As University students taking a full course load online due to the COVID-19 situation, we have had the opportunity to hear stories at first hand from our friends across the world of how challenging it is to keep up with deadlines. Learning about this adversity despite there being many time management strategies, we took on this challenge and brainstormed ideas that could help students stay in sync with their classes and work around the limited social interaction with their peers and professors. This inspired us to create SchoolSync, a single system that allows students and professors to establish deadlines in a quick and easily accessible manner, which makes it impossible to miss deadlines in any online situation.
What it does
SchoolSync provides students with the ability to view all their classes and deadlines within one central application. When students log into the app, they are given the option to join multiple classrooms created by others. Every assignment and deadline created in these classrooms would synced with the user’s account, allowing students to effortlessly juggle multiple classes at the same time. In the case that a student’s instructor is not on SchoolSync, the student would be able to either create their own individual assignment deadlines or classroom. By enabling the classroom creation functionality for students, our goal is to foster a more collaborative learning environment where students are still able to find ways to assist each other despite the lack of face to face contact. Furthermore, enabling personal assignment deadline and classroom creation allows for all assignment information to be located within the SchoolSync app, even if an instructor has not uploaded a class to SchoolSync.
How we built it
We built this mobile application for iOS and Android users using react-native to make it highly accessible to all students. Google Cloud's Firebase system is running as the backend and database for our application, whereas the front end is completed using React.js knowledge. Using git to maintain version control within the team was very effective in achieving optimal results.
Challenges we ran into
The major challenge we ran into was the integration of Firebase with React Native. We all have no prior experience with working with Firebase, and only one person had prior experience with React Native and Expo. We each had to experience our own learning curves in order to integrate features that we sought out for. We each had to understand the workflow between Firestore and our frontend in order to easily modify/add/remove data, and we also had to understand how the Firebase Authentication system created new user accounts.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
For some of our team members, this was the very first hackathon they participated in! One of the accomplishments that we’re proud of is tackling a field that has an impact on our everyday lives. Building an application that could help alleviate the stress within the lives of our peers and people similar to us was a really rewarding experience throughout this weekend. We were also really proud of our ability to work through adversity as a team and troubleshoot any technical issues that we were encountering despite the challenging remote work environment this weekend. Overall, we were very proud to deploy a mobile application in react native for our first time in a remote hackathon!
What we learned
We took a deeper dive into react-native and we learned how to connect our mobile application with firebase to serve as a backend and database. Developing a full stack application was a great learning opportunity to understand the architecture of modern applications and the functionality of each components in the systems design workflow. Using firestore as our database provided a ton of customizability for each user to add and manage their own classes as it works best for them. This was supported by our firebase authentication implementation to set up an accounts within our application.
What's next for SchoolSync
SchoolSync hopes to expand to universities and colleges to make millions of lives easier. A support like SchoolSync in the current COVID-19 situation is beneficial for all students and professors to keep up with deadlines.