Welcome back to the Nectir Pro's Perspective video series! In Chapter One (click here if you haven't read it yet!), we sat with Mindy Colin, one of the best instructional consultants our team has ever met, to discuss her multi-year mobile learning research study across the University of California system. Mindy has dedicated over 20 years to figuring out the best ways to build the optimal learning environment for all students and teachers. Today, we continue our conversation with Mindy to share her findings on why Nectir actually works when other tools don't and what makes backchannels worth implementing at your campus/classroom level.
We'll cover more of the details that come up for admin and instructors when moving forward with new tech platforms like Nectir. Why they are important, how to successfully implement them, and why some of the fears and FAQs aren’t as concerning as they might look at first.
Today's Overarching Topic: What makes Nectir worth implementing and why does it work so well once you do?
Mindy recounts the time when Nectir was first fully adopted by UCSB in Spring of 2020, right as the pandemic took classes remote for the first time. Onboarding took less than a week for over 10,000 students and instructors, and became the precedent for communication infrastructure across the campus. Students suddenly had access to the communities that felt like they were slipping away from them. It didn't feel as impossible for instructors to disseminate info to all of their students and keep them engaged throughout the term. Nectir allowed UCSB to be one of the first campuses in the entire nation to solve the "But how???" part of going fully remote.
They saw in faculty, TA, and student surveys that Nectir was genuinely important in their class as a connecting point for students and instructors who were feeling isolated and overwhelmed. Zoom fatigue became a real issue, but with Nectir you never had to worry about turn-taking, showing your face, or being shy to speak in front of everyone. Instructors began to chat about using this even once they got back into the physical classroom because it was saving them so much time in answering everyone's questions at once. Over time, Mindy saw a variety of ways Nectir was being used. The use cases grew to faculty group chats, sharing attachments like the syllabus and homework, DM's that became the new email, attendance through the polling function, and so much more creativity that was born inside of Nectir that year. To this day, it continues to grow each day in new ways to provide exactly the value that an instructor is hoping to give to their students in the way that feels most comfortable to them.
One major advancement that is undeniable in Nectir's growth is the pandemic-induced trend of backchannels in the classroom. It became clear to every student the second they got home that some sort of communication infrastructure across the entire campus was now an absolute necessity. You might go to college for the education, but you stay for the people that make it feel unique and valuable. Without them, it becomes hard to explain why Youtube or another MOOC platform could not give you the same info for much less. Backchannels allow you to keep some of the magic of in-person learning communities while making it accessible to every student in the class rather than just some of them. Nectir’s integration into the LMS, something you often don’t see with any other communication infrastructure tools, makes it super easy to get everyone in the right place instantly, without stressing about student or instructor onboarding. In our interview, Mindy speaks about the unmatched benefits of Nectir and debunks common fears about new edtech tools from instructors and TAs.
Implementing new tech into any classroom or campus can feel daunting to admin and staff, but it really doesn't have to be so bad. With the right integrations and a dedicated Community Manager, the future of edtech starts with tools like Nectir that take care of the entire lifecycle of the product while it's at your campus. No added work to your plate; we monitor the public spaces, provide workshops and support to your instructors, and make sure that your campus is getting the value it needs and deserves from its communities. Mindy was the first trendsetter in the nation to bring Nectir to her campus. With over 1,000,000 messages sent at UCSB over Nectir to date, it's clear that her bet paid off in spades. Will you be the next?