Communote Research Summary Product, Users, tasks and environment

What do users think of the current product? (Mac Eng 15)

First Impressions from new visitors

"All the notes are for McMaster"

The purpose of the site is clear.

"I think it just look old, don’t know how to describe it."

The site could use an aesthetic update.

About the site's contents

"So this is a pretty popular Eng thing!"
"Good site for resources and valuable documents."

Users and first-time visitors are impressed by the number of offerings.

"Is there a way to filter anything?"
"I think it should be sorted as faculty-program-level-course- section"

The website needs a clear information hierarchy.

About tests and quizzes

"Are you allowed to put old tests online? It’s a good idea, but do you get in trouble?"

There is some confusion about plagarism rules.

"Tests are the best way to practice."
"The quizzes have been really helpful as some of the questions are the same/similar."

Nonetheless, it's one of Mac Eng 15's most important resources.

How did they find us?

"I came across it on Google when trying to find previous year's notes and papers."

When students don't know anyone in the class, they found it through Google.

"My friend recommended this website for review and preparation of tests."

Most people heard about Mac Eng 15 through word of mouth from friends and upper year students.

What are we doing well?

"And as a practical website full of valuable documents, I check mac eng 15 everytime when i need extra learning material for the courses."
"I look for notes when I missed a class."

A source to supplement learning.

"it was amazing for first and second mostly."

We have a lot of material for the larger classes in 1st and 2nd year courses.

"It's hard to find notes for my class online. Mac eng had some, but not a lot."

In some cases, the ONLY source of notes on the internet.

What is missing?

"I can't find my course notes online because it's such a small class."
"When I need notes, I get them from friends. I don't look online because I can't ever find it."

Upper year materials are not well represented.


3 Personas based on study habits

The Weekend Warrior, the Steady Learner, and the Veteran

3 take-aways from research

  1. A student's study habits are not related to their area of study. (see personas above)
  2. Students think of Mac Eng 15 as a resource to learn from, not a place to share notes. They think of it similarly to Wikipedia or Khan Academy.
  3. Depending on their program, a student will be taking a combination of (a) core classes, (b) elective classes and (c) practical classes. They study differently for each...

Types of Classes

(a) Core Classes - tend to be harder, more time and effort is spend studying, it is easier to acquire notes for these classes from either Mac Eng 15 or upper years/friends. Old tests and notes are very helpful.

(b) Elective Classes - chosen based on reviews, personal interest, difficulty, and whether or not it fits into the student's schedule. It is harder to acquire notes for these classes but students need them less because the coursework is easier. Old tests and notes are still helpful.

(c) Practical Classes - classes with a practical component, such as nursing skills evaluations or electrical engineering projects. Having more notes do not help, since they must complete a hands-on task. Usually, there are no written tests.

Created By
Linda Zhao


Created with images by Lokesh_Dhakar - "Science Class"

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