October 9, 2020

Online Course: Understanding and Improving Your Student Experience


Even before COVID-19, colleges and universities were trying to better analyze, improve, and compete on student experience. But institutions faced challenges in understanding their students, defining and assessing their experiences, and collaborating to agree on and act on the results.

Now, this is even more important. Institutions are grappling with a public health crisis, working to advance equity and inclusion, and facing financial uncertainty while they try to achieve their enrollment, retention, and completion goals.

How can leaders in student affairs, academic affairs, and technology work together to clearly define student experience and their goals, leverage qualitative and quantitative data to effectively analyze their student experience, and take action to sustain and continuously improve it? How can they make the organizational and operational changes needed to their spaces, student services, and technology?

In this free, interactive course, participants answered these questions through readings, presentations, discussions, and hands-on work — both in class and between sessions — with tools used to design student experiences.

The hands-on work focused on using brightspot’s Student Experience Canvas, an open-access tool to help institutions assess and align on academic programs, support services, technology, facilities, and community.

Learning Objectives

During this free course, participants:

  1. Explored the definition and assessment of student experience
  2. Related student experience to institutional goals and context
  3. Learned approaches for creating a nuanced picture of who their students really are
  4. Identified ways to improve the student experience at their institution
  5. Predicted potential implementation obstacles and ways to address them


Elliot Felix, Founder and CEO, brightspot strategy
Elliot Felix founded and leads brightspot, a higher education strategy consultancy that improve the student experience by transforming spaces, services, and staffing together. Together with their clients, brightspot increases student success, improves research support, and enables staff productivity while making institutions more efficient and effective. Felix is an accomplished strategist, facilitator, and sense-maker who has helped transform over 90 colleges and universities including Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, MIT, NC State University, New York University, Swarthmore College, University of Virginia.

Amanda Wirth Lorenzo, Director of Research, brightspot strategy
Amanda Wirth Lorenzo is the Director of Research at brightspot strategy. She has more than ten years of experience leading user research that meets people where they are, engages participants in interactive methods, and generates insights to guide strategy and design. Drawing on her background as a design research instructor at Parsons School of Design, Amanda enjoys sharing the value of a human-centered approach to create new and meaningful solutions with clients such as University of Michigan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Smith College, Southern New Hampshire University, and Metropolitan State University.

Course registration is now closed.