Efficiency and clarity for laboratory reservation and evaluation system

“The students have been very satisfied with the new Alva system and have praised it as easy-to-use and well executed. From the university’s point of view, on the other hand, it is excellent that Alva serves the needs of the teachers well. The system can also be used in other units as needed and it also takes accessibility well into account.”
Expert Sanna Juntunen, University of Tampere 

When the University of Tampere, along with four other universities, began using the Sisu student information system in the summer of 2020, the student project reservation and evaluation system of the measurement laboratories also had to be renewed. The Alva system created by Leanware has now been implemented in the university’s physics and civil engineering laboratories, and it can also be implemented in other units as needed.  

The system previously used at the university needed updating in terms of usability, accessibility as well as mobile compatibility. Leanware developed Alva on a tight schedule at the same time as handling the university’s Sisu migration, and special attention was paid to the fact that the system could also later be used at other universities using Sisu.

“It was our goal to have a laboratory project system that serves units as efficiently as possible in laboratory reservations and project evaluation, and in doing so, makes the life of students and teachers easier,” says University of Tampere expert Sanna Juntunen.

Speed and agility for teachers’ and students’ everyday lives

The biggest improvement in the Alva system, especially from the viewpoint of teachers, is the possibility of electronically handing in the laboratory measurement reports. Now all stages of the project, from device reservations to returning and evaluating finished projects, can be done digitally. The system allows the teachers to see at a glance their project queue, for example. This way, the resourcing of facilities and staff can be done more easily.

“We wanted to fulfill the university’s request of having clear views and an operating system that significantly guides working and makes it more efficient. The improved shift calendar makes reserving and managing laboratories easier. The system also creates new possibilities for international students, as multiple language variants can now be added. It also improves the accessibility of the system,” describes Leanware expert Asta Hentilä.

Especially students needed the system to have terminal-independent user options, as it is usually easier for them to make laboratory reservations using mobile devices. It was also especially important for students that finished projects and evaluations are up-to-date and the documentation of projects is kept safe.

“A modern system significantly simplifies teaching and ensures that all collected data is saved and the finished projects of students are logged and saved in the system. The new feature that is important for teachers is the possibility of handing in measurement reports electronically, which makes their work easier and decreases the time spent on assessments,” says University of Tampere IT Architect Arja Tusa.

With good cooperation, even a challenging year feels easy

Before the Sisu migration and the Alva system, Leanware created, for example, facility reservation and study plan systems for the University of Tampere as well as the Kaiku course assessment system. The team spirit and mutual trust that were created during more than a decade of cooperation offered a solid base for an agile project, even though the schedule was sometimes tight and the Sisu migration that was done at the same time caused challenges at times. Additional challenges for the project were also caused by the corona pandemic that was present for nearly the entire year 2020, and which meant that project meetings had to be held remotely.

“We wanted the technical delivery of the system to be slightly different from before. To our delight, this didn’t cause much of a problem and the entire matter was handled during a few remote meetings with the experts. Leanware was also flexible when it came to our request of using the Angular application framework in designing the system. The software developers knew how to challenge us in the right way. I appreciate that they honestly told us if something requested by us wasn’t worth implementing or if another approach was needed. Because of the additional work caused by corona, we weren’t able to test the system as thoroughly as we normally would have, but we trusted that the system would work,” says Sanna Juntunen.

According to Leanware’s Client Manager Aleksi Korkea-aho, it has been especially important during the pandemic that Leanware experts work together with the customer as a team and that communication works both ways in unexpected situations also. Even the sudden shift to remote work caused by the pandemic went smoothly for both parties, as communication about the project was continuous and open on both sides.

Arja Tusa from the University of Tampere agrees.

“Cooperation has always been very smooth. We have no thresholds for contacting and we know that Leanware’s experts will tackle even the most challenging situations immediately. Although there was an even bigger project running alongside the Alva project, everything worked seamlessly. Projects go this well when things are prioritized and they have been defined in the beginning. We trust the skills of the Leanware experts one hundred percent and when it comes to Alva, I can honestly say that we got exactly what we ordered. The development of the system together with Leanware still continues and there is already another system upgrade project on the way as well.”