What do a 70-year-old aspiring playwright, a young mother of eight, and an Italian architect making a career move into mechanical engineering have in common? More than you might think. For starters, they're all university students.
Understanding our student users is paramount to delivering the best online study support service in the world. When it comes to Studiosity users, we're very aware that there is no one 'persona'. Students are extremely diverse, with richly varied backgrounds, abilities and interests. So what goes into developing a product and service that anyone and everyone with an interest in learning will love and use?
Well, constant feedback is one thing. We love reading through the hundreds of comments students leave every day after their interactions with Studiosity. We aim to listen, truly listen, to what students tell us could be improved and what they love most about the service.
One of the ways we do this is by inviting them to meet with us in person - which is exactly what happened on a rainy morning in January this year.
A group of students from the University of Canberra, Western Sydney University, Murdoch University, ICMS and University of Newcastle gathered together at a warehouse space in Chippendale, central Sydney, to discuss their experiences with Studiosity, how we might improve our accessibility and usability, and their thoughts on some of the bigger 'student life' issues, such as academic honesty and graduate employability.
Also, there were donuts. 🍩
The morning started off with a 'design thinking' workshop run by our Product Lead, Brendon, and Student Experience Manager, Sophia. They engaged the students in small groups to re-imagine the Studiosity dashboard, drawing up their ideas and thinking about the optimal experience.
Then we had some group discussion around the 'online' student experience (or, as we often call it, the student experience). All students are online students these days, to a certain extent, and each person in attendance had a unique perspective on their university's experience.
Douglas, a 70-year-old creative writing major who has returned to study now after dropping out of high school in Year 10 (!), shared his concerns about the accessibility of digital services for people with disabilities. We spoke with him at length about our accessibility standards and how we're aiming even higher in 2020.
Sunita, an international student studying a Master of Research, talked about how support services like Studiosity can be hard to find out about.
"I was talking with another classmate and asked, 'have you used Studiosity?', and he said 'isn't that more of an undergraduate thing?' I wasn't sure, but I tried it out and found the feedback really helpful for my structure, grammar, in-text citations - especially because English is not my first language. I'm so glad I tried it even though my classmate dismissed it!"
We also talked about academic integrity, why it's important, and if those in attendance had any experience with seeing ads for cheating services or any moments where they thought there was a 'grey area' when it came to academic honesty. Most students were in agreement that plagiarism can be better explained and prevented with more support, and that inadvertent cheating would be devastating to a well-meaning student.
Finally, on the topic of graduate employability, attendees were treated to a talk from Studiosity's CEO Mike Larsen, who told a very engaging story about his career journey and the particular attributes and skills that have helped him get ahead throughout his work life. Everyone enjoyed asking him questions and we all felt inspired by his story.
"At Studiosity, we're always learning too - so it's amazing to hear students' feedback on how we can continue to improve the platform and experience. It was wonderful hearing from so many students about how Studiosity is supporting their academic journey, and improving their confidence, and academic experience."
- Mike Larsen, CEO, Studiosity
Watch this 'behind the scenes' footage from the meetup morning, and hear from some of the wonderful students who came along about their experience with Studiosity:
Check our list of university, school, college, TAFE, and library partners to see if you get FREE access to 24/7 online study help, too: