The Forum Review - Internship

📍Minerva Project

Internship Project

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About Project:

A fun and informative overview of the students’ activities on Forum for a term.

Ambition:

How might we provide an overview of a student's term on Forum in an engaging way?

Solution:

Standalone Webpage

Responsive Design

Role:

Product Design Intern

Summary:

Minerva Project Forum has extensive data collection capabilities, which empower learners and institutions with real-time feedback and analysis. On the Forum Review project, we provide a fun and informative overview of the student’s activities on Forum for a term.

👩🏻‍💻 What is Forum?

Beyond Typical Online Platforms

“Rather than a one-way conduit for information sharing or a repurposed business conferencing tool, the learning environment offers a deeply engaging digital experience for learners and instructors alike. Its robust features, varied learning modalities, and data gathering and management tools offer capabilities and insights not available in any other platform.”

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🎯 Ambition

The Forum Review aims to provide insights into the students’ activities over the last semester, year, or program. The intended users include students and instructors from partner institutions of Minerva Project utilizing Forum for learning purposes.

🏔 Goals

Empower Students with Insights on their Learning Journey:

By providing informations regarding the students’ learning journey, they are able to better understand their behavior in classes and approach to assignments and other policies.

Instigate Positive Change in Behavior:

The data on topics such as participation (e.g. hand raises, spoken minutes, polls) and accountability (e.g. absences, extensions) can be helpful to motivate students to participate more, and have a more responsible approach to their education. It also allows students to compare their progress throughout the years.

It’s also fun! (and “humanizes” Forum):

This is a way for students to have fun with Forum at the end of the semester or year, promote Forum across social media and classmates. This initiative promotes sociability among peers, where they could discuss their results. It also gives a sense of completion and accomplishment after a long academic journey.

Exploration and Wireframes:

After defining our goals for this project, I started researching and collecting interesting visual references. I developed a list of potential features from Forum we could explore in the Review and started designing the initial wireframes for the idea.

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Iteration 1: Features Exploration

From the first wireframes and a few rounds of feedback, I defined what elements we would approach in the first iteration. The goal was to highlight performance, participation, and social features.

📚 Performance Features

  • Outcomes:

Highest outcome score and the outcomes with the most scores.

  • Best Assignment:

Assignment with the highest average score and the score distribution for that assignment.

  • Absences:

The number of absences or the percentage of attendance.

  • Extensions.

The number of hours used in extensions for the assignments, or show no use at all.

✋ Participation Features

  • Class Time (cumulative):

How many minutes the students have spent in class for that period of time.

  • Poll Participation (cumulative):

How many words the students have written for polls in total.

  • Hand Raises (cumulative):

How many times the students have raised their hand for that period.

💬 Sociability Features

  • Comments:

Show most liked comment, from what class it is and who liked it.

Also show class with the most comments, highlighting some of the most liked comments in that class.

  • Sociability & Compatibility:

Show how many unique people students have interacted with in breakouts.

Rank people with whom students have been paired up with the most. (Top 3)

  • Reactions:

Show how many times students have used each reaction

Show their most used reaction.

Opportunity: Categorize into different Archetypes

SHIFT 1 (smile) - The Optimist:

SHIFT 2 (sad) - The Honest

SHIFT 3 (snap) - The Supporter

SHIFT 3 (wonder) - The Critical Thinker

SHIFT 5 (laugh) - The Funny

SHIFT 6 (mind blow) - The Super Learner

SHIFT 7 (heart) - The Enthusiast

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Summary of research with interviews
Summary of research with interviews

Research and Feedback

I interviewed students, professors, academic directors, and engineers to understand how the users would react to the Review. I summarized the data by highlighting common observations, behaviors, and important considerations made during the interviews.

Feedback Summary:

People enjoyed how positive the overview was and felt there could be more context on a few of the elements, especially regarding participation. An overall concern shared by the people interviewed was the possibility of students performing “badly” (e.g., only low scores, many absences). All the interviewees had an exciting reaction to the Review's sociability components, especially regarding the Forum Archetypes.

📚 Overview and Performance Section

The overall reaction to this section was confusion. The people interviewed weren’t sure about why those were the scores featured. The best assignment elements seemed confusing for a few people, they couldn’t guess exactly why they were seeing that assignment. Following up from that, a few of the interviewed were confused about whether the lowest or highest scores were related to the assignment or their grades overall. There were also many comments on the bar distribution graph; although there were positive comments regarding its design, the concerns included the possibility of students having very few scores, which would justify having an outcome as highest or lowest. That would also imply a “boring graph”. There was also a concern regard showing low scores.

“I feel like there has to be some kind of clarification, I don’t know what I am looking at”
“Is it my best assignment for all courses or just for CS50?”
“You got a 2 in correlation’ doesn’t feel very Spotify Wrapped”

✋ Participation Section

This section was pointed out as the one with the biggest potential to inform students and instigate positive change in behavior. Many of the interviewed suggested giving more context for the participation elements. However, they also pointed out the need to be careful with the addition. Additionally, there was a concern regarding featuring absences.

“There is a fine line between motivation and discouragement”.
“Just knowing the number of hand raises is not informative.”
“Absences are there for a reason and it is good for mental health”

💬 Sociability Features

There was a very good reaction overall to the social elements of the review: comments, breakout buddies, reactions, and archetype. More specifically, people were very excited about the archetypes. However, there were a few concerns about featuring comments from class, which could be very unrelated to classes or even controversial.

“This is one of the most fun parts in classes for me”
“This is cool. It is an amazing chance to reconnect with the people that I have studied with”

🎨 Archetypes Design

In a Forum Classroom, students and professors have eight options for reactions - a colored emoji to express emotion. The research stage showed that the opinions on Archetypes were unanimously positive. I then continued to improve the design and copy of all the archetypes for each reaction.

Forum Reactions
Forum Reactions

Archetypes design exploration on Illustrator
Archetypes design exploration on Illustrator

Final Archetypes:

Final Forum Archetypes
Final Forum Archetypes

Final Design:

After processing the data from the interviews, I incorporated the most relevant points of feedback into the final iteration.

  • I worked on adapting to constraints. As there was now a new point regarding privacy concerns for comments display and a share option, I made this section more concise and limited the sharing action for archetypes.
  • I rearranged the order of the sections, improving their flow to the user. I also removed the information regarding absences after analyzing its purpose, as we wanted to keep students’ mental health as a priority.
  • I reviewed and improved the wording of the review. To conclude, I created a simple responsive version for tablet and desktop, highlighting all important notes regarding sizing and spacing for the developers.

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Nicole Dantas

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