Learn
from the
Isolation
of your
own Home.

In five days, we discovered a growing problem with online education and designed a prototype to help make the experience significantly better.

Homie Bot

The Anomaly

The online education industry is booming. But, we discovered an anomaly between its growth and the actual results it’s having on students.

Online Education is Growing

5.8 million

Students enrolled online.

Source: U.S. News

13 years

Number of consecutive years enrollment has grown.

Source: Online Learning Consortium

$100B+

The size of the online education industry.

Source: Forbes

But it’s not working…

Gap in Completion Rates

Traditional Classroom
Online Courses

1-in-3 faculty use social media for teaching because education-specific tools don't work well.

Source: Pearson Education

80%

Percentage of students who think college isn’t worth the money

Source: Time Magazine

What’s Going On?

We chatted with leaders in the online higher education space to find out what isn’t working.

Seth Kelly Person

Online education is all about relationships. And it’s really difficult to build a one-to-one relationship online.

Seth Odell Helix Education

Ellie Maia Joanne Ameer

The tools that students and professors use don’t always talk to each other. They are not completely integrated.

Ellie Rivera Suny Broome

The Problem:

Isolation

Despite incredible growth in the online higher education sector, students and faculty often feel isolated and alone throughout the classroom experience.

Zzzz

Online students are putting in far less effort than their on-campus peers. Consequently, they're falling behind.

Technology

Meanwhile, professors find themselves investigating other technology—often using social media to bridge the gaps.

Our Approach

A group of us met for an intensive five-day workshop in Chicago to get to the heart of the problem in order to come up with a real solution.

Craig

Craig

CEO

Lisa

Lisa

Marketing Director

Jennifer

Jennifer

Front-End Developer

Gage

Gage

Designer

Wil

Wil

Over-Caffeinated Facilitator

32

Cups of coffee

(26 cups for Wil)

1,123

Post-it™ notes

5 Day Design Sprint

Day 1:

Understanding

Review the research, frame the problem and identify the user.

Day 2:

Generating Ideas

Discover opportunities, brainstorm and strategize.

Day 3:

Sketching

Outline ideal user workflow, discuss technology and map the solution.

Day 4-5:

Prototyping and Testing

Design and test our theories with influencers and experts.

Craig thinking
Brainstorming
Notes

What We Found

No Technology

We’re not going to solve this problem with more technology.

Creating a shiny new app is tempting but it wasn’t the best answer. Behavior and habits matter just as much as technology.

Remote Companies

Online education can learn from remote companies.

As a remote-first company, we discovered that employing similar tools to online higher ed would be beneficial to students and professors alike.

Existing Tools

Go where people already are.

Existing technologies, like Slack, already have a high adoption rate. Marrying these tools in a unique way could benefit students and professors alike.

Our Solution

A Slack room is setup based on data pulled from the University’s student management database, a Slackbot encourages communication and a light-weight video chat application enables more face-to-face time.

Blackboard

Course Management Tool

Content pulled into Slack

Homeroom

Homeroom

A stand-alone video chat app that interfaces via slack and email

Slack

Slack

Accounts setup based on univ. database

Univ. Student Database

Univ. Student Database

Homie

Homie

A slack bot to encourage higher quality communication

The Result

At the end of our intensive workshop, we designed a prototype of a rejuvenated online learning experience, marrying Slack with Homeroom and Homie.

What Now?

We're in the midst of building this for use in universities across the world if you are interested in helping out or using this at your university, please contact us.