AWS Public Sector Blog

PolyMall Uses Blackboard on AWS for Continuous Learning

Developed jointly by Singapore’s five polytechnics, PolyMall is a one-stop portal to access online learning content across multiple sectors and disciplines. In PolyMall, students are able to access high-quality learning resources at their fingertips for an engaging online learning experience. PolyMall provides a common platform for the five polytechnics to share online learning packages among both students and staff.

Singapore has a national initiative to equip Singaporeans with the mindset and basic functional skills to prepare for the future economy. Committed to continuous lifelong learning, PolyMall offers courses in a host of topics covering business, design, engineering, applied sciences, IT, and more.

To support the 100,000 students on the platform overall and 15,000 daily users, PolyMall needed a scalable infrastructure that would allow students to access courses on any device beyond the classroom. As a government-owned online learning provider in Singapore, they also had to comply with specific security requirements.

With security and scalability in mind, a cross-polytechnic team of technical and educational experts worked together to identify the technical and functional specifications of PolyMall. When PolyMall adopted Blackboard’s full SaaS LMS, Learn SaaS, AWS provided local support, security insights, and local knowledge of market requirements, specifically calling out the CWC (Cyber Watch Security) installation that was mandatory for all Singapore government engagements.

PolyMall uses Blackboard’s comprehensive learning, collaboration, and communication capabilities to improve every aspect of the educational experience for teachers, administrators, families, and learners.

Blackboard Learn SaaS takes advantage of a number of AWS services, including Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Amazon RDS, Amazon EBS, and Amazon Aurora.

The migration to a cloud-based LMS was seamless and brought along visible benefits to PolyMall and its users, such as scalability, elasticity, reliability, and cost savings. As a cloud-hosted LMS, the costs of buying and maintaining servers on premise was reduced. Costs and effort associated with upgrades and new releases are also lower than the traditional model that usually forces institutions to plan downtime to install an upgrade package, or risk running outdated applications, missing out on the latest and greatest features.

 “We have seen definite cost savings with the cloud. We spent less than if we maintained or managed our own servers,” said Helene. PolyMall estimates savings to be about 20% of the total cost of ownership compared to an on-premises solution over a five-year system lifespan.

The team is now looking at how to integrate PolyMall as a key building block for creating a next-generation digital learning environment (NGDLE) with other components such as Learner Record Store (LRS) and Personal Persistent Learning Record (PPLR).

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