2013 – 2015

UX/UI Lead

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Learning à la modular

Learning Modules (LMOD)

Learning Modules is a Learning Management System (LMS) developed at MIT from 2013 – 2015.

Our project team built MIT’s second-generation Learning Management System. We consisted of fifteen people divided into three groups: QA and customer outreach, backend/API, and UX/UI. I was the team lead for the latter. Here’s a listing of the modules we made.

One of the issues we uncovered by our research was how cumbersome it was for students to keep track of data spread across different systems. This is an issue beyond our project, but it served as a reminder to respect a basic tenet of interaction design:

Navigation through the functions or features of a digital product is largely excise.
Alan Cooper et al., About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design, Fourth Edition, 2014

Students should be able to see what’s added, what’s changed, what’s due, … without having to go look for it.

To this purpose, I designed a timeline interface which pieces together the data across modules and subjects. It provides a window into the now, the proximal future and the recent past. Everything a student needs to stay on top of their academic life.

Screenshot of an early version of the student dashboard timeline.

This timeline comes from a project inspired by the LMOD timeline. Its workings were similar, though it consumed a larger variety of data. Here, financial, housing, and academic inputs are consumed in addition to the Learning Modules API.

The left-hand side displays upcoming events such as those coming from the academic and subject calendars as well as assignment due dates.

In the center a stream of notifications is displayed, alerting the student to the addition of class announcements, materials, discussions posted, changes in membership, posted grades, etc.

Finally, the right-hand side allowed the student to filter by course and by module.

Amongst the first things I did when I started leading the LMOD team was to establish CSS guidelines and establish a design system, it was instrumental in achieving consistency in our patterns. Clarity obviously trumps consistency, but consistency often helps clarity.

Screenshot of a CSS counter based progress tracker component in MIT LMOD Styleguide v2. Screenshot of button components in MIT LMOD styleguide v3.

The second and third generation of the applications we created to house our design system documentation. I really need to take a new screenshot to get rid of that annoying statusbar.

The project was frozen soon after its release, as it looked like our department had decided it didn’t want to be in the LMS business. I’m proud of what our team accomplished—it was a good group, but LMOD is alpha software, and still had a lot of maturing to do.

LMOD course guide module LMOD subject list in the course guide LMOD Class module LMOD class dashboard LMOD gradebook module student detail view LMOD materials module, inline image viewing
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