One of the largest colleges in Canada, Fanshawe is located in London, Ontario with satellite campuses in surrounding areas. Serving Canadian and international students, and providing on premise as well as distance learning to over 15,000 full-time and 40,000 part-time students, Fanshawe offers strong academic programs, apprenticeship training and specialty education.

Educators of all types and sizes are facing similar challenges as competition for staff, faculty and students remains fierce. Providing best-in-class education supported by online tools with easy access to information through collaboration and messaging attracts, engages and retains key people. With this in mind, Fanshawe set out to embark on a new vision for their online community.

A solid track record delivering solutions in education that drive results, Fanshawe approached nonlinear to help with the visioning and design of the staff, faculty and student portal with a goal of:

  • Increasing engagement
  • Reducing silos of corporate culture
  • Helping students achieve social, cultural and academic integration
  • Clearly communicating and connecting people
  • Emphasizing the value of a Fanshawe education


Following the Performance Framework methodology, nonlinear was able to identify the strengths and gaps of Fanshawe’s current online experience. Using extensive real world practice, supporting research and the outcomes of the strategic sessions, nonlinear built a roadmap identifying short, medium and long term goals and developed a new set of wireframes. Each phase of the project had clear deliverables and quantifiable metrics for success.

Some of the key areas addressed were how various stakeholders communicated today. For the vision to work there needed to be a cultural shift away from reliance on shared drives, email and procedural work-arounds. nonlinear advised short term wins that would entice users towards the new platform. This included a parallel strategy which limited the functionality of the old tools (for example, email attachment size was reduced) and creating a vibrant, real-time experience (the introduction of executive blogging).


nonlinear's comprehensive strategy increased Fanshawe's user experience and, as a result, their usability scores. Since students often interacted with the school through online activities, this translated into better perceptions and relations between students and the institution.