This project for Hackville 2021 focused on improving Sheridan College's Accessible Learning (AL) Accommodations application to help students with educational barriers reach their full potential.
🏆 Our product came in 3rd place out of 100+ participants.
The Accessible Learning Accommodations process has an onerous amount of in-person communication, requiring students to make appointments with professors who must accompany them to the AL office to fill out the mandatory paperwork.
In order to create a better system that is more accessible and convenient for students, we wanted to streamline and simplify this process. Here are the proposed recommendations we came up with to enhance the experience for everyone involved in the process.
Students can track and save their application progress
Accommodation records can be sent directly to their professors
Students can contact or schedule meetings with an advisor for inquiries
Additional resources would be shared to ease uncertainties with the process
“How might we collaborate within our communities to reimagine learning and education so that no one is left behind and all youth and adults can realize their full potential?”
Due to the hackathon's 36-hour time limit, we focused on the pain points based on two of our team members' experiences with the Accessible Learning Accommodations process.
Students had to talk back and forth and make appointments with the AL staff until the paper work was completed.
Students had to contact their AL Advisor every term in order to forward their accommodation records to professors.
Since applying for AL accommodations is a lengthy process, students felt overwhelmed while trying to adjust to a new school environment and semester.
Predicated on the problem and key information, a persona was created to identify and list the user's goals, needs and frustrations.
We followed Sheridan College's branding since we wanted to integrate our system into their website.
A walkthrough of the new Sheridan Accessible Learning Portal's features to help students apply for learning accommodations, book appointments and get requests approved for test/exam accommodations at Sheridan College.
This timeline helps students to see their application progress. It walks them through all the steps they need to take in order to have their application completed.
Students can now upload their required documents through the portal which eliminates the need to run around campus in order to print and deliver documents. This also allows them to easily access their documents at any time.
Students can see what dates and time slots are available to book an appointment with their Accessible Learning Advisor. This enables them to easily pick a date that works best for their schedule.
The "Requests" tab enables students to request test/exam accommodations, deadline extensions and equipment they might need. Their accessibility advisor and professor are notified in order to approve the request. This serves as a hub for students to request anything for their accommodations on one platform.
This portal has an accessibility menu to allows users to toggle among different settings to accommodate various needs. This includes bigger text, a screen reader and contrasting colours for people who are visually-impaired.
One of my teammates and I saw that there were areas for continued development in our work that was created within the hackathon’s 36-hour time limit. Here are the changes we made to improve the prototype.
The colours used for the timeline for the application process were potentially confusing
Using red for completed tasks can cause users to mistake them as incomplete, since red is associated with alerts and warning
Using red and green which are commonly used to indicate incomplete and completed tasks respectively provides an instant visual aid
Showing the appointment times that are no longer available (in grey) is meaningless since users cannot book these sessions
In order to reduce confusion and information overload, the taken time slots were removed