How 4 colleges use Lucidchart
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With its robust libraries of shapes and templates for creating flowcharts and diagrams, Lucidchart is a good solution for group and individual work at colleges or universities. It is particularly helpful for facilitating collaboration within the classroom.
The following four customer stories highlight schools that successfully used Lucidchart to streamline communication, increase comprehension, and maintain their academic rigor.
North Carolina State University
Several professors in the biotechnology department at North Carolina State University were searching for a user-friendly diagramming solution that could easily integrate with their existing Google Workspace. Once they discovered Lucidchart, their search concluded.
As Carlos Goller, NCSU teaching postdoctoral associate, later recalled:
“I was looking for a resource that would allow students to easily create quality mind maps and flowcharts in a collaborative environment. Lucidchart ties into our [Google Workspace] system at NCSU and was easy to use.”
Initially, Dr. Goller used Lucidchart for two of his classes—Metagenomics and Bioethics—each with their own diagramming needs. For the Bioethics students, presenting the complex factors of biotechnology ethics through the creation of mind maps is a class requirement. With time-saving features like keyboard shortcuts, auto-layout options, and text import and export, Lucidchart was a perfect fit.
Dr. Goller’s Metagenomics students needed to demonstrate the bioinformatics processes used to analyze relevant sequencing data in flowcharts—a challenging assignment simplified by Lucidchart’s intuitive drag-and-drop functionality and flowchart shape library.
Beyond the ability to quickly create diagrams and flowcharts, Dr. Goller hoped students could collaborate within the same documents and communicate processes in real time. Students were quick to applaud Lucidchart for its ease of use and proven effectiveness. One student even credited it for changing his perspective on the value of diagramming.
Saint Mary’s College
Saint Mary’s College needed a fresh alternative to Visio. Specifically, the mathematics and computer science professors were hoping to find a platform that would facilitate collaboration between students and teachers. As an added consideration, the school was trying to stick to a budget.
While leading the search for the school’s Visio alternative, Steven Broad, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science, discovered Lucidchart. Right away, he could see its vast potential to fit his department’s needs.
“I found Lucidchart to be pleasantly intuitive and lacking some of the constraints that a code generation diagramming tool sometimes includes...The ability to export directly to Google Drive was a nice feature from my point of view. Most importantly, my students would not be tied to college-owned computers or to the Windows operating system.”
Within weeks of signing up for an account, Steven and hundreds of his systems analysis and design students ended up using Lucidchart practically every day throughout a capstone course, a teamwork-based class heavily focused on diagrams. The class involved entity relationship diagrams, data flow diagrams, unified modeling language (UML) class diagrams, and other complex diagrams
Since Lucidchart offered the exact systems analysis and design functionality required by Steven and his students, it soon became the go-to information systems diagramming solution. Unlike other platforms, Lucidchart offers the specific notation shapes and symbols required by students to build professional diagrams for use in an information systems environment.
Steven’s students took to Lucidchart right away, many describing it as easy to use and self-explanatory. Better yet, they rarely encountered any technical difficulties to resolve.
Best of all, Steven loved the fact that Lucidchart was available to students in and out of the classroom. This helped make real-time collaboration and sharing possible, crucial requirements for success in Steven’s course. Rather than emailing diagrams back and forth to each other, risking compatibility issues with software, browser, and operating systems, Lucidchart lets everyone work together in real time on a single document.
Steven explained, “The collaborative, web-based functionality has greatly reduced the amount of time that students spend embroiled in the logistics of versioning and distributing their diagrams to their team. No team has reported wasted time due to working on the wrong version of a diagram, which has been a regular problem in the past.”
Penn State Lehigh Valley
Penn State Lehigh Valley found that many first-year students had difficulty grasping the critical concepts presented in the introductory biology courses. According to Dr. Karen Kackley-Dutt, first-year biology students take on a greater vocabulary than first-year Spanish students do. Because of this, they often rely on rote memorization (rather a deeper conceptual understanding) to simply pass tests.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t prepare students for their future studies or lasting success.
