Achieving 90% adoption rate in the first month with an internal curriculum hub

How Arizona State University's MLFTC college addressed standardization, complexity, and permissions challenges with a Softr-built educational hub

arizona state university curriculum hub

The emergence of the curriculum hub

Derek is a senior learning designer at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College (MLFTC). In the past, he has worked as an instructional designer, data analyst, and front-end web developer for various educational institutions. At a certain point, he started thinking of creating a Curriculum Hub for MLFTC in order to standardize, connect, and visualize curriculum data across one of the largest universities in the world.

The main purpose of the curriculum hub was to improve the quality of educational programs by increasing connections across courses and programs. Since each course or program was teaching its own content in an isolated manner, it was often hard for students to understand where they’re at with their current knowledge and experience and what the next possible steps are in their educational journey.

With the MLFTC Curriculum Hub, we can standardize how courses and programs are described and organized in a machine-readable format and visualize those connections for end-users within our context so that they can see and understand those connections and act on them in their teaching and learning.”

Derek Thurber, Senior Learning Designer, Arizona State University

list of programs

The challenges posed by the previous implementation

Before trying out Softr, Derek and his team relied on Airtable and Google Sheets to organize all the information. However, they faced some challenges including

  • There was a lack of standardization as multiple data sources were used, and how users entered the data wasn’t really regulated either.
  • It was challenging for the users to enter, update, or interpret information within a complex Airtable setup.
  • More advanced access and edit permissions were needed based on the user’s role and faculty title (e.g. a group of users can see all the program details but can update info only in their own program).

Thus, the Curriculum Hub team was looking for a solution that could effectively address all the challenges mentioned above. And this is when Softr entered the scene.

reference guides

How Softr addressed the challenges

Derek and his team found out that the combination of Softr and Airtable allowed them to stick with the data management approach they had already been familiar with and also address standardization, complexity, and permissions challenges they had been facing. With the current Curriculum Hub setup, Softr provides the same easy-to-navigate interface to all users and allows them to apply the needed level of limitation on data input and updating to ensure consistency across the platform. But most importantly, Softr allows them to translate raw data into clean, interactive, and custom user interface. The way Softr organizes data into dynamic directories makes it really easy for users to search and filter massive amounts of data to find what they need in a matter of seconds.

We can now enable certain users to update information related to their courses or programs rather than working through a user with access to Airtable. This functionality has enabled us to keep the information up to date in real time, which has always been a critical challenge in maintaining the data in the past.”

Derek Thurber, Senior Learning Designer, Arizona State University

For Derek, the two defining characteristics of Softr that have made him choose the platform have been its usability and flexibility. Prior to selecting Softr, Derek and his team had tried out several other no-code tools, but those had proven to be either too complex for non-tech users or had too many limitations which didn’t allow them to implement the requirements that the Curriculum Hub team had defined for their project.

“With Softr, we launched a fully-functional app in under two months and continue to find new ways to expand its use and functionality to more and more areas of the college operations almost daily.”

Derek Thurber, Senior Learning Designer, Arizona State University

defiant cnc employee using the client portal

First results and what’s next

In the first month since officially launching the MLFTC Curriculum Hub, they have had more than 1,200 unique users accessing the platform, 195 of which created accounts to get full access to features and data. These numbers equate to approximately 40 percent of the total faculty and staff user base and over 90 percent of the users whose core responsibilities revolve around the curriculum. So, the results are quite remarkable, and the rapid rate of adoption has shown the value of the MLFTC Curriculum Hub for the internal audience. Derek and the team anticipate even higher levels of engagement as more data and features are incorporated.

The Curriculum Hub team is currently working to identify more ways to summarize and visualize data across courses and programs to enhance and improve the data-driven decision-making facilitated by the platform.

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