Behind the Cube: Back-to-School Edition

Oct 8 · 4 min read

For many of our team members, back-to-school brings a variety of exciting challenges, more opportunities for collaboration with educators, and insights into daily PreK-12 classroom life. For this edition of Behind the Cube, we’re sitting down with one of our colleagues who makes all the moving parts of the back-to-school season at McGraw-Hill possible.

Today’s highlight: Bijal Shah, Sr. Technical Product Manager

Can you describe your role at McGraw-Hill?

I am Senior Technical Product Manager for McGraw-Hill’s Digital Platform Group (DPG)focused on our Access program. The goal of Access is to simplify the registration processes to save teachers and administrators time and promote fidelity of use of our digital solutions.

Improving learner outcomes with powerful digital solutions starts with removing barriers of entry to our digital platform.

Our group supports all the registration and login flows for our customers making sure they can get easy access to their content and digital learning features. My teams support the landing pages for instructors and learners from where they can get access to their classes and content. We also support the Customer Admin Experience where our customer admins are provided with tools to manage their user and roster data, product licensing, access to assessments and reporting etc.

I work closely with our different levels of support teams to help with documentation, trainings for onboarding new support team members for back-to-school support. My team also supports tooling for our internal support and administrators staff to be able to effectively perform their job responsibilities.

What does the back-to-school season hold for you? How do you prepare?

We have a growing number of digital solutions for customers spanning K-12, Higher Education, Professional and International. As our digital footprint grows, and our learners increase their use of digital solutions to improve learning outcomes, the need to streamline and simplify access increases dramatically. One of the biggest goals of the back-to-school season for me and my group is to make sure we can build out these capabilities which provides easy access to our digital platforms to all the learners, instructors and administrators.

We start preparing for the back-to-school season literally the year before with our planning sessions where we discuss and agree upon the scope of new features, enhancements to existing features and focusing on areas needing stabilization. As a next step to that we work with our digital teams on agreeing upon scope making sure that we can provide seamless and easy to use experience for our customers. That includes lot of UX design, user research studies which helps us see our customer’s perspective on the new workflows we are offering. The feedback from those sessions help us adjust the workflows in favor of better user experience and ease of use ahead of the actual roll out of features to customers. We start working with our support teams and documentation teams months before the final back to school release on providing details on the upcoming changes for the back to school season.

There’s a tremendous amount of work that goes in getting ready for back-to-school from the DPG side, Business side and Support side. There are multiple sessions working collaboratively amongst those groups to make sure we are able to provide all the needed details to our support teams to be able to successfully support our customer’s questions and queries. We also work very closely with documentation team for new customer documentation, year end processes related messaging and all new/existing features related enhancements.

Back-to-school is the time of the year where we see lot of people’s efforts going live in front of customers for usage and it’s a great feeling to see our work make change in life of our learners, instructors and administrators.

What do you think educators need the most to have a strong back-to-school season?

I feel the most needed thing is to be able to access our digital platform and learning resources. Educators should be able to onboard, setup their new class rosters, contents and planners according their needs. And can give access to the class material to their learners.

What inspires you about working in the education industry?

The nature of the work and value that this industry brings to our future generations. I strongly believe that right education has power to bring the evolution in all other areas as “Because Learning Changes Everything” is a very true statement. I find it very interesting to see how learning mechanism has changed over the time from textbook to digital devices. Being part of that journey has been a great experience and I look forward to learning more and contributing to the change that we bring together as a learning science company.

For resources and support to help you start the school year with confidence, visit our Back-to-School Preparedness Page.

Inspired Ideas

Resources, ideas, and stories for K-12 educators. We focus on learning science, educational equity, social and emotional learning, and evidence-based teaching strategies. Be sure to check out The Art of Teaching Project, our guest blogging platform for all educators.


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We apply the science of learning to create innovative educational solutions and content to improve outcomes from K-20 and beyond.

Inspired Ideas

Resources, ideas, and stories for K-12 educators. We focus on learning science, educational equity, social and emotional learning, and evidence-based teaching strategies. Be sure to check out The Art of Teaching Project, our guest blogging platform for all educators.

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