My EdTech Workarounds

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Despite many schools transitioning back to in-person learning, EdTech is ingrained in my daily life as a student. EdTech does not merely assist learning, but it is necessary for many aspects of learning in a technology-centered world. Some classes are still held entirely online or rely heavily on online platforms. In my article on “How Professors are Adapting to EdTech,” I said, “We adapt to make the technology work for us, but tech problems are a huge daily challenge.” I adapt to the EdTech challenges I encounter as a student, but I continue to return to these platforms despite their problems.

Canvas

Canvas is a course management platform where professors can organize class announcements, quizzes, grades, Zoom links, etc.

Problem: 

The default notification settings gave me way too many notifications. I would get notifications from the Canvas app and notifications from my email.

Customer Experience Workaround: 

I went to the in-app settings and turned off all of my Canvas push notifications and most of my email notifications.

How did I find this solution?

I found this solution by exploring the app. I went to settings and looked through the preferences that applied to me, a simple fix.

Why do I continue to use Canvas?

It is the course management tool my university requires. I have not always used Canvas. In high school, my school used Schoology.

Zoom

Problem: 

My problem with Zoom was that screen sharing was not working on my laptop. It just stopped working one day. I updated the app and double-checked settings, but screen sharing still would not work.

Customer Experience Workaround: 

I was restarting my computer for another issue not related to Zoom, but I inadvertently fixed screen sharing.

How did I find this solution?

I found this solution by accident. First, I searched for help articles online. They told me to check the settings and update the app. Neither of those fixed the problem, so I just left the problem; however, restarting my laptop worked to fix this problem unintentionally.

Why do I continue to use Zoom?

I continue to use Zoom because it is the default video conferencing platform for my university. Outside of class, I do also use Zoom to work on projects or do homework with classmates. I use Zoom over other video conferencing platforms because I am comfortable with it and it has straightforward meeting invites. Oftentimes, I do not know everyone in a class group chat or have everyone’s contact information saved, so sending a link makes it easy for them to join without me knowing their email or other information.

Gradescope

Students can upload assignments to and take tests on Gradescope

Problem: 

It is difficultbothersome to assign pages to a question on Gradescope, especially on a mobile device like a tablet. It is as if it was built just for a desktop.

Customer Experience Workaround:Solution: 

I’m not sure if this can even qualify as a solution, but here it is - To make assigning pages a little less challenging, I change my tablet from portrait mode to landscape mode, or even switch to my laptop to avoid the problem altogether.

How did I find this solution?

I found this solution through trial and error. Using my tablet in portrait mode was not working well, so I tried landscape.

Why do I continue to use Gradescope?

It is required for many classes, if it wasn’t, I would have no reason to use Gradescope.

Panopto

Panopto  is a video management tool. Professors upload recordings of their lectures for students to watch later.

Problem: 

When a video is uploaded to Panopto, you can not see comments that other students left in the Zoom chat. 

Customer Experience Workaround: 

There isn’t a solution for this from the student side, because the professor is the one who uploads the videos. 

Why do I continue to use Panopto?

This is the only place where I can access many professors' lecture recordings, so I have to use Panopto.

Notability

Notability is a mobile app for taking notes. 

Problem: 

Two of my issues with Notability were that users can not make a folder within a folder or easily use different “types of paper” within one note.

Customer Experience Workaround:

Unfortunately, I have not found a fix for either of these and to be honest, I shouldn’t have to be the person hunting for a solution.

Why do I continue to use Notability?

I continue to use notability because it feels like I am stuck with it. Most of my notes are on there, so the idea of starting over with another competitive app just seems daunting to me. Besides, there isn’t really a better option, so for now, I will continue to use a product that can only be described as “meh”.

Convenient Self-Serve Support is Critical to EdTech

Many of the EdTech platforms that I have mentioned throughout my series of articles on the topic, I have to use because my school requires them. Yet customer experience and product managers still need to keep in mind why their products  are so widely used. They are used because, one, they achieve their purpose. For example, Canvas is an effective course management system. And, two, they are for the most part, user-friendly. 


It is easy to see why my university chooses to use them - they are both effective and their onboarding is somewhat benign. They are both effective and user-friendly. However, some, I just see as a necessary evil. I am forced to use the platform and the features are clunky, or I constantly run into problems that are hard to fix. It would be nice if I did not have to find workarounds at all, but I do and it distracts me from work. What separates the platforms that are enjoyable to use from the platforms I view as necessary evils is how painless it is for me to actually use them on a day-to-day basis. Can I press a button in the app to view an article with more information? Is there a chat feature? Or do I have to call and wait on hold to get help? CX managers need to keep in mind how users get help when they run into issues to keep their users engaged and actually wanting to use their product. Making sure users have easy access to self-serve support tools like a Knowledge base, articles or tutorials is critical to the success of not only EdTech platforms, but all apps and software in general. The best way to keep me and my Gen Z peers engaged, is well, to educate us on how to best use your product. Is it wrong to ask EdTech to actually teach us? One can only dream.









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Nicole Ike

I'm a college student studying economics at Stanford with a passion for communication, marketing, and writing. When I’m not writing, I’m probably showing someone pictures of my dog or cat, making a new playlist, or trying to finish a book off of my ever-growing book list.

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