CollabZone App

By: Kerry, Sharon & Sue

We felt a critical component was missing from online learning and we wanted to include an inclusive, safe environment where students can engage in intellectual risk taking. Breaking free of the fear of intellectual risk is integral to a students success, as they will be free to engage with their peers in a judgement free zone. 

Using new software for the first time can be an overwhelming and intimidating experience. Keeping this in mind, we wanted to ensure our App would be accessible, and user friendly, as well as offer an easy to use tool. Based on empathic design, a few things we had to consider within the design thinking process was to appeal to the diversity of all students. The application will be accessible to hearing, learning and visually impaired students, as well as students who may encounter a language barrier. We want the student to be able to access the software from any laptop (PC/Mac), smartphone, desktop or tablet. To view a more detailed, visual representation of the proposed software, please view the following link: CollabZone App

The decision to develop a mobile app in a world that currently has over 1 million prototypes submitted to Apple and Android app stores each year, revealed that the biggest challenge was how to stand out from the crowd. To that end, the initial analysis and research activities were crucial in the early stages of our development process to identify the key selling features of the app. From an instructional designer perspective, the first question we asked ourselves was: Is there a gap in the learner’s ability to communicate with their peers? The answer was a resounding yes, which we chose as our founding principal in our design. As online learners are not restricted to geographic areas, their global environment means they can potentially live anywhere and speak any language. In fact, online learners are truly mobile in that their physical mobility is not restricted by the limitations inherent in face-to-face interactions. Therefore, their access to communicate with each other, regardless of language, should reflect this openness. Hence our app is a translator that transcends language barriers for learners to engage in a safe and supportive space.

We wanted to ensure the features could be easily transferred and uploaded to an App used by a college/university. Websites such as Zappar, Zoho and Cloud business allow the App creator to take full control of the virtual world and assist with adding desired features and augmented reality into their software. We would work closely with an instructional designer from the institution to ensure policies and procedures are upheld. Instructional designers will help us manage analyze and consult with the project to ensure we create a cohesive online application. Most educational institutions take socio-economic status into consideration, as did our group in designing the App. If the student cannot afford a device, the institution can lend this out. Students can log in together if they feel comfortable enough to do so from one device and if needed, students can even access a computer for free from a public or school library. 

We feel this App will offer an innovative learning community with a universal language, constructing meaning together without boundaries. Would you consider using our CollabZone App to engage in intellectual risk?


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