Janux is revolutionizing online learning platforms in 7 distinct ways:

1. Social interaction.

With the help of NextThought, OU took online social interaction and engagement beyond basic forums and discussion boards by incorporating features similar to social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter.

Features include live chatting, sharing notes, taking time-stamped notes during videos, and interactive whiteboards.

Students can engage in material and with each other at any time, explained Harper. There is also a search function within the discussion boards in order to search for specific conversations or keywords. This makes finding answers and support for learning more accessible.

“Part of the reason Janux is so different than other MOOCs is because it’s built on social learning. We integrated social media features into the platform to make learning more comfortable for students. Students get a similar interaction in real time that they would get in a traditional face-to-face course,” he said.

2. New video techniques.

As opposed to students watching a video recording of a class, professors take the time to break down complicated subject matter and make short, high-quality videos to carefully explain the concepts, said Harper. The videos feature the professors and graphics to help illustrate complicated information for visual learners.

“These dynamic videos give students the sense of face-to-face interaction,” said Harper. “User interface and high-quality production were key in creating an engaging platform.”

3. A direct line to professors.

Because OU is the only institution involved in the platform, Janux is able to be more responsive to student input and needs, said Harper. Students have a direct line to professors and are able to make requests and recommendations without going through any red tape.

4. Annotation.

Janux allows students to highlight content within reading materials and add notes to reference at a later date—“just like a physical textbook, except it’s highly interactive,” emphasized Harper.

Additionally, interactive whiteboards are also incorporated, so students are better able to draw ideas and concepts for other students to see in real time to better explain thoughts.

“These are especially useful in courses like Intro to Chemistry and Chemistry of Beer when students want to draw molecules and formulas,” Harper noted.

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