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Academic Technology Design Team - User Experience Research

The ATDT conducts user experience research that includes analyzing data from students, faculty, and staff then making design recommendations on efforts that impact student success. We also specialize in facilitating design thinking activities to generate multiple perspectives on a problem.

User Experience Process

Image that graphically shows our step by step process detailed in list below

  1. Understand: Identifying user needs, pain points, and goals. Collect data by designing and conducting user-experience activities and assessments (e.g., usability testing, focus groups, surveys, heuristics evaluations, card sorts, and observational studies).
  2. Brainstorm: Work with analytics experts to translate large-data sets into insights.
  3. Prototype: Develop scenarios, tests, and prototypes.
  4. Test: Facilitate review of prototype and get feedback from testers.
  5. Refine: Final design is completed. Analyze and report on the findings from the user-experience activities and assessments.


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Refining Online Student
IT Support

OIT examined the experiences of online students to identify opportunities to improve and refine the online student IT support model.

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CU Study Buddies

The CU Study Buddies pilot helps connect students who are interested in studying together to strengthen their sense of belonging and be more successful in their courses.

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Assessing Technology
Needs in the Classroom

The Learning Experience Designers are partnering with the Learning Spaces Technology Team to document the experiences of instructors and students when they use classroom technologies in an effort to incorporate the most pressing needs into classroom upgrades and redesigns.

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Classroom Capture
User Engagement

The Classroom Capture service automates the recording of course lectures to provide students a convenient way to stream course content. After being installed in classrooms across campus, the ATDT was asked to examine how instructors and students use Classroom Capture by analyzing metadata, conducting surveys, interviews, and more.

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Cidi Labs Template
Design & User Testing

The Academic Technology Applications (ATAP) team wanted to create a set of templates for CU instructors to make Cidi Labs easier to use, and to improve the student experience in Canvas. They asked the Learning Experience Designers (LxDs) to gather data to inform the template design, and to perform user testing on the templates before launching.

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Metacognition in the Large
Lecture Classroom

Trash & Treasure (CLAS/ARTH 1509) is a large lecture course that relies heavily on qualitative measures of student learning. Professor Dusinberre wanted students to have an opportunity to increase metacognition skills without changing the course to rely on quantitative measures of learning, and without dramatically increasing the already heavy grading load for her and her TAs.

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UEAC Explorer
Programming Pilot

The UEAC provides advising support for students whose major and career goals span multiple colleges. Our pilot aims to help the UEAC develop successful strategies and resources to better support this growing student population during their time at CU Boulder and beyond.

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Designing a Seamless
Online Student Experience

The online student experience is fragmented, which leads to missed registration dates, unwaived health insurance fees, and general student frustration. To improve this, leaderships will need to make the underlying technology and the overarching business services organization invisible to the students.

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Exploring the First 6 Weeks
of the Student Experience

The Office of Data Analytics approached OIT to help map out the first six weeks of the student experience. We wanted to better understand the first six weeks of the student experience in terms of communications received, and what social, academic, and administrative opportunities students are provided.

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Large Lecture
Discovery Work

Large lecture courses are a staple of the undergraduate student experience at CU Boulder, encompassing approximately 41% of students’ classroom experience. ATDT and ASSETT are conducting campus-wide discovery work to better understand the large lecture student experience on our campus.

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User Experience Evaluation
of ePortfolio Tools

Online portfolios or ePortfolios are starting to play a significant role in the student academic experience and in supporting student success initiatives on higher-education campuses. The User Experience Research and Design team conducted a study to evaluate the user experience of tools identified as possible options for the CU Boulder campus.

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Supporting Students During
D2L/Canvas Migration

As part of the D2L to Canvas Migration Project, the campus will have access to two learning management systems (LMS) starting Spring 2018. Students will need to find and use the right LMS for their course. The goal of the User Experience Design Team was to understand and recommend approaches to help students access the right LMS.

