With many students doing online learning, school has gotten a lot harder- and it's not just the academics! Especially for people entering into a new school, whether it is high school or post secondary, the pandemic is doing quite a number on the connections between students. For anyone currently in online school, we all know the feeling of trying to reach out to our peers through a zoom chat... it's not so easy. Horizon was our solution to this issue which so many students are facing.

What it does

Horizon is designed for teachers and professors teaching online classes, to help build connections between students in their class. Simply, a group of people join a session and are asked a series of questions. At the end of the session, everyone is matched up with another individual who shares similar interests, ambitions, and personality traits, establishing a connection between them. Ideally, an instructor could spend 5 minutes running a Horizon session at the start of an online course to have everyone match up with another classmate. It's a fantastic way to make teammates, study partners, and friendships!

How we built it

The front end was built with Next.js, React, and HTML/CSS. The back end was built using python, flask, tensorflow, and google cloud, with a machine learning model (fancy!)

Challenges we ran into

We tried to use websocket to have more of a video-game like feel, with live updates. We had to abandon the idea, which probably saved us a lot of time in the long run. Also, as with almost every project, connecting the front end and back end proved to be a pain.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Making a clean looking front end with an intuitive UI for all age groups to use (It can be for people in as low as middle school, after all), as well as a machine learning model on the backend to create the pairs.

What we learned

This was our first 'multi-user' project, which was interesting. It added a new level of required coordination, in order to correctly execute a Horizon session.

What's next for Horizon

Probably an improved visual aspect to the website, as well as more thorough and deliberate questions and answers. Currently most of the questions are all quite standard.

Thanks for reading through all that, if you did! :D

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