The purpose of education is for people to learn. But how do we uphold that idea if the current school system doesn't facilitate the feasibility for students to ask questions? Imagine you are in a giant lecture hall with 400+ students, and you have no idea what the professor was talking about. You wanted to ask questions, but you are too shy and afraid of it being considered as a "dumb question"
As students, we tried to analyze the fundamental reason why engagement between teachers and students is so minimal in most classrooms. In most cases, even the teachers themselves want the students to ask them questions! The best thing is, this is not only you. Most people also feel the same way. We understand this because we are all students that have been through that situation and want to break through the boundary of engagement! Thus, we developed ClassInsights, a real-time classroom engagement application designed for the betterment of learning!
What it does
The iOS mobile application allows students to rate their understanding from 'What are you talking about?' to 'Easy peasy lemon squeezy!' In addition to that, we also allow students to ask questions to be shown immediately on the professor's web dashboard. We allow flexibility for the students to choose either they want to ask questions with their names attached or anonymously—utilizing the computational knowledge API from Wolfram Alpha. That way, we can eliminate the students' shyness and fear of their questions being considered dumb, despite them being not!
The web application provides an intuitive and powerful dashboard for the professor. It features an average live understanding level of the students in the class so the professor can have an idea of how well the students keep up with their lecture! The professor can overview the list of questions asked by the students so that he/she can go over specific topics on the board that may confuse students. Even cooler than that, the website uses complex algorithms to summarize the numerous amount of questions to related keywords! Thus, it is useful for professors to analyze the classroom's understanding and go over specific topics of the lecture.
How we built it
We developed a mobile application for the students and a website for the professors. We used the Swift Programming Language to deliver the native experience for iOS! We also used HTML, CSS, and Pymongo for the website to provide users the functionality we want to present. We also used domain.com for our customized domain name for our project!
We relied on MongoDB as our database storage to store the list of questions and the classroom understanding levels, which is hosted in the Google Cloud server. We also implemented Google Cloud Natural Language Processing API to obtain the keywords that we want (which is obviously the ones related to the subject!) and MongoDB Query API to retrieve the latest list of questions, keywords, and process the real-time average understanding level among hundreds of students to be displayed in the dashboard!
Challenges we ran into
It was tiring and took us around two hours only to link the MongoDB database to the iOS application! We also find it challenging to create a query in MongoDB that suits our needs, which is to obtain the keywords from the list of questions directly in MongoDB! We also spent hours to understand the Natural Language Processing API to be implemented after we get the query results (the list of questions) ready from the query!
Accomplishments that we're proud of
For the product, we are glad that we can integrate both the website and the iOS application with the MongoDB database and its powerful and customizable queries (the Google Cloud Natural Language Processing API is very cool!) During the process, however, we feel immensely proud that we can collaborate and work with each other despite us never meeting each other in person. To solve this, we hosted numerous video calls during the 36-hour period.
What we learned
A clear and well-understood blueprint and planning for all are vital for a collaborative project!
What's next for ClassInsights
Provide more accessibility features for disabled students, able to collect class attendance, and work with numerous universities and colleges that suffer the engagement problem.