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Q | Overview

Your institution offers a huge number of resources for learners: tutoring, library services, library databases, online courses/gradebooks, library chat.

We know that the more students engage, and utilize these resources, the more successful they will be.

The problem? From a learner’s point of view, these resources are fragmented and buried many clicks deep. They use many, many different user experiences – look and feel, navigation patterns, and interactions.

Going from LMS to library to tutoring services to advising is a jarring and unpleasant experience at most schools, especially when compared with other web experiences (Instagram, Amazon shopping, Netflix video). As every digital designer knows, the more clicks and barriers we create, the faster and steeper the drop-off in user persistence. Said plainly: students give up and go elsewhere.

Q for Success streamlines student access to your most precious academic resources, helping them engage more deeply and frequently.

A custom Q solution, branded for your institution or library and available via single sign on from Canvas LMS, brings your academic resources inside the platforms students use to think, research, and write: Google Suite and Office 365.

Q for Google Chrome

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Q for Microsoft Word 2016

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Learn how Q helps students…

Get Me Started!

From quick, targeted (and affordable) pilots to institutional roll-out, we’ve got you covered.

Get a Quick Sense of Q:

Q for Microsoft Word 2016

Q for Google Chrome

Q is a friendly Ribbon in Microsoft Word 2016 that opens a ‘taskpane’ – a window into your institution or organization’s most important research and contact info. With their document open and visible, students can enter search terms, choose from a select set of resources (full-text scholarly, magazines – whatever your institution defines) and view results in a new default browser window. They can also use Q modules to practice integrating quotations or develop and refine their thesis, then insert the results directly into their Word document in progress.

Q is a friendly icon in the Chrome toolbar – click it to open a window into your institution or organization’s most important research and contact info. While students are working on a project in Google Docs (or any web solution) a quick ALT-1 pops open Q and lands their cursor on a search box that you’ve defined. Scholarly sources? Magazines and newspapers? A particular database? A limited number of additional choices are available, guiding students to use high quality sources and more deeply use your large investment in research databases.

Click on an image below to make this screenshot walk-through larger and get a sense of using Q inside Word 2016 and Google Chrome.

Install Q and Try It!

If your institution isn't set up in our system you'll get a generic set of search solutions plus access to our writing modules.

Or better yet, contact us for a discussion of your institution's goals and we'll quickly provision a custom setup and provide details on single sign on via your LMS.

Canvas LMS: Course and Instructor Info – anywhere

Q optionally integrates with the Canvas LMS – to provide single sign on, to surface assignment and instructor info, and to curate resources specific to a college, program, or even course.

Students can pop the Q Chrome Extension open from any webpage and quickly see their next assignment, message their instructor, or jump out to a specific page (like an assignment prompt) in their Canvas course.

can also curate resources based on the Canvas course ID. If certain research databases or Lib Guides should surface for courses beginning with “ENG”? No problem. Q automates curation behind the scenes. 


Research: Streamlined & Demystified

Students are still easily overwhelmed by scholarly research; they default to Google and Wikipedia. While sophisticated and easy to use, most university library websites are intimidating for undergraduates. Q helps break down resistance and removes the friction students experience when trying to fulfill research requirements. Remember, this is the generation that uses an app to order pizza or ice cream. It’s easy to create a custom instance of Q for your campus – a handful or specific URLs and we’re off and running. Your students can install both the Chrome Extension and Word Add-in to gain streamlined, guided access to your most important databases, resource/subject guides, and general info about your library and related services.

Number of search choices on the average university library homepage:

These are fantastic resources, but often overwhelming for undergraduate students and so they turn to Google and Wikipedia for all their research needs.

Online Writing Handbook

We’ve curated the best resources to help students learn academic writing and made them quickly searchable – from inside Q. Better yet? Work with us to create a custom style guide for your institution – leveraging OER, creating your own content, or mashing up the best of both.

In the screenshot below, a student writer is working in Google Docs and has clicked the icon in their Chrome toolbar to pop open Q for Success. They started typing “arguement” in the Handbook search box and immediately gained access to a list of resources…

Clicking one of the resources will open a new tab and take them directly to the content.

Deliberate Practice: help students construct knowledge

Inside Q students will find modules to help them practice and become academic writers. These modules, tightly integrated into Microsoft Word and Google Chrome, are optional for the institution. Click a screenshot below to get a larger view and flip through the user experience.

Integrate Quotes

Students often struggle with getting their research into their own writing.

They’ll take a quote and drop it into their writing, (sometimes without quotations!) without ‘framing’ it with their own words. Perversely, the motivation for this can sometimes be a feeling that they’re cheating or using someone else’s words.

Q helps break down this complex task and walk students through the process, helping them create a polished, properly cited sentence and – in the process – learn proper academic writing skills.

Develop Your Thesis

High school and even undergraduate students often struggle with devleoping an original argument. They confuse “thesis” with main idea, and end up with a paper that ‘argues’ that “Huckleberry Finn is about the South and slavery.” That isn’t an argument; it’s a statement.

The Develop Your Thesis module helps students construct a thesis using simple fill-in-the-blank, then searches the web for quality resources that agree and those that disagree. The web search is intended to help generate ideas and speed experimentation.

Engagement: removing friction and creating dialog

We firmly believe that small changes can have a big impact.

Does placing the phone number of a reference librarian in a one-click-away Chrome Extension make a difference? How about a number for text messaging? Or an email address? Or chat (as many libraries already offer)? What about direct access to writing center tutors or similar? We build this info into an institution’s customized Q solution, giving students yet another easy way to reach out and establish contact. To engage.

Your institution defines exactly what info/links/content appear in this view. The student experience is very similar across Q for Google Chrome and for Microsoft Word 2016 (click image for a larger view).