Bonfyre Ignites Student Engagement at the University of Missouri St. Louis

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Pilot project expected to show increase in student communication and engagement.

I have been using Bonfyre in the classroom for all of my classes for over a year now. The impact has been quite significant and I will be publishing a research paper on my findings later this spring on the impact on academic performance. - Perry Drake

Bonfyre, the “social network as-a-service” start-up, launched a pilot project this week with the University of Missouri St. Louis to understand the impact of Bonfyre in the classroom. The pilot project was created out of mutual interest to further research on the relationship between virtual communication, engagement and performance using Bonfyre’s private social networking platform.

“I have been using Bonfyre in the classroom for all of my classes for over a year now. The impact has been quite significant and I will be publishing a research paper on my findings later this spring on the impact on academic performance,” said Perry Drake, Assistant Teaching Professor & Academic Director, College School of Business Administration at the University of Missouri St. Louis. “This pilot project will allow us to work with Bonfyre to better leverage the entire platform and measure the impact of student-to-student communication, student-to-faculty communication and student engagement."

The pilot will span the Spring 2015 semester in five classes. Bonfyre is working closely with Radiant CX (a women-owned engagement consulting firm) and the university faculty and administration to develop programs specific to each class and evaluate specific features and strategies. The project is being managed by Daren Curry, Director of Online Operations at UMSL and Dylan Herx, Instructional Designer at the Center for Teaching and Learning at UMSL.

“I have seen first hand how bonfyre can improve student communications and engagement through the use in Professor Drake’s class,” said Daren Curry. “I am excited to conduct further research on those concepts that will also leverage Bonfyre’s experience with engagement and team building,”continued Curry.

Online Learning has grown dramatically in the past five years. According to the Online Learning Consortium, over 7.1 million of higher education students are taking at least one online course, and increase of 400,000 (6.1%) from the previous year.

“81% of students point to lack of interaction with fellow students, poor communication with faculty, and lower self-discipline as barriers to success in online learning,” said Chris Dornfeld, President of Bonfyre. Dornfeld continued, “The Bonfyre platform is uniquely suited to tackle this problem and apply the engagement success we have had with companies to the student engagement challenges in higher education.”

Online Learning

From the 2013 “Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States” by the Babson Survey Research Group and Quahhog Research Group. http://www.onlinelearningconsortium.org

  •     7.1 million of higher education students are taking at least one online course. already stated above
  •     The 6.1 % growth rate represents over 400,000 additional students taking at least one online course in 2013.
  •     The percent of academic leaders rating the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those as in face-to-face instruction, grew from 57% in 2003 to 74% in 2013.

From “2012 – Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States”, Online Learning Consortium http://onlinelearningconsortium.org

  •     80% of institutions are offering at least several courses online and more than half offering a significant number of courses online.
  •     81% of students point to lack of interaction with fellow students, poor communication with faculty and low self-discipline as barriers to success in online learning

ABOUT UMSL
The largest research university located in Missouri’s most populous and economically important region, UMSL provides excellent learning experiences and leadership opportunities to a diverse student body whose influence on the region upon graduation is immense. Founded in 1963, UMSL is spread across 350 acres with a mix of modern and historic buildings as well as a variety of student residence halls, condominiums and apartments.

ABOUT BONFYRE
Bonfyre is a leading social narrowcasting technology that better connects its users and customers to the people who matter. Each Bonfyre is an exclusive social network for real-time chat, photo and video sharing for family, friends, co-workers, shared experiences and more. Bonfyre’s customers pay to access dozens of advanced features like moderator options, analytics and engagement tools to tailor-fit each Bonfyre to their needs. Learn more at bonfyreapp.com or follow @BonfyreApp.

ABOUT RADIANT CX
Radiant CX was founded in 2013 as a women-owned employee engagement consultancy. The firm works with companies to provide experiential employee programs to connect and engage people back to the organization. Services include employer branding, onboarding programs, leadership workshops, and communications strategies and plans. Learn more at radiantcx.com.

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Jake Berstein
bonfyre
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