SERVING STUDENTS BETTER

myCourses Redesign

ROLE Research, UI & UX
WHEN 14 weeks, Fall 2017
CLIENT School Project
Process Deck
User using myCourses website on a laptop

myCourses is a course management platform that allows RIT students to access course content, manage assignments, and interact with peers and professors. This redesign focuses on creating an academic tool that encourages an environment that better motivates students and aims at making a students life better.

RESEARCH

The initial stages of the project involved extensive research to better understand the user experience of myCourses. I started with evaluating the existing site structure and interaction flows, and conducting a competitive analysis. In addition, a user survey was conducted of the two user groups: students and faculty. After the survey, a group of students were interviewed to better understand their usage and the issues they face using myCourses.

Homepage of current website
Homepage of current website

What do the users currently feel about MyCourses?

  • 01

    Untapped Potential

    Students frequently use only 3 out of the 12 features offered by myCourses. Users are also not fully aware of the various features available, partly because their professors don't use those features.

  • 02

    Inefficient communication & collaboration tools

    60% of surveyed students and 40% of surveyed faculty do not use the messaging/mailing system offered by myCourses. Several students also expressed difficulty in interacting with the existing discussion boards and recommended the need of a robust communication system that would allow them to contact faculty and set up office-hours appointments through myCourses.

  • 03

    Inefficient navigation system

    Accessing course content and assignment submission is inefficient. The most common complaint was the fact that students have to scroll down to access their courses, and the organization of content in the content browser makes it hard to find information.

  • 04

    Faculty Engagement

    A significant number of complaints came not from the site structure itself, but the failure of faculty to update and organise content and put up due dates in the calendar and dropbox.

SOLUTION

After the survey, I asked myself - What is the purpose of myCourses? Of course, it is a course management tool and to that end it should provide students with the information they need with as little friction as possible. But students engage with this academic tool every day, so it should also do more than just inform.

This redesign is built on the idea that myCourses should act as a companion. Along with giving students the support and information they need during each semester, it should help them progress in their classes and aid their mental well being. The interface should be stress-free, fun and engaging.

Ongoing Onboarding Model


This model aims to achieve two main goals:
1) Welcome new students to the website and make them comfortable with the new experience.
2) Make students aware of the features myCourses offers and how they can use those to improve their workflow and productivity.

Welcome Screen


myCourses welcomes students and makes them comfortable with the new experience. It briefly tells them what myCourses is about and then asks them to go onward to their dashboard.

Welcome screen for a new user

Welcome Email


Students receive a quick, short email that informs them about the major features of myCourses, such as access to course content, task list, chat system and dropboxes.

Welcome Email for New user

Personalized Dashboard Messages


Students get personalized dashboard messages on the homepage. These range from messages that help students schedule appointments with their professors to just giving them recognition after a stressful week.

Sample dashboard messages
Sample dashboard messages
Sample dashboard messages

Contextual Tips


For the first 10 days, myCourses will familiarize students with the basic functions it offers such as course content, course updates, task list, and user guide. Tips will pop up during users' sessions at contextually relevant moments.

First Key Action

Tip for First key Action on homepage

Task List

Tip for checking off a task

User Guide

Tip for the User Guide


For the rest of the semester myCourses will gently nudge students in form of these tips to improve their work flow and time management.

Contextual Tips

User Guide


Learn more about what myCourses offers through this handy user guide.

User Guide

Intuitive Access to Course Content and Deadlines


The focus was to make it easier for students to track their upcoming assignments and deadlines, while ensuring they are rewarded for their hard work and progress. Other than reorganising content on the homepage, I introduced a dedicated task list and re-imagined the assignment submission system.

Upcoming Task List


A dedicated task list at the top of the homepage helps students keep track of upcoming assignments and course updates, increasing their productivity and organization. Students can upload assignments directly from the task list for efficient submissions. They can also check off completed tasks, add custom tasks or reorder existing tasks based on priority.

