Customer Story
Higher Ed

Delivering a Better Online Student Experience with Class

Miami Dade College, the largest undergraduate enrollment institution in the country, implemented Class to foster a more engaging virtual learning experience and to establish an integrated, intuitive EdTech ecosystem for students and staff.

MIAMI DADE COLLEGE AT-A-GLANCE

#1

largest undergraduate enrollment in the country

57%

of sessions leverage enhanced breakout rooms to improve engagement

10,000

students enrolled in synchronous online courses

Contents

The ChallengeAddressing a need to engage virtual students more effectively

With eight different campuses, over 100,000 students, and more than 300 distinct degree pathways, Miami Dade College (MDC) is one of the largest and most diverse institutions in the United States. In order to accommodate the many MDC students balancing careers and raising families while pursuing their education, the institution used traditional video conferencing tools and other EdTech systems to develop online synchronous programs. Nevertheless, there were limitations with the tools used in effectively engaging learners or delivering the curriculum efficiently.

“Learner engagement is really important inside and outside of the classroom,” begins Mariah Schuemann, Instructional Designer at MDC. “If they’re not engaged, they’re sleeping, checking [their] phones, maybe cooking lunch—especially in the virtual spaces. So how do we keep students accountable in virtual spaces when it’s obviously more challenging than in in-person traditional classrooms?”

“Student engagement is a big deal at Miami Dade, and it’s also a big deal for me as a faculty member,” adds Dr. Allison Hudson, Assistant Professor at MDC. “And [engaging students] is sometimes a lot easier to do face-to-face. You can really establish that personal connection in a physical learning environment. But online, that was challenging. So one of our main challenges was how to fully replicate the in-class experience and bring that online.”

To truly drive learner engagement, MDC needed to find a new virtual learning solution that could deliver a better online learning experience that was intuitive and efficient for students and staff alike.

The SolutionCreating an exceptional online experience for students and teachers

After discovering that Class could seamlessly integrate with their existing Canvas LMS, MDC felt they’d found the right online learning tool to deliver a more intuitive education experience for students and instructors. And since Class has already been proven to increase online learner engagement, MDC knew they’d see an incredible impact on student participation as well.

“Before Class, using the technology that we had available, it was a juggling act between presenting content that was in the LMS and presenting content that was online and other content that perhaps was living on my device,” recalls Allison. “Class allows me to put all those resources into one place. It made the process seamless, and I think that adds to the student experience within the online learning environment. So it not only allows me to manage the course better, but it helps with engagement as well. Students say it’s easy to navigate, easy to learn, and allows them to participate in the classroom session because they have their resources right at their fingertips.”

“I’ve been working in online education for nearly a decade, and I’ve seen a lot of web conferencing tools,” adds Miguel Suarez, Senior LMS Support Analyst at MDC. “What I like most about Class is that it’s more student-focused and student-centered than any of the other web conferencing tools that I’ve seen integrated in other learning management systems. The integration of Class with our LMS has been a breeze mainly because of the attention by the folks at Class that we work with directly, the knowledge base that’s available to us through Class, and the low learning curve for those using the tool.”

“I got really good feedback from students saying that it was easy to navigate, easy to learn, and allows them to participate in the classroom session because they had their resources right at their fingertips.”
portrait of doctor allison hudson of miami dade college
Dr. Allison Hudson, Assistant Professor, Miami Dade College
Unique opportunities to engage students

“I really appreciate the ability to monitor the pulse of engagement without students having to have their cameras on,” begins Mariah. “Because we all get video conferencing fatigue, and Class does a great job of providing opportunities for students who can’t have the camera on because of technological difficulties or interruptions. There are other ways for students to engage and show participation, such as polling or the collaborative whiteboard. By offering different types of engagement that quickly grabs their attention, there’s a little bit of accountability built into the platform itself, which keeps everybody on track.”

“For me, the most compelling feature in Class is the seamless integration into our Canvas LMS, or learning management system,” notes Miguel. “The LMS sync allows students to complete tasks, activities, or assessments right there in the Class user interface as soon as instructors provide the lecture or instruction. Before the integration, they would normally have to navigate to the learning management system to complete those items.”

“Students at times don’t feel seen. They may not be as eager to share an experience or answer a question or comment on a subject. But there are features in Class that allow a student to only share their camera with the instructor. That’s something that we thought was a game changer because it allows a student to feel comfortable and safe in that space,” celebrates Guillermo Ardon, Lead Academic Tech Technologist at MDC.

“In the virtual format, the process of taking attendance is usually cumbersome. I don’t have to worry about that anymore with Class [and Canvas],” shares Logan Saucer, Adjunct Faculty Member at MDC. “The student is automatically recognized as someone who is enrolled from my roster, which is updated on a regular basis through Canvas. So not only am I sure that the students there are the ones who are supposed to be there, but I’m also able to make sure from one class period to the next that I have an accurate attendance that doesn’t require any input on my part at all.”

The ResultIncreasing engagement, equity, & efficiency in a virtual environment

By integrating Class and Canvas, MDC was able to completely transform the online learning experience for both students and staff. “Before the Class platform was introduced into our ecosystem, it felt like we were talking to an empty room,” recalls Eduardo. “But thanks to Class, we can see the interactions and see students feel more natural in this remote environment. We can get them engaged in their education before they slip through the cracks.”

“What makes our online program unique in my opinion is taking the traditional classroom setting and bringing that into a virtual environment where the student is actually seen,” shares Guillermo. “I think that a lot of times students fall behind in a virtual classroom because they don’t feel present in front of the faculty or the instructor. With Class, we’ve created a safe place to interact, a safe place to engage in the conversation that is being held in the classroom. Class also empowers the instructor to feel as though they have more control and more features available to them that better enhance the classroom experience in general.”

With Class, Miami Dade College is:

Creating an in-person feel for students

“Student engagement is typically a lot easier to do face-to-face. You can really establish that personal connection in a physical learning environment. That was challenging for us online, but now Class allows me to engage students because I can identify students who aren’t participating and can encourage them to participate. I can call on them by name and ask them questions to get them engaged in the learning process. So that was a big win for us using Class,” says Allison.

Increasing equity and flexibility for students

"Equity and learning are tricky to navigate. We are trying to equalize the learning for everybody by providing a platform where if you can't make it to our campus, we'll take the campus to you. Now, students can choose from the best available courses no matter their schedules or location. Many students have to balance kids or careers, and we serve a large population of students who are 40 and up, who just want to reskill and don't have time to commute back and forth. Having this modality where you can interact both online and in-person helps us stand out as an institution," adds Eduardo.

Reallocating instructor time back to students

"One major benefit of using Class is the efficiency that it allows us as faculty. We essentially save time and that allows us to focus on our priority and our passion, which is teaching the student. I want to spend my time teaching the student; I don't want to spend my time learning the software or on updates or all the other things that you typically need to become a master of an EdTech tool. I just want to focus on teaching, and Class allows me to do that,” concludes Mariah.

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