2U Scales Course Production While Staying True to Their Mission

eager students photo

2U logo2U Inc. is an education technology company that partners with top colleges and universities to bring their degree programs and credit-bearing courses online.

2U isn’t all about algorithms and code, it’s about people — eager students, dedicated teachers, and lifelong learners. So, when the company needed to adjust for larger enrollment numbers and increase their course offerings, they didn’t want to lose their vision and purpose in the process.

The Challenge

Due to the extraordinary success and growth of their business, 2U needed to increase the capacity and throughput of their course development processes for 2018 and beyond. Scaling business processes brings challenges, and rapidly growing teams can lose their sense of personalization and investment in the product. 2U recognized that scaling is important, but wanted to maintain their “secret sauce,” which is combining technology with a human touch. 

2U needed help and advice on tools and best practices to help them scale while retaining the personalization that has made them so successful.

Why Unicon?

2U didn’t want just any company giving them advice. They were looking for industry experts with extensive experience regarding the needs and challenges of online content creation, as well as a deep understanding of development processes and tools. 2U wanted a team that would understand both the breadth of their client base (universities) and their end customers (students), as well as the quality and responsiveness expectations of those users.
 
Unicon has 25 years of experience in developing online courses and has provided business process analysis and guidance to over 400 colleges and universities. We also have a strong understanding of agile methodologies for software development and an unwavering commitment to understanding our client’s vision. 2U felt that we were the perfect fit.

Unicon documented and analyzed 2U’s existing content development and quality assurance processes, performed a data inventory and analysis of 2U’s existing systems and reports, and completed a gap analysis. Then, we provided recommendations for workflow, reporting, and process changes as well as recommendations for tools. We also developed operational plans and timelines for tool adoption.

  • To help 2U maintain quality as the demand for courses increases, we recommended adopting the agile methodology, including feedback loops and a focus on process streamlining.
  • Unicon’s reporting recommendations will reduce duplicate data, allowing management to make better-informed decisions and track progress across project portfolios.
  • Unicon’s tooling recommendations, including Atlassian products like JIRA and Confluence, will better serve the needs of the course development team.


2U is taking an incremental approach to implementing Unicon’s recommendations and has started with the transition to agile teams. So far, they have seen improvements in the completion rate and quality of deliverables, as well as benefits in reducing role overlap.
 
Once 2U implements all of Unicon’s recommendations, they will see increased capacity and throughput of course development with higher visibility into project progress and better decision-making capabilities. These adjustments will allow 2U to meet the needs of their growing market. They will be able to deliver the high-tech experience that universities want to provide and students expect while remaining true to their mission of personalization and creating the best possible experience for every student.