an hour we have what we need.”

“Which is important,” adds Anderson. “We offer these courses worldwide, but we have to be very conscious of how we scale up this program. We need to have flexibility in the solutions that we provide, and IBM is providing that to us.”

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About La Trobe – Didasko

Headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, Didasko, in partnership with La Trobe University delivers online applied business and applied IT degrees. Students can study on an intuitive learning platform with award-winning content designed to keep the learner engaged. With monthly course commencements and academic support available through many online support tools, students can look forward to achieving skills that will help prepare them for long-term employment and career advancement.  

Solution components

Take the next step

To learn more about the IBM solutions featured in this story, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner.

To learn more about its learning solutions and what La Trobe - Didasko can do for you, please visit: Didasko