C-Level View | Feature
FLEXspace Update: What’s in Store for AY ’23-’24?
A Q&A with FLEXspace leadership
This is going to be a big year for FLEXspace, the Flexible Learning Environments Exchange. Academic year ’23-’24 will bring FLEXspace version 3.0 with a total portal redesign plus numerous new features and services.
So hold on tight as FLEXspace leaders Lisa Stephens, executive director, and Rebecca Frazee, director, give us a preview of all the enhancements along with their visions and expectations for FLEXspace 3.0.
The FLEXspace 3.0 portal redesign features mobility from the ground up. (Image courtesy of KWALL.)
“We’re realizing an early vision we had when designing the current portal, making the task of uploading content much more elegant and streamlined.” —Rebecca Frazee
Mary Grush: What is the timeline you’re expecting for your FLEXspace 3.0 rollout? What will be the first milestone along the way?
Lisa Stephens: Right now, we’re in the process of completely redesigning the FLEXspace portal. We’re pretty jazzed about rolling out version 3.0 at the end of Q4 2023 or hopefully no later than the beginning of Q1 2024.
Rebecca Frazee: Meanwhile, coming up at the EDUCAUSE and the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) annual conferences in October, we’ll have some pieces to share — wireframes to show our new look, and hopefully some preliminary navigation for people to explore. We can’t wait to show it off!
Stephens: And here’s an interesting aspect of our timeline: All along we’ve had a friendly competition with our colleagues at EDUCAUSE who supported the development of the Learning Space Rating System (LSRS), and they beat us to version 3.0! But that was terrific, because the LSRS version 3.0 gives us a tool to measure potential learning effectiveness in neurodiverse spaces. That means we can already begin to focus on encouraging schools to upload built environments based on neurodiverse and other inclusive characteristics.
Grush: What are some of the most important changes we’ll see with FLEXspace 3.0?
Stephens: There are so many. I’ll highlight five major categories. These include a unified user experience; interactive communications at the record level; revamped Idea Boards to boost collaboration; global search; and streamlined record creation.
Grush: Could you describe these important categories of change, starting with the first one — a unified user experience?
Frazee: To begin, the external FLEXspace.org and the password protected portal will have one consistent look and feel. So, whether you simply visit the site or log in, what used to be two sites are now combined into a single, unified experience throughout your session.
Stephens: Overall, we think everyone will appreciate an updated user experience. Nobody will need to hunt for redesigned features, as they are functionally similar to the current portal. But the layout is a quite a bit more intuitive — as websites tend to be after the community shares good ideas.
And for the best user experience yet, version 3.0 is fully designed — from the ground up — for mobile devices. This delivers on the long-held vision of walking into a space, taking pictures, and uploading the data from your mobile device while you’re still standing in the room.
This delivers on the long-held vision of walking into a space, taking pictures, and uploading the data from your mobile device while you’re still standing in the room.
Grush: Great! Can you tell us more about the second area of change you mentioned — interactive communications at the record level?