Thank you to Michael Hakkarinen, Harmonize Success Coach at Harmonize for sharing a product demonstration with our team here at Atomic Jolt! Harmonize has many rich media features that make it fun and easy for students to engage with classmates and course content. I was especially impressed by the variety of content types (audio recordings, video recordings, annotated images, annotated videos, emojis, text and more). Below are some highlights. Thanks again, Michael!
In case you’d like to jump to a highlight in the video above, here are some highlight timestamps.
1:20: Executive summary of Harmonize
3:10: Basic functionality
5:21: Detailed engagement on a post
8:46: How an instructor creates a topic
13:30: Some advanced features
21:10: Zoom integrations (and other integrations)
25:45: Upcoming features
Purpose of Harmonize
Authored by Rich Kingsford, Software Development Manager and Adjunct Instructor
Harmonize boosts student engagement in the online or in-person classroom through asynchronous communication tools similar to popular social media platforms. Harmonize integrates with popular Learning Management Systems (LMSs), including Blackboard, Brightspace, Canvas, and Moodle. This integration makes Harmonize more accessible to students, teachers, and instructional designers (it can also decrease your set-up hassle too – Woohoo!).
The Essence of Harmonize
The essence of Harmonize, to me, was its peer-to-peer engagement tools. I’ve seen a few tools that offer asynchronous discussion, but Harmonize’s tools seemed more intuitive, more attractive, and more accessible. I loved the card concept, where instead of a standard text discussion they engage with a more visual card-style layout where there are images and reactions that are intuitive to students. On the back of the card, there are more details and space for responses and comments. It’s designed to help students think of their own discussion questions and engage in their own way.
This part impressed me the most. Harmonize includes all the popular text-editing capabilities (dynamic links, tags, embedded images, styling, and drag-and-drop attachments) plus the ability for students and teachers to record audio and or video! Straight from your phone or pre-recorded. What’s more, students can annotate images and video (timestamps) without needing to use a separate tool. “A picture says 1,000 words,” indeed!
A few additional features I could help but mention:
Native 1:1 and group chat, facilitating asynchronous & private conversation (student or teacher initiated).
Student tagging, making it easier for students to get their team members’ attention.
“Flag as question for the teacher” toggle on any post
Engagement analytics, including views, comments, responses – both on the positive and negative side, making it easier for the instructor to identify less-engaged students and possibly nudge them.
Online presence, making it easy to see who is online in the moment
Zoom integration, allowing you to create Zoom rooms without leaving the window and the ability to post recorded zoom sessions easily in the discussion to engage all members of the class (sidenote: I find it easier to just use a single, personal, web conferencing room the entire semester – I just bookmark and hotkey the room url).
Harmonize offers fantastic engagement capabilities for online, hybrid and face-to-face classes. Even in my face-to-face courses, I’m using asynchronous discussion tools more often to engage students. This can help a shy or embarrassed student move out of their comfort zone and engage in richer conversations. Additionally, it can open the door to self-paced learning, allowing each student in the class to learn as much as they can as individuals. They facilitate organic mentorships – where one student helps another. Harmonize is easy-to-use and accessible with a WCAG 2.1 Level A and AA rating. I’m especially impressed by their attention to detail on those small, often forgotten, challenges students and instructors face.