Cranium Cafe: Bringing Face-to-Face Interactions to Online Education

Tracy Gorham, CEO
In recent times, a cocktail of competition among education institutions and the race to find cost-effective ways to deliver knowledge to the masses have led to many innovative technologies and programs. However, with the number of students dropping out of courses midway, Cranium Cafe, a Salt Lake City based company, has created a flexible solution that is lifting industry standards for online and distance education. "It's astounding how many students feel isolated,” and that isolation is often made worse with online education," remarks Tracy Gorham, Cranium Cafe CEO & founder. "Students want help, they want to feel connected and supported." This support can now be provided using Cranium Cafe — an online platform that allows students to easily meet face-to-face and collaborate on assignments and course materials. Using Cranium Cafe, instructors are able to interact online with their students just as they would in their offices, which is invaluable for things like gauging the student’s understanding of course content. Instructors and advisors can also gain insight into the lives of their students for a more holistic idea about their general well-being. Because this is done on an online platform, Cranium Cafe removes distance as an obstacle.

Cranium Cafe has catered to institutions that understand the value of human interaction and have come up with a solution that aids the teaching staff by providing a more accessible portal for student-faculty interaction. "Our purpose is to make those relationships and connections available to all students, not just the few who have the luxury of lounging around on campus and knocking on doors to take advantage of instructor office hours," says Gorham. To meet this need, Cranium Cafe offers a host of services, including Seamless Learning Management System Integration, Seamless Webpage Integration, Collaboration Board, Archiving, and Video Playback.

Similar platforms available in the market have their limitations with cumbersome setup and security threats. Cranium Cafe's solution has addressed these limitations and its users enjoy easy connectivity, ensuring that students are more likely to reach out for help when they need it rather than simply falling off the radar.
"Our simplicity in execution, coupled with FERPA compliancy to protect student privacy, has created a safe and productive learning environment," she adds.

Samantha, a student enrolled in the distance learning program at Spokane Community College, is a prime example of a student who’s seen the benefits of Cranium Cafe. Samantha balances a fulltime job and a full online course load. Last year she was failing her logic course until she started using Cranium Cafe midway through the term. Their platform helped her meet weekly with her instructor to go through assignments, and enabled her to pass her course.

The idea of Cranium Cafe as a ‘technological solution' is sort of counterintuitive in a way because the early adopters seek us out as a way to return to more oldfashioned relationships & connection

The merits of Cranium Cafe are also seen by instructors. There are several courses instructors have only reluctantly taught online because they are unable to conduct the discussion component. But with Cranium Cafe, professors are willing to teach these courses as they are able to speak, face-to-face, with their online students even though they're not in a class together. Many schools have taken steps to offer classes to off-campus students. With Cranium Cafe, the potential of these classes improves by providing a secure platform for instant face-to-face communication. "The idea of Cranium Cafe as a `technological solution' is sort of counterintuitive in a way because the early adopters consider us as a way to return to more old-fashioned relationships and connection," says Gorham.

"We’ve been pleased to see that students at our schools have also been connecting online with academic advisors, enrollment officers, tutors, and with other students in their courses," concludes Gorham.

Cranium Cafe

Salt Lake City, UT

Tracy Gorham, CEO

Cranium Cafe is the student SOS button that offers instant in-office appointments to your off-campus students.