What it does

It connects students in real time to a teacher or teaching assistant, and provides them with support. They have access to a mathematical keyboard to input equations which are rendered and appear in the chat. It also allows students to connect with each other, rate the support from individual teachers, and the web app has a built in plagiarism detector that teachers can use to prevent students sharing answers or to prevent teachers/teaching assistants providing too much help, e.g. if it is a test.

How I built it

We used a LAMP server stack with PHP for the server side and jQuery and Javascript for the client side. We made use of the Math Quill API to render typed maths equations in the real time chat, and the Dandelion text-similarity API to detect plagiarism in students' work. Furthermore, we used Ratchet to handle web sockets for the live chat.

Challenges I ran into

The timeframe to do this project was short, which meant we could no do sufficient testing, and in one case source a reliable library. The sockets system took about 10 hours to get working.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We programmed for a full 24 hours with small breaks to complete this fairly large project in the time frame.

What I learned

We learnt to build applications with more of a focus to test thoroughly, which will in turn make a more reliable application

What's next for scholar.ly

We wish to make minor changes to the user interface, including improved quality maths rendering so it appears clearer, and also better validation for some of the forms.

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