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Previous User Experience Research

CSCI 1200: The Art of Computational Thinking

The Department of Computer Science, with the help of the ATDT, is designing an introductory programming course for students who might not think of themselves as “programmers” yet. CSCI 1200, The Art of Computational Thinking, will be open to students across campus and will teach Python, a programming language used in many disciplines and careers for data visualization. Students will learn how computers think, and will gain skills they can apply in a wide variety of projects and majors. The course will be designed with scalability in mind, so that students can be accommodated beyond the capacity of classroom space on campus if needed. Read more

Selecting a Campus LMS

CU Boulder launched a faculty and student-driven initiative to evaluate and identify the best tool to meet CU Boulder’s teaching, learning, and administrative needs. As part of this initiative, we engaged in an user-centered effort to collect data about the student and faculty experience with three different LMSs. Read more

Diverse Learners Awareness Week 2017

Building on the success of the inaugural 2016 Diverse Learners Awareness Week (DLAW), the 2017 DLAW took place the week of February 18 - 22 on the CU Boulder and CU Denver campuses. The goal was to continue promoting the CU Boulder Accessibility Policy and various resources available on campus, as well as to connect with faculty, students, and the community. Read more about DLAW 2017.

EBIO 1210: General Biology

ATDT collaborated with the EBIO 1210 instructional team to further their efforts to improve student learning. Recommendations included incorporating Universal Design for Learning principles, alignment of instructional strategies with assessments, and reenvisioning TA roles and responsibilities to better support students. Read More about EBIO 1210: General Biology

Pathway to Space

The ATDT is excited to partner with Chris Koehler on the design of Pathway to Space, the kickoff course for CU’s new cross-campus Space Minor. In support of the Chancellor’s Grand Challenge Initiative, "Our Space. Our Future." Pathway to Space will welcome undergraduate students from all majors to the exciting and ever-expanding field of space studies. Read More about Pathway to Space.

New Student Welcome Experience

In January 2015, the ATDT was tasked with reenvisioning CU Boulder’s student orientation. Over the next six months, we partnered with campus leadership and more than 20 contributing units to build the New Student Welcome Experience, a robust and personalized online orientation environment for CU’s largest incoming classRead More about the New Student Welcome Experience.

Reimagining Introduction to Engineering

Introduction to Engineering was envisioned as an on-campus MOOC (Massive Online Course), that integrated residential campus resources with MOOC teaching techniques in order to achieve learning objectives, scale future offerings, and provide students with a flexible and individualized experience. Read More about this project.

Flipping International Student Orientation

In the Fall of 2014, we launched an online international student orientation environment in Desire2Learn in collaboration with ISSS. The Pre-Arrival Orientation is a learner-centered, user-driven space where students can explore CU Boulder from anywhere in the world. Read More about the flipped International Student Orientation.

Gut Check: Exploring Your Microbiome MOOC

Members of the BioFrontiers Institute approached the ATDT to develop a massive open online course (MOOC) that would increase general interest in and understanding of the human microbiome (i.e., the collection of microbes in and on your body) and further public involvement in scientific endeavors. Learn More about the Gut Check MOOC.

Comic Books and Graphic Novels MOOC

Comic Books and Graphic Novels is one of the first and most successful MOOCs at CU Boulder. This MOOC focused on fostering creative expression, building community, and experimenting with innovative assessments. It brought together 70,000+ participants, who posted rave course reviews all over the internet. Read More about the Comic Books and Graphic Novels MOOC

Water in the Western US MOOC

Why is water at the heart of so much conflict in the American West? For this MOOC, we interwove the perspective of water experts from all over the US with our team from CU Boulder. Participants were led through a final project to track their water footprint. Read More

Investigating the Student Experience with D2L

CU Boulder launched a faculty and student-driven initiative to evaluate D2L and other LMSs and to identify the best tool to meet teaching, learning, and administrative needs. As part of this initiative, we engaged in an effort to better understand the student experience with D2L. Read more about this research.

Integrating Student Schedules with Google Calendar

Would students like for their Google calendar to populate with their class schedule, link to Google maps, and other information? This work sought to investigate this question further. Read more about this research.

Usability Testing of a Course Creation Tool: LMS Manager

An LMS Manager is a tool that simplifies and expedites the creation and administration of LMS courses. Faculty can use this tool to instantly create, view, and edit online courses and perform other activities, such as managing teaching staff, auditors, course sections, and more. Read more about the LMS Manager.

Diverse Learners Awareness Week 2016

Partially funded by a CU-System Diversity and Excellence Grant, Diverse Learners Awareness Week was a project co-sponsored by OIT and Disability Services, and included partnerships with the CU Boulder Chancellor’s Accessibility Committee and the Colorado Learning and Teaching with Technology (COLTT) Conference. The initiative is now part of OIT’s Strategic Plan and will be an annual event that builds community and aligns with the Diversity and Inclusion Summit. Read more about DLAW 2016.