From the UI to the available features, the current services are very outdated and don’t provide any features that would help students get through online school. As STEM students who are working part time jobs, enrolled full time in school, and participating in student organizations through leadership roles, it becomes very difficult to keep up with school or even stay motivated to keep up with school. We’ve used HTML, JSX and Google Cloud to build an alternative that will help students succeed in online school and eventually in face-to-face classes too. In the brainstorming process, we were able to learn a lot more about ourselves as students so we could figure out the problems to tackle in our solution. We learned the importance of team-work and time management. Team-work helped us ensure that the first time hacker on our team was able to learn from the workshops and the rest of the team to make contributions to the project.
What it does? Scholarly is a service that can be used by high schools and colleges during Covid-19 to promote collaboration and student success. It is very difficult to get all the attention you need from your professors in online class so Scholarly provides features that would allow you to schedule a Zoom meeting with you within seconds. The home page is a prime example of how much difference the UI can make. An interactive and well designed homepage welcomes the students and informs them of all their upcoming assignments for the week. Currently, the struggle is knowing what’s due and having the motivation to complete it. In scholarly, information about courses, assignments, tests, etc. will be input into the system by professors and stored in Google Cloud. This will then be displayed in Scholarly in an organized manner that makes it easier to understand what’s going on in school. Additionally, scholarly comes with a To-Do list with a progress bar that serves as motivation due to the release of endorphins from being able to visualize progress on assignments. Scholarly has a sign up system which allows everybody to build their own accounts. This is important to ensure that the students have been programmed into the right classes. Universities and schools are also closed organizations that work to protect the information of their staff and students, Scholarly authentication process solves the problem. While professors continue to provide PDF syllabus that students use to input their deadlines into their calendar, Scholarly will require professors to input all assignments, quizzes, tests and topics being covered for the week into the calendar. This will help students gain an overview of the rest of the semester and plan accordingly to ensure their success. Scholarly promotes diversity by providing services that ensure the success of every student by providing them with the tools they need to succeed in school. Organization and time management are the determinants of success in STEM, therefore, providing the tools to help students stay organized, capable of managing their time, and communicating with their professors will significantly improve performance of all diverse groups in STEM promoting inclusion.
How I built it? We used Visual Studio Code, GitHub, HTML, JSX, and Google Firebase to build the website, display the content in a presentable and exciting manner while using Google Cloud to store all our information. We built various pages but the most important is the home page which shows exactly all the features a startup like Scholarly could include in the future.
Challenges I ran into? The biggest challenge for us was time management as ShellHacks was hosted right around midterms season at the University of Houston which required us to manage our time well and sacrifice sleep to complete the project. Additionally, ShellHacks provided a lot of wonderful workshops which were the perfect opportunity to gain exposure in other fields on technology. In our passion to learn, we lost time we could’ve devoted to our project which required us to work harder due to our quick approaching deadline. We also wanted to make sure everyone on the team learned as much as possible so instead of just dividing up the work and coding, our team decide to divide up the work and code but then discuss the code and ensure that everyone understands all parts of the coding regardless of their coding experience.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of? We are proud of taking the initiative to participate in a hackathon like ShellHacks to take advantage of all the learning opportunities, network, work as a team, grow as future Software Engineers, and designing a website that tackles Social Good (Covid-19 + Inclusion & Diversity in STEM). We are very proud of this because our entire team is from the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers at the University of Houston where we work day in and day out to promote STEM and diversity. We know that our brilliant students at SHPE-UH sometimes struggle because they’re working so hard at their jobs to support themselves and their family while enrolled full time in school. Covid-19 adds on to this stress and during this time, if students are scrambling to figure out what assignments they need to do, then the professors aren’t doing their part in communicating expectations to the students. Therefore, we’re proud to have created Scholarly which will be a game-changer and assist students get to graduation in a less stressful manner.
What I learned? We learned a lot about HTML, Google Firebase and JSX and also discovered a lot of resources that would help us code faster in the future. We learned that although it is important to pursue our passion for learning by attending workshops, we must also have time devoted to hacking. However, we’re happy with our product and considering it’s an idea for a startup, we’re proud of how much potential it holds as it is exactly the type of interface students want to see at their schools.
What's next for Scholarly? We plan to continue developing the service and adding more and more features and testing it ourselves in college to reap the benefits and see if we can quantify the success of this idea before promoting it further to see if any organizations would be interested in using Scholarly to help their students.