Inspiration

We came up with this idea after we saw classmates, and ourselves constantly losing track of where online lecture links were especially when different courses use different platforms(Zoom, BBCollaborate, and Google Meets). Having something like Lectern give students access to these lecture links without having to search for where they were posted and in addition giving students notifications for when these lecture starts.

What it does

Our project concentrates on the simplification of organization of online lecture for students. We designed a Chrome extension called Lectern that notifies students of upcoming classes and offers instant class access as it begins. The extension is customizable, allowing students to input as many lectures and tutorials as they desire. Students input class names, times and a link to where the class is held. Clicking on the extension icon shows the student all classes they have during the day and offers the ability access their online lecture quickly as clicking the lecture will go to the saved lecture link. Clicking on the settings icon in the popup menu will allow the student to see their full schedule of inputted classes and the ability to add or remove classes as needed. The extension is designed with students in mind but can easily be used by professionals who have regularly weekly meetings or events.

How we built it

We built this using mainly JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. We also had to use Chrome Extension APIs to access different functions such as storing values into the local storage and setting alarms/notifications for each of the lectures. The main code for generating the popups, settings page, was based on HTML and CSS, while the interactivity of the buttons and generation of dynamic elements was done with JavaScript.

Challenges we ran into

One of the challenges our team faced was some of us were not experienced with using JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Since some of us were more experience with these languages, we worked with each other in pairs so that we were able help each other work on the project both gaining experience teach/learning more about these languages. Another challenge was it was all our first time creating a Chrome Extension. We weren't familiar with the APIs and the framework of building an extension, to overcome this, we had to do a lot of reading especially in the documentation to figure out different functions to implement features like storage and notifications. Working with times/dates was also a challenge for us as we had to calculate time and schedule the alarms for the notifications to go off. It proved to be quite difficult as we needed to figure out different situations and edge cases. Lastly we didn't have much experience with collaborative programming through Github which means we had to figure out how the system works. We also ran into some problems with merging and pulling each other's changes to which we had to circumvent with re-cloning the repository.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of what we were able to achieve this this short about of time. Since this was the first hackathon for all of us, being able to complete a project from conceptualization to reality was exciting and something we are very proud of. We are also proud of what we learned from this experience from languages and frameworks to how to work collaboratively with a team.

What we learned

We all learned a lot and gain experience with working with JavaScript, CSS, and HTML and gaining experience making our first Chrome Extension. For example, some of our members learned a lot of concepts for CSS and JavaScript since they had not experience beforehand. Since some of use had some experience with JavaScript, we did learn a lot about the framework and ecosystem of Chrome Extensions and overall how to develop one. We also learned a lot about collaborating with Github and how to push and pull our changes.

What's next for Lectern - Manage your online lectures

We had more ideas for features and quality of life changes that would have made the project even more well-rounded but due to the time constraints we had to reduce the scope of our project. One of the features we wanted to add was importing an .ics file(calendar file with events) and have it automatically add the lectures to the storage. Currently the lectures notifications repeat automatically every 7 days, we wanted to add a feature where you could select the time for a lecture to repeat, for example if a lecture was biweekly or even one time events. We also wanted to add more customization features for each lecture/event for example changing the time before lecture notification(currently 10 minutes before) and editing currently stored lectures.

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