Digital University Platform in the wake of Covid19

Engaging with colleagues and tutors, accessing resources and social experience are the benefits of campus life - however, Covid 19 has affected student experience and created a financial risk for higher education. I lead UX design to envision Blended digital campus experience and Student support to ensure short & long term UX vision through design thinking.
Lead a design squad
Remote User research & analysis, User interview
Design concept development
User Journey and Wireframe, IA, Prototyping & Conducting usability testing
UX Vision and Roadmap based on data-informed user research, Service design
Facilitating design thinking workshop remotely
IBM iX partnered with Pearson Education
Provide an education continuity for universities to reduce a financial risk
In 2020, COVID 19 wasn’t expected by anybody. The universities and students weren’t ready to imagine how campus life should be now and later.
Colleges operate fully online for at least the first semester of the school year 2020 – 2021, resulting in a major decline in auxiliary revenues as students stay home.
Enrollment for fall 2020 impacted given cancelled exams/panic. Deferred enrollment for some international students

UX Challenge - How can we shift to a hybrid model as it is not just the students who are taking classes remotely, even though the tutors are not forced to teach classes from their home - We were tasked with defining a focused area of Blended digital experience and creating a vision of near to long-term design strategy.

Our approach - Strategic design thinking for an innovative project that affects big-picture issues

Discovery & Understand - We gathered an issue tree to identify business objectives given that Covid-10 has created a financial risk for universities and affected student experience. 
Empathy & Engagement - We conducted primary research to identify patterns of feelings, thoughts and user behaviour on existing university services as well as understand concerns from universities, students and academic staff in higher-education post- Covid 19.
Define & Hypothesis - We identified future themes mapped to existing pain points and problem statement. 
Experiment & Iterate - We prototyped ‘day in the life future campus experience’ an integral part of an immersive learning experience and tested with tutors, students and staff.
Refine as in loop - Based on user feedback we iterated on designs, prioritised the MVP features and we created a future-oriented UX roadmap.

Strategic design thinking roadmap
Business goal - Provide an education continuity for universities to reduce a financial risk
The social experience, the face-to-face engagements and Hybrid model of education that has the potential to make college education more affordable for everybody

• Facilitated Design Thinking workshop to gather insights from existing artefacts such as user research insights, SME’s knowledge
• Defined software development lifecycle to associate design outputs
• Set collaboration tools, a way of working and design process
remote design thinking workshop, tool:mural
Understanding user
We leveraged Design Thinking to collaborate with current students, recent graduates and academic staff across 2 virtual workshops to understand their concerns for higher education in wake of COVID-19.
The following activities were completed in each workshop
Persona Empathy Mapping
• As-Is Scenario Map
• Needs Statements

These activities allowed us to understand the concerns and motivations of real users. This ensured that any experience created would keep users at the heart of the solution and deliver on key pain points identified.

Persona Empathy Mapping
We looked at a variety of student personas and their current university experience also explored the following academic staff personas and their responsibilities. This activity allowed us to empathise with our personas and capture their thoughts and concerns regarding COVID-19.
Extracting insights
We extracted insights and the key pain points were identified by academic staff and students. Then we’ve dotted voting to prioritise the needs in the prioritisation grid to measure the feasibility and the impact for the upcoming semester.

As-Is Scenario Map
This activity gave us an understanding of a day in the life of our personas pre COVID-19, targeted to specific focus areas.

Needs statements
This activity provided a backlog of user needs specific to each persona, as well as ideas about how we could enable these post-COVID19.
KEY THEMES were identified by students and academic staffs AFTER pain points
Defined focus areas driven by data-informed research
Finding pain points & fears to identify the most critical areas to enhance experience. 

Identified key themes:
Simulating social experiences & spaces
• Providing integrated access to learning materials 
• Ensuring scalability & accessibility for all users
• Building in personalisation & gamification 
• Providing one-to-one support

User journey map
I created an experience journey map for an overall digital campus experience as a reinvention planning with digital transforming. We targeted user group to students especially those who are in a different timezone with more issues of accessibility, productivity and supports for now and for an upcoming semester.
user journey map - international student WITH IDENTIFIED THEMES
Solving the problems in collaboration with interdisciplinary teams

Experience-based roadmap
Starting by supporting universities in the delivery of Pastoral Care, an integral part of an immersive learning experience and critical to enrolling and retaining students, we propose the following delivery roadmap that will drive business and user value for Pearson and universities. 

Combined goals from business and users -
1. Fast start students support platform to meet immediate needs to protect revenues.
2. Integrated digital campus platform experience in one place for the long-term.
1. Near-term:
Student support regardless of the locations

Needs statement:
As a student, I want to have Instant access to student support content and services.

The problem:
The user has an issue with different timezone, access to resources, low bandwidth capacity and digital inequalities and that needs addressing

The question:
What improvements are required in IT support and Academic support to make it more suitable for online education?

2. Long-term:
Digital campus experience in one place

Needs statement:
As a student, I  want to have one integrated online platform experience for the best academic performance.

The social experience, the face-to-face engagements and Hybrid model of education that has the potential to make college education more affordable for everybody.

The question:
How can we shift to a hybrid model as it is not just the students who are taking classes remotely, even though the tutors are not forced to teach classes from their home.


User testing - To bring the big ideas from the workshops to the life, We've tested them with the real users, including 9 students and 5 tutors & admin staff.
Research approach
•The prototype presented our design concept and visualised some of the new features we could deliver aligned to our future state day-in-the-life experience.
•We tested this prototype with real users who had participated in our user workshops through 1:1 usability testing sessions. 
•This allowed us to gain real feedback to iterate on our proposed design.

Dashboard page - Personalisation on the platform is important and makes the students feel like they are valued
Feedback & Recommendations:
•Hierarchy in Dashboard page, 3 of 4 said - Today class is the first thing to be shown
•Personalised contents - like Netflix, the algorithm knows the user's interest, recommendations, relevant contents.
•Hierarchy and modules can be personalised. The discussion board can be sorted out to see a class-related discussion or social discussion boards, like a filter.
•Anonymous(graphical)profile image to a real photo, letters of a name.

Interactive lecture room - Students would like to be able to find all the content related to each lecture in the link underneath it
Feedback & Recommendations:
•There was overall confusion around whether other students would be able to see their questions and raising hands during a lecture.
• It will be good to have a separate page that displays all past videos to watch at a later date. 

Module dashboard - Need clarity on whether students would also be able to see this information or if it is just for staff
Feedback & Recommendations:
•Using AI features to reduce staff time and effort in managing big cohorts will be extremely valuable to allow time to provide more personal teaching to students
•Management of teaching material is a big pain point overall and lecturer users need a simple way to upload and manage content
•Technical recommendation to make students aware of how the AI works because there is likely to be a high number of students who would be dissatisfied if they thought they were paying for an AI to teach them 
•Creating modules requires a huge amount of admin approval from many different teams
• As a staff/tutor, I want to have a real-time view on student engagement, top queries and chat transcripts to allow delivery of pro-active student pastoral support at scale


Expanded trust between partners that we will increase experience and value. Proved the value of user research in the discovery phase as it is at the core of increasing business goals. The positive feedback succeeded to extend a contract and associate with the client for a long-term UX vision.
Learning from impact
The Discovery phase is all about gathering data from both business and users.
This product started from poorly defined business requirements, lack of  clear target user groups. The Discovery phase is the most underrated phase of a project lifecycle but it is a crucial first step to avoid project failure.

Practical Service Design
It is the process of translating ideas into reality, making abstract thoughts tangible and concrete whether it is for a new solution or an existing product.
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