Upcoming Task List

Smart Dropbox


Dropbox is the assignment submission system on myCourses. Smart dropbox creates a dropbox for each assignment the faculty uploads, eliminating the need for faculty to input the same information twice - once for the assignment and then for the connected dropbox. This removes the issue of missed or incorrectly named dropboxes. Students can easily find these assignments/dropboxes on the 'All Dropboxes' page.

All Dropboxes Page

Dropbox Submission Modal


The Dropbox Submission Modal is accessible through the task list, homepage and course page. It enables easy access to assignment-specific dropboxes. Students can see assignment details and past submissions, drag and drop files or upload through their google drive or myCourses locker. What if they don't have a file? They can submit text or a link as well.

Dropbox Submission Modal

Motivating Students


On submitting files on time, students get a summary of their submissions to review along with a message congratulating them for submitting their assignment on time.

Dropbox Submission Summary


When a student submits an assignment that has a higher grade weightage they get a more rewarding message like this dancing star.

Congratulatory Message on file submission
Congratulatory Illustration Samples

Give a helping hand


How can myCourses help students when they are not doing well? With the use of relevant copy, illustrations and features such as custom reminders and progress reports, myCourses can help get students back on track.

Overdue Tasks


Overdue tasks will be marked in red, with a different icon in the task list.

Overdue Task on tasklist

Dropbox Submission Message


If a student submits an assignment late, the dropbox summary message will change accordingly. Students will also get an option to contact their professors since they submitted the assignment late.

Dropbox Submission message for a late assignment

Set a Custom Reminder


Students can set up custom reminders for assignments in myCourses, such as an essay due at the end of the semester.

Set up custom reminders

Check your Progress


Students can check their progress through the semester and make sure they are on track. Highlights tells the student what courses they are doing well in and what courses they need support with.

Highlights

highlights on progress page

Course Overview

Course overview on progress page

Engage in conversations


There was a need to create a support system that facilitates easier and faster communication between faculty and students. I created two communication channels - a private chat, and a commenting system.

Built-in Chat Functionality


Students can contact their professors or peers through the built-in chat system in myCourses. They can mark important messages from their professors with a star, find that one important file the professor sent, and even give a topic to each conversation. Topics are just like subjects in emails and help give easy context to the conversations.

Full Screen Chat Window

Full screen chat window

Find all files shared

File sharing in chat

Give and Get Feedback in Real Rime


Students can comment on any content put up by the professor in real-time, asking questions or keeping professors accountable for updating content. They can even select and comment on specific areas of an image.

Commenting system

Using email notifications for action


Relevant and timely notifications are key to get people on a schedule. Of the surveyed students, 40% of surveyed students spent 5 - 30 minutes per visit on myCourses. When students are away from myCourses, they can choose to get a daily activity summary outlining the recent updates and upcoming deadlines.

User Flow

User Flow for mobile

myCourses On the Go


Students get an email notification reminding them that they have a due date in 15 minutes with no submissions made yet. This interaction explores how the student can quickly submit a link to dropbox from their mobile before the deadlines passes.

FINAL DESIGNS

Homgepage

New User

Homepage for new user

Returning User

Homepage for returning user

Task List

Task List

Task List

Create a new Task

Add a task

Task Added!

Task Added Message

Reorder Tasks

Task Added Message

Private Chat

Chat Pop up

Chat Pop up window

Full Screen Chat Window

Full Screen chat window

Progress Page


Progress Page

All dropboxes


All dropboxes

HOW DID IT GO?

It was incredibly rewarding to take on a problem and create a solution for an application that my classmates and professors now use every day. Redesigning myCourses pushed me to create a whole design system from start to end: an ongoing onboarding experience, several core pages and a mobile interaction.

Moving ahead, I would like to envision a better end of semester experience for students once they have successfully finished all of their assignments for the term. I'd also like to explore how myCourses could better help the students’ academic standing, if they’re not able to finish the semester on a positive note.



See the process