Alana is an undeclared freshman. She loves visual art, reading, and playing board games.
EpicConnect is an open-source, open access LMS and productivity platform that uses Behavior Design principles to build community, enhance belonging, and help instructors collaborate on pedagogical projects. The initial target audience of EpicConnect is fellowship programs serving community college instructors. The platform's goal is to foster project development, increase the social impact of community college instruction, and promote a sense of belonging within an active community of innovative educators.
EpicConnect was selected to receive funding by the judges of Stanford’s Transforming Learning Accelerator's Digital Learning Design Challenge 2020-21. The award will allow the team to build a prototype and conduct early-stage user research in the Fall quarter of 2021 and beyond.
EpicConnect is initially designed in close partnership with Stanford’s Global Studies Education Partnership for Internationalizing Curriculum (EPIC) program, which serves instructors in the California Community College System. EPIC admits 10-12 fellows annually to help instructors design pedagogical projects to diversify their curricula. The program will remain remote post-COVID, hence the need for technical management solutions.
Our team members have several years of experience assisting the EPIC fellows with their technical needs. We have also worked closely with the EPIC fellowship staff on selecting the applicants, onboarding them to the program, and helping them reach their intended milestones. We believe that we have an intimate understanding of the needs and experiences of the EPIC fellows to be able to develop a tool that serves their fellowship goals.
Yet, the implications of EpicConnect go far beyond the Stanford EPIC program, as we foresee EpicConnect being beneficial for the 100 similar fellowship programs geared toward community college instructors across the US and project development programs both within and outside of California.
The aim of our project is to develop a platform to support the current and past Epic fellows to develop and share their projects. We envision EpiCConnect as a cross between a productivity platform and a Learning Management System that focuses on building a community of fellows. We also aim to utilize elements of behavior design to engage the fellows. Our platform will ascribe to Hannah Arendt’s vision of a “space of appearance,” meaning a collection of people who speak and act meaningfully together.
EpiCConnect will help the fellows to create shared experiences. Our platform will be unlike other social media outlets as it will help them progress on their projects, enhance close attention, while at the same time form a strong sense of community and belonging. We believe that learning happens when these elements are met. EpiCConnect will give a sense of achievement and will provide emotional sustenance. It will be a space where a fellow will feel addressed, understood, and challenged. We envision it to be an online place where disagreements and debates will not shut the discussion down, but will be an integral part of the group’s deliberation. A place where arguments will lead to new ideas. We also want our platform to be aesthetically pleasing with simple, easy to use features.