Inspiration

NUSMods is everyone’s go-to went planning modules. It provides students with essential details on modules, and from time to time, students who have taken the module may also leave a review in the module’s description page. A review normally has a header that consists of the semester in which the student took the module and the professor who taught the module in that semester. The rest of the review is a potentially long essay describing the student’s experience and what others can expect from the module.

This format of review poses a number of problems. There are not a lot of reviews available as writing one could be rather cumbersome. The lack of reviews can lead to misinterpretation and voluntary response can give wrong impressions. Furthermore, the reviews are not quantitative or summarised and students may require a longer time to read through the reviews to understand the workload and the content-heaviness of the module.

How many times are we hesitant to leave a module review because we don’t care to elaborate on our experience, be it pleasant or not? How many times do we see conflicting reviews of the semester only to realise that they might have taken the modules under a different professor, in a different semester? Don’t we all desire a faster and simpler way to review a module?

What it does

Ratings is an alternative review system that aims to encourage more students to provide feedback by streamlining the process as well as allowing prospective students of a module to better understand the module easily.

The improved system allows for a quick poll of the student's experience with the module, something that can be done in under a minute, with the option of providing more details for those who still wish to do so.

How we built it

We spent a long time in the ideation phase, with the goal of creating a product that can help improve the lives of students through the help of the student community.

When ratings came into mind, we started with a wireframe diagram, iterating and improving on the design until we felt it was both aesthetic and user friendly.

For the frontend, we tried to create most of the components from scratch instead of pre-built components from existing libraries as we wanted to challenge ourselves.

For the backend, we has to plan the APIs we needed to create as well as the database structure that would best suit our idea, learning how to use firebase as well as its various features on the go.

Challenges we ran into

Our team’s tech stack are generally centred around the frontend, and most of us have limited experience in using firebase and firestore functions. Some bootstrap classes seemed to be unavailable for use as we developed the frontend, and we spent a lot of time building up the styles ourselves.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

The product’s user interface is useful to the viewer and aesthetically pleasing. The new system implemented makes the reviewing process more streamlined than ever and will hopefully encourage more students to provide reviews to share their knowledge and experience with their juniors.

What we learned

We learnt the importance of communication in a group hackathon project, and good planning helps in reducing mishaps and wastage of time.

What's next for Ratings

Currently, we identify students by verifying a valid student number has been entered. Students have to use the same student number to update their submitted entries as well. This can be improved by providing a "Login with SSO" button using the NUSNET account as the final layer of verification of the reviewer being a student in NUS and has in fact, taken the module.

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