making college just a bit easier
Research, Web & Mobile UI/UX, MoGraph
Fall 2017 - 10 weeks
myCourses is an online course management system
It is used by several universities, including RIT. The system is a way for students and teachers to communicate outside of class. They can access course materials, find professor contact information, take quizzes, and more.
The website was redesigned in the Summer of 2017. Despite this, students and professors alike have found the system to be difficult to use.
Research based goals
I interviewed 20 people, 15 students and 5 professors, to see what issues they faced when using MyCourses. I then created four goals based upon my findings.
Many professors do not know how to use MyCourses properly. Only 45% of students claimed their professors consistantly post due dates on assignments. When posts are missing or incorrect, it is not easy to inform them quickly.
“My professors don’t know how to set up dropboxes right and it makes turning in projects god awful”
Being in the know
Students have trouble staying organized because they do not know what assignments they have coming up. 55% of students interviewed use MyCourses for 4 or more classes and therefore need the ability to see due dates and tasks easily.
“I really feel like due dates shouldn’t be hidden within syllabi and documents, they should be somewhere easily accessible.”
People learn in different ways, so MyCourses needs to be less rigid of a system to account for this. On a scale of 1 to 5 for how easy it was to use the system, users gave it an average of a 3.5 rating, but expressed a lot of discontent about it verbally.
“MyCourses is lousy because it's a one-size-fits-all product and good education doesn't work that way.”
Almost every person interviewed said they wanted MyCourses to be easier to use. Some functions, such as uploading content to a dropbox, took far too long. Students and professors should be able to access what they need quickly.
“There’s like 4 steps to upload a document through dropbox, it’s super easy to not submit something fully and it’s a pain if you’re in a rush to meet a deadline.”
Based upon the research I conducted, these were 3 typical types of MyCourses users. Their stories were used to create user flows that lead the design.
An anxious student. Wants to verify that she is on track. Needs the assurance of knowing she completed assignments successfully.
She wants to be organized and see what assignments she has due soon.
An average student. Has basic questions on class material. Wants to try to figure it out herself before she contacts the professor.
She want to customize her experience to benefit her studies
The Problem Solver
An attentive student. Is quick to notice issues with content posted, whether it be missing, broken, or incorrect.
He wants discuss issues with his proffesor promptly.
After analyzing the results of the interviews, it was clear that students needed a task management system that works well with a positive college experience. Just as they do on campus, students should have an online experience that is well composed, flexible, and open for discussion.
Keeping on schedule
One of the biggest anxieties of students is the pressure of turning assignments in on time. These modules were put in place in order to keep students on top of their tasks by both informing them of upcoming due dates and confirming task completion once they are done.
Gives the user a quick look ahead for what they have due in the next week. Greets user, lists task, updates, and has an icon that changes depending on the time of day.
Lists tasks due, automatically generated with dropboxes. Includes class, due date, submissions, and submission link. Can check off when completed. When clicked on, provides additional information including related content, reminder setup, submission information, and a link to email their professor for help.
Provides the user with recent class updates provided by the professor. Updates can contain links to downloadable files or related MyCourses content.
People learn in different ways just as students will want to utilize MyCourses differently. These modules show how students can change their MyCourses experience to be different than the one given to them in the current semester.
Quick links for users to utilize. Can be user generated, or a list is created with recent links used in course content, news, etc.
Course Page Selection
Links to course pages of the selected semester. User can select previous semester and courses to access past content.
User-Friendly Video Player
Displays video content. Users can rewind 10 seconds, add automatic closed captions, download, bookmark, and report video content.
In the classroom, students are able to resolve or ask about issues presented to them. These modules, as shown by a video content page, reflect this idea by allowing the student to comment and report issues on content.
Allows students to comment and ask non-immediate questions to one another. Timestamps are added to clarify meaning as related to the video.
Pop-up that appears when content is reported. User can choose to report the entire video, or at the timestamp of the video where they last left off. They may also choose from a selection of suggested problems or comment what the exact issue is.
Confirmation message to show that content has been succesfully reported.
Reporting Flow - Mobile Design Interaction
The reporting flow was the most complex and sought-after module as requested by the students I interviewed. I then decided to expand on this flow during the last 3 weeks of the project by creating a mobile-view interaction. People enjoy watching videos on the go, but they should be able to swiftly report them when they are not working correctly.
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