To overcome this issue, Dr. Kackley-Dutt reached out to Media Commons Coordinator Eileen Grodziak to find a solution. Based on her research, Eileen noticed concept maps work the same way our brains do. When you lose your keys, you think back to when you had them last and retrace your steps.
As an experiment, Eileen had non-major students in a biology class use a diagramming application to create a concept mind map of cell division or another scientific concept. Upon submission of their map, they were presented with a model map that would later serve as a benchmark for their work and then could opt to revise their maps if they wanted.
Dr. Kackley-Dutt noted the rapid success of this impromptu diagramming exercise:
“I didn’t even need to analyze the data—I saw an immediate and marked improvement on their exam scores. After controlling for prior knowledge, we determined that students who used concept mapping scored significantly higher on the unit test than students who worked individually without concept maps.”
The one downside: the diagramming program used for their experiment wasn’t suitable for large-scale application. It lacked real-time collaboration functions, limited students to five documents, and presented a serious budget constraint if used at scale.
Eileen suggested Lucidchart as an alternative. Once the biology department signed up for Lucidchart accounts, they soon discovered an entirely new layer of collaboration.
Eileen noted just how quickly Lucidchart optimized the group learning environment:
"It’s wonderful with Lucidchart because now students don’t have to individually pull other students to their laptop in order to show their work. If they’re demonstrating individual work, or if they’re collaborating on one document, that monitor can be projected and all the students can see it on the screen and on their laptops."
One of Dr. Kackley-Dutt’s biology students went on to say this about Lucidchart and the power of collaboration: "It really gives you that hands-on type of learning. It really helped me visualize and see the interconnectedness of the concepts we were learning about.”
Dr. Mohan, who was teaching Systems Analysis and Design at Baruch College, noticed the desperate need for streamlined collaboration among students. The CASE tool that he and his students were using was proficient for developing UML diagrams, but it required students to use other tools to compress files, exchange them, and then reopen those files—all of which made sharing difficult.
Before choosing a new solution, Dr. Mohan had three critical components to consider:
- First, flexibility was key. It would need to be suitable for homework, lab work, and everything else. And it must work on any operating system, device, or network.
- Second, the program should also allow him to unobtrusively check on a student’s progress for faster feedback and fact-checking to offer personalized instruction.
- Third, it would have to be a standalone product that was intuitive and easy to learn, since students hate expensive add-ons that are difficult to master in a semester.
Dr. Mohan noticed an outreach email about Lucidchart in his inbox and thought it was the perfect solution for his criteria. With its real-time collaboration functionality, Lucidchart gave his students the flexibility to move fluidly between home and school environments without sacrificing speed or quality. Lab exercises ran more smoothly since Lucidchart allows an unlimited number of people to edit documents at once.
Dr. Mohan described its impact on his classroom: “Now all my students' work—the most up-to-date version of their work—is readily available for me to open and project. This has saved quite a bit of time that I was otherwise spending in just the nitty-gritties of sharing and opening files.”
Dr. Mohan found Lucidchart ideal for other scenarios, as well. He’s even used it to collaborate on research projects and create research models with remote colleagues.
With student populations that are more diverse than ever, colleges and universities need to provide tools and resources that will help students collaborate from anywhere. Lucidchart provides visualization that increases retention, encourages teamwork, and is constantly accessible to help students succeed.
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Lucidchart is the intelligent diagramming application that empowers teams to clarify complexity, align their insights, and build the future—faster. With this intuitive, cloud-based solution, everyone can work visually and collaborate in real time while building flowcharts, mockups, UML diagrams, and more.
The most popular online Visio alternative, Lucidchart is utilized in over 180 countries by millions of users, from sales managers mapping out target organizations to IT directors visualizing their network infrastructure.