At the center of every student at HBS's life in terms of coursework is a website called Learning Hub. Learning Hub is a classic course management system that helps students stay on top of course materials, assignments, syllabi, and teams. Most central to the course experience at HBS is the case method, which involves assignments that feature a case reading followed by questions created by the professor to prepare the student for class discussion. Additionally, sometimes assignments also have videos to watch, polls to fill out, or temporary team members to coordinate with for in-class simulations or semester-long projects.
Learning Hub currently has a mobile app but almost nobody uses it. In re-thinking the app, I focused on scoping the goals quite narrowly, in many ways thinking of what the app shouldn't do rather than what it should. Some specific decisions included not allowing the student to read the case on mobile, which the current mobile experience allows for. This is for two reasons -- the first is that reading on mobile via PDF is just not an enjoyable experience which usually leads my peers, if they partake in the activity, to complete the assignment inefficiently; the second and more important reason is that no technology is allowed in the HBS classroom, so any annotations while reading or even jotting down thoughts in response to the question prompts need to be done on paper if the student hopes to bring them into the classroom.
The app very closely mimics many aspects of the native iOS calendar app. The main reason for selecting a calendar-like view is because the msot effective way in which HBS communicate commitments to students is by automatically populating our calendars. After a month at the school, most students admit to be having their lives run by their calendars.
The expanded task view allows students to mark assignment questions as done. Most cases come with 3-5 discussion questions that students are supposed to either actively prepare (e.g. build a financial model) or think about. Similarly, if there is a video that is assigned for that evening, then the video link would also be included in the mobile version for on the go viewing.
The main other tasks that are ideal for working on mobile are emailing the professor / assistant with course questions or to schedule office hours and emailing or calling team members to coordinate meetings (or to see if anybody is on their way). I deliberately excluded the course syllabus because the main reason my classmates and I visit the syllabus (versus just scrolling through a course's assignments directly) is to double check the grading breakdown. Hence, the course information includes just that piece of information.