Lisa Tran, a final-year student of Fashion Buying and Brand Management at Ravensbourne University London, is what you’d call an Aula pro: she has been learning with the platform for the duration of her studies, knows it inside out, and doesn't want to think about using anything else.
During her first two years at Ravensbourne, Lisa and her peers used both Moodle and Aula in their course. Ravensbourne has since fully replaced Moodle with Aula, but Lisa vividly remembers the difference between the two platforms:
Moodle was confusing at times: I’d have to keep clicking through different sections and files to find what I needed, whereas Aula is clearly organised into folders and easy to navigate. I have everything I need in one place: my course materials, the space to submit my work, my direct messages with other students and educators—it makes me want to use it. Whereas I didn’t really want to use Moodle: it was hard to navigate, I didn’t know where things were.
One of the main differences between Aula and Moodle is that the latter works primarily as a content repository and space to upload course work, whereas Aula is designed to facilitate meaningful interaction and to feel like the platforms and apps students use every day.
For example, Aula lets students and staff send direct messages, which According to Lisa, saves significant time: “On Moodle I could never contact our course directors or anyone else for help. I’d have to send an email, and it would take forever to get a reply. With Aula, I can just send a direct message without leaving the platform.”
Lisa's classes take place on Mondays and Fridays, and she can join them in person or connect to a virtual Zoom lecture. Not everybody is comfortable asking questions during a large online meeting, however, which is where Aula is also making it easier for Lisa and her peers to get feedback and information:
Asking questions on Zoom can make you really nervous: I usually go onto Aula and reach out there instead. Just this morning I wanted to know if I could sign up for a tutorial, but didn’t want to ask on Zoom. Without Aula, I'd have had to send an email, but it can get really messy to have multiple emails to catch up on, plus it might take a lecturer a whole day to get back to you. Instead, I just sent my course leader a direct message in Aula and got an immediate answer that yes, I could sign up for the tutorial I wanted.
Being able to access Aula from multiple devices is also helping Lisa stay in touch with her peers and set up a flexible schedule for herself: "I have Aula on my laptop but I also check it from my iPad and use the mobile app, so it’s always easy to talk to people or read course materials and watch videos whenever I have time for them.”
Like Lisa, today’s students want to access and use their learning portals the same way they would a social network or any other website: accessing them from any device, sending direct messages, and being able to find what they need, fast. And that's how Aula is designed: to eliminate barriers to connection and inspire students to want to actively engage with their learning and community.