The ProjectThe SEL Resource Finder is designed as a “one-stop” site for educators and people who work with children and youth. The site helps users learn how to foster social-emotional learning (SEL) and mental well-being in any educational setting. It also provides users with the ability to view, rate and recommend additional resources. The Education Department at the University of British Columbia approached Codename Design with a small budget to develop a pilot project for an online resource site for educators to learn more about social-emotional learning (SEL) and mental health. The goal of the pilot was to prove the demand for the content, then use the pilot for a larger grant application. The pilot needed to be resilient enough to demonstrate the demand and also last through what could be a long grant cycle.
When is enough too much?At the start of the project, we knew the outcome would stretch beyond what a minimum viable product (MVP) would deliver. But how much was enough to meet the brief? Our first task was to help analyze the content, project possible future content, develop audience profiles and determine a structure for the content. We then analyzed the technical options, along with institutional guidelines, to determine the best technological fit. Mainly based on the university’s preferences, we built a WordPress site to test the content demand.
Simple Top Level Categorization, Icons and Colour CodingThe pilot site features simple top level categorization, paired with a flexible tagging system, to allow the detailed search of a diverse set of content. While the University of British Columbia required the use of a standard header and footer, we worked with the school to approve the site’s independent hosting so we could develop the required tagging structure. The resources fall into categories based on their intent, and different resources serve different purposes. To highlight this, we developed a simple icon and colour scheme to separate levels of content and show the difference between SEL and Mental Health resources. To meet a requirement to provide a detailed tagging system based on educational industry standards, we also created a simple faceted search interface, along with the main search, to meet the requirements. The pilot project has been well received and continues to be a useful resource for both students at the University of British Columbia as well as the wider North American teaching community. In fact the pilot’s robustness and success as a product in and of itself has given the team more time to look at funding options for the next phase.