Amidst the global pandemic, it is getting increasingly more difficult for students to find study groups, educational support, and more specifically, tutors. We knew that now more than ever, a service that allows students and other users to utilize common resources around them was needed. PrepSci is a platform based on the fundamentals of the sharing economy, which also allows any person to participate in the community, generating jobs and opportunities for all involved. This is something that we thought could be very beneficial to many that suffer from unemployment and lack of educational support due to COVID-19.

What it does

PrepSci is a mobile/desktop platform that matches tutees with tutors based on subject specificity, price range, location, and other factors. Based on the sharing economy, PrepSci is a space where anyone with a smartphone can get involved, provide educational support, and earn a bit of cash. The algorithm is designed to find a tutor based on the interests selected by the tutee and provide them with their top matches. All tutors that sign up with this app will be required to show proof of experience and/or any certifications, which will publicly be disclosed on the app to aid in helping tutees find the right tutor. Tutees are able to find the perfect tutor that is credible and tailored to their needs and schedules.

How we built it

We started PrepSci with an app prototype, to visualize how we wanted the app to look like and any features we wanted to showcase. This allowed us to see the goal we had in mind, and cater to any other ideas as the next steps. After visualizing, we began to create the backend code via Python. We made classes for the tutors and tutees and began hard coding the instances to see how the database would look like in the future. Our next steps are to integrate all of this code using the Google Cloud API called App Engine/

Challenges we ran into

Given the vast potential of our project in areas of optimal matching criteria, group study sessions, location optimization, subject intensity, our team had an extensive discussion at the start of the design process to determine the best approach. The discussion was extensive and resulted in a slower start to the design process, however, it helped us lay out a tangible pathway to follow and helped us efficiently overcome many hurdles before they arose to become major issues.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

PrepSci is something all of our teammates felt deeply about, as it connected with issues that we were facing personally. Everyone in the PrepSci team will attend university in the fall, where we are exposed to new learning styles and changes in educational support due to COVID-19. Having an academic community is vital to the success of a student, and so is having ample job opportunities in such devastating cases of unemployment. PrepSci offers a chance for students to connect with those around them and creates paid opportunities for those looking for work. We are really proud of PrepSci as we truly believe it could make a difference to so many people amidst the pandemic.

What we learned

Through the process of developing PrepSci, we have gotten yet another chance to appreciate the power of our skills and apply them to the real world to get a sense of its true impact. The opportunity to build both the back-end engine and develop the business strategy for the project gave us an opportunity to appreciate the business model and develop our model based on the user interest. Furthermore, the team experience where every individual brings in a unique skill set formed a dynamic team that resembles project implementation in the real world where individuals from all different fields come together to find the optimal solution through exceptional communication and teamwork.

What's next for PrepSci

After its launch, PrepSci is intended to increase its scope by incorporating several different features. PrepSci intends to include additional options for tutees to choose from to help tailor their needs more effectively. These options are designed to find a tutor that perfectly incorporates the student’s values, interests, and needs in their teachings. The PrepSci team is also currently conducting research in order to incorporate cryptocurrency to aid with payments and transfers as well as chatbots to help users and expedite the process. We hope to partner with LinkedIn in the near future for user login and credibility as well.

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