Sometimes you just have to ask.
One of our long-standing customers, Westley Field of Waverley College in Australia, a Catholic school for boys serving grades 5-12, submitted the below request through our Haiku Learning Feedback Forum.
"Hello. Is it possible to create a class and then have it automatically available to all users within an organization? I would also like to be able to make one class available to all teachers automatically."
Westley’s reasons for wanting to facilitate “automatic” sharing amongst teachers within his school will probably come as no surprise to most educators:
"For far too long, the factory model of learning has boxed teachers into silos and prevented sharing of ideas and class structures. One great quality about teachers is their willingness to share, practice, and learn from each other…The ability to allow others to view [classes] opens those doors and makes it easy for all to share.”
It’s more than just sharing
Hmm...sharing content. Many of our experienced customers are probably thinking ‘Wait, you can share content in Haiku Learning! We do it all the time!’ However, this request wasn’t just about sharing content. And yes, btw, there are many ways to share content in our platform--just see them all below!
Westley, who is the Director of Learning Innovation at the school, was looking for this: view-only access to classes, at scale, within one’s domain. Of all our modes of sharing content and granting permissions, “Shadowing” came the closest, but it’s intended for a 1:1 basis. “Anyone on the Web” enables view-only access at scale--but that includes, well, anyone on the web! A little too “public” for some people.
Collaboration at scale with no “administrative headaches”
Needless to say, we’re so excited to announce that Haiku Learning has just made this possible by adding two brand new Class Visibility settings! Just tell your Domain Administrator to set Class visibility settings to either “All people in the Organization of the Class” or “All people in your Haiku Learning Domain” depending on the level scale needed.
Emily Jeanes, a Haiku Learning Sales Engineer and the writer behind our App of the Week blog, sums up the benefits of this new setting from an administrator’s perspective: “It invites others in their school to view without risk, administrative headaches, or complex permissioning tools. It was the answer to 'Shadowing permissions is hard at scale!’ and 'I just want my teachers to collaborate without giving them editing rights!’”
From a teacher’s standpoint, the view-only access is a low-pressure way for teachers to have windows into each other’s classes to learn from each other without fear of accidentally changing something in the class! As Westley said, "It gives [teachers] the opportunity to easily see what others in their organization are doing and how they’re doing it. We can allow teachers, who are unsure of how to structure [classes] using our desired school model, an opportunity to see how others have done it."
The many faces of collaboration
We couldn’t help but reflect on the community that happened behind this feature request, especially since there’s been so much discussion lately about how edtech companies and schools need to work together to drive innovation that educators really need.
Westley reached out to us in other ways beyond submitting the above ticket to our Feedback Forum. He emailed his education rep directly. And he spent time with several of us at an iNACOL conference.
He even met with one of our developers, Marcos Wright-Kuhns, to discuss his desired features. Westley had a layover in Portland, Oregon where Marcos lives, so they spent the day discussing ideas and requirements.
Marcos has been with Haiku Learning since its inception in 2007 and loves the moments like that where he gets that face to face interaction with customers: "When I sit down with a Haiku Learning customer, it almost always results in dozens of exciting new ideas.”
Of course, no edtech company can immediately grant every feature request that comes in, even when you’re speaking directly with a senior developer! Our philosophy is based on the essential 80: if at least 80% of our users will find a feature an asset and not an obstacle, then we'll consider building it. We do this to avoid the feature bloat that many LMS’s have succumbed to in recent years. Our goal is to remain clean, uncluttered, and focused on the features that users really need.
As it turns out, that 80% wasn’t hard to come by. The request quickly gained popularity with our customers as they voiced their support in the Feedback Forum.
"As we got more and more requests that truly support the “community" aspect of Haiku Learning's motto, the request became more and more popular,” said Emily. “Over time, we amassed a huge list of 'Interested Users.'”
After the great interest shown, it was a matter of prioritization, time, and resources on our part. And the window recently opened up to finally make it happen.
“As a developer it's sometimes intimidating thinking of the effort it might take to bring a customer’s vision to reality,” said Marcos. “So it's extra exciting when we take the time to polish, perfect, and release customer requests."
Now that it’s here...
So what is Westley going to do now with this new feature? Exactly what he set out to do above.
"I plan to publish a list of classes that are designed using the structure that we are hoping to see across our school. I will advertise the names of the classes and invite other interested teachers to view them. I will also add a list of [classes] to a teacher professional development community page (on Haiku Learning) for future reference if others (such as those going for new positions at our school) are interested in viewing exemplar models.”
Westley collaborating with teachers at Waverley College, a Catholic school for boys in Australia.
Sharing, collaborating, and building communities have have all taken off in recent years with the surging popularity of collaborative forums like Personal Learning Communities (PLCs) and the dozens of ed tech Twitter chats that happen on a nightly basis.
We love that we can help facilitate that as well through our learning platform, our Feedback Forum and our Community Forum. As Emily aptly put, “It became an emblem of our continued hope for deeper collaboration between teachers."
We’d love to hear how others schools will be using these new settings since we know so many of you have been waiting for it! Let us know in our Community Forum!
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