Desktop/Mobile Learning and Marketing

Custom Learning Experience

Notre Dame recognized that highly-skilled data scientists are in demand.
We worked to help them imagine and bring to life their first-ever online MS-ACMS: Data Science degree program for mid-career professionals and then create an integrated marketing program to create awareness and registered learners.

The Overview & Challenge

Notre Dame is not only famous for their beautiful and iconic campus but also for their academic excellence and unique learning environment – small class sizes, faculty interaction and student collaboration. There were two main components to this year-plus long engagement. The first was creating a custom online learning experience which I’ll highlight first. The second component was to create a marketing program and infrastructure to support recruitment efforts for the new program. Given this is an online program, the challenge was to create an experience that would mirror and integrate both the physical campus and the intimate learning environment into a well-designed, easy-to-use, and visually intuitive online experience that would bridge the distance for all the learners.

The Users

After numerous working sessions, stakeholder, user and learner interviews, persona development, etc., the learner vision was clear – keep the program small and intimate. To deliver on this vision, Notre Dame designed a degree program with the understanding that many of their students are working professionals who need both flexibility and a learning experience that would be tailored to their professional lifestyle. They wanted tools that would help their students master skills but also achieve professional growth and personal development.

The Solution

The new platform is a custom learning experience that utilizes a customized version of Open edX for the learning environment that has numerous third-party tools integrated within that addresses and delivers on the unique demands and vision of Notre Dame’s Master’s in Data Science program. The crown jewel of this solution is a customized and branded dashboard called NeXus that features:

One-click access to discussion channels, video conferencing, and the entire Google suite
A timeline for upcoming assignments, synchronous sessions, exams, and other events
An online chat feature, which encourages collaborative learning and creates a close student-faculty bond and personal approach to online learning
A real-time notification system for sharing announcements and articles

My Role & Artifacts

The Notre Dame project was comprised of numerous components including the courseware module (developed on OPEN edX), custom created dashboard, and a multi-pronged digital acquisition marketing program designed to create awareness and registration. Much of my time was spent managing the vision, process, team and creative. In addition to creating a world class experience, it was critical that the look and feel was consistent across all platforms and elements.  Below are just a few of the interesting artifacts that helped us get to our final goal.

Marketing Overview

As the learning platform moved into the development phase, my team and I focused our attention on creating all the acquisition marketing components. Based on an approved marketing and creative strategy along with Notre Dame’s standards, we created several key brand elements which were incorporated into all the key touchpoints including microsites (used for information and registration), landing pages, emails, social and banner-ad campaigns, digital & print prospectus, whitepapers, handouts and video. My role was to ensure that we had a system that was cohesive across all platforms and media including digital, print and 3D.

Final Thoughts

Essentially, Notre Dame provided the colors and various logo marks. Working with them on this first-ever initiative, we really needed to knock this year-long project out of the park. Having no prior relationship with them, there was a lot of trust on their part and lots of confidence and excitement on ours. In the end, the program was a success. Notre Dame achieved their numbers and has continued working with the team as they move into the next year.