UniversityX Platform Discovery Project

I am a UI designer and UX researcher in the Boston area. I graduated from Northeastern in 2016 with a B.S. in Graphic Design. My work experience spans graphic design, UI design, interaction design, and UX research. Currently seeking job opportunities in Boston as well as fully remote roles.

Goals and How to Achieve Them
We outlined our goals for the project and brainstormed ways to reach them. Some of the issues we came across while using the platform:
Course content and student activity is buried within the course.
Students often take one course in a series or don’t know how several courses might play off one another.
Searching for a new course can show the same results over and over again.

Working Through the Problems
As with most of our projects, we started discussing all of this in front of a whiteboard. These are just two of the many boards we talked through before landing on several concrete ideas. Much of the focus was on the student dashboard, which is the landing page for signed in users.
Initial Wireframes
After long discussions of requirements, ideas of how this would play out, and a restructuring of course discovery, I started to take our rough whiteboard and paper sketches and UXpin workflows into high fidelity wireframes for better discussions about the complications we would come across with this particular concept.
In the earlier days of this project, we wanted to bring course discovery into the student dashboard. Though this seemed like a nice place to suggest new courses, it was eventually trashed. The dashboard is not where students would go when they’re looking for new courses and the suggestions would ultimately be ignored.
Later Discoveries
After further work on this project, we realized that students only sign up for 1-3 classes at a time. With this understanding, we realized we could showcase the one or two most recently accessed courses and offer them a large call to action to return directly to the section of that course they were viewing last.
Increasing Student Engagement
Part of increasing student engagement meant bringing course notifications and events to the dashboard in order to engage students and encourage them to re-entered a course. We also suggested an activity comparison chart, seen on the bottom right, which would show how frequently they logged in or submitted assignments as compared to their classmates.
Treating the Symptom
One of the concepts we landed on was that many students sign up for courses and then never get back into them again. In the design above, you can see a section for Inactive Courses. This was an area to hold courses that students have completed, never started, or haven't touched in a long time.
After some discussion, we realized this was a reaction to the symptom rather than the problem. In later concepts that never made it to design, we discussed the possibility of letting students browse a course before signing up to take it. This would solve one of the reasons why students sign up for a course and then never return.