Fall 2019

Visual Identity

Ember Liu
Henry Chang
Xiaoyu Shi

Recap is a learning platform created for a beginner CS course at a local high school, Winchester Thurston Upper School. It is a tool that supports collaboration and project documentation in order to further enhance the teaching and learning experience in class.

I worked closely with my team, our criteria for success being a strengthened project-based learning environment that both the instructor and students evaluated as successful. I also worked to improve the user experience of the final product by introducing a more user-friendly interface and personalized features.

gif of breakthrough entry creations

Ask and answer project questions

Q&A within the classroom encourages a more personal form of collaboration & engagement. By integrating Q&A into a trackable form of project documentation, the instructor will have the opportunity to observe and assess student learnings both in and outside of class.

gif of journey map interaction

Work with peers and record your learnings

Encourage students to document what they’ve learned from their peers in a “breakthrough” entry, which is designed to put their learnings into written form. This can aid students when they run into similar questions in the future and help the instructor keep track of specific student learnings.

gif example of asking and answering project questions

Track your project journey

Students and instructors can see current and past goals, questions, activity, and breakthrough entries in order to observe and utilize past documentation and progress. With knowledge of their progress, the instructor will be able to aid students in making reasonable goals for project check-ins and be able to prepare CS knowledge for student questions prior to classes. Students will be able to get more timely and targeted support from their class and their instructor.


Our initial research focused on finding out what kind of project documentation and project objectives were currently in place for the course—CS Innovations 1, with instructor David Nassar. We were also looking to understand both Nassar’s and his students’ needs, challenges, and motivations.

Work Day Model used to illustrate the class structure throughout one year

From analyzing the objectives and structure of the class throughout a year, we found three main problems:

  • Students had difficulty coming up with goals that are both achievable and challenging for each check-in
  • The instructor had difficulty with preparing lessons for student questions prior to class due to each project being unique
  • The lack of touch-points between instructor and students is slowing down some project progress between check-ins


We came to the conclusion that when the instructor can better identify student problems and learnings, students are able to better handle their project progress and goals.

How might we help facilitate the instructor to better identify student problems and learnings?


Our group came up with ten storyboards that represent different solutions for the problem. We printed all the storyboards out for focus groups for feedback and thoughts. We set up a session with David Nassar (instructor) and David Kallis (technical support lead) as well as a session with five students at WT

Work Day Model used to illustrate the class structure throughout one year

The students' feedback and concerns were varied and shaped by their various learning and working habits. Nassar and Kallis gave positive feedback to the collaboration-focused storyboards.

“Currently the peer review is quite loose. Students just happen to see each other and ask questions.” — David Kallis
Work Day Model used to illustrate the class structure throughout one year

After mapping out our user feedback, we decided to narrow our solution to one cohesive experience that focused on two goals:

Support—encourage collaboration to create a more effective support system within the classroom space

Reflection—inspire students and cultivate their awareness of the documentation value for both the student and instructor

initial design—

We began to consider what features we would implement by analyzing the user experience and recognizing pain points.

Work Day Model used to illustrate the class structure throughout one year

We used an interaction model to act as a guideline for our initial prototypes. We wanted to make sure all the features worked together and would be relevant to the user experience.

initial prototype that we sent to be usertested

Once we had all the interactions and features prototyped, we asked the students to user test it.

Feedback transcript highlights:

“I like the interactive version, simplicity is good.”
“Maybe students can engage more with the map by adding a self-assessment curve?”
“They can highlight different phases (divided sessions) to section out different project phases.”


As I said earlier, our user experience focused on two goals: support and reflection.

Support—encourage collaboration to create a more effective support system within the classroom space

Q&A for classes

Bookmarking resources and questions

Relevant resources to share with the class

Reflection—inspire students to recognize the value of documentation for both themselves and their interactions with their instructor

Marking breakthrough to document solution

Checking/setting goals with the instructor

Journey Map to see class progress

visual identity—

Visual identity of recap


This project was as challenging as it was rewarding. I really appreciated that the project itself aligned a lot with my personal interest in how design can better shape education—working with the students and teachers was amazing. I was so pleased to hear that the instructor and students wanted to have the prototype go to production.

However, there were many times that the data we collected felt overwhelming , especially since the time constraints for our prototype was much shorter than the time we were given for research. Overall I really appreciated the opportunity to do such rewarding work with Winchester Thurston and the instructors and students we interacted with.