We came up with this idea as a result of our frustrations in the current methods in creating study groups. We believe that collaborating in groups yields great benefits in one’s overall learning experience and is an imperative skill to have in today's society. Current methods were either inefficient or were too complicated to use, and we were seeking a more intuitive solution, which lead us to develop StudyLink. StudyLinkis an online platform that combines all a university’s courses in to one large forum. This forum emphasizes the development of study groups through the users posts as well as pairing using the input of individual’s personal preferences and goals. Moreover, it has access to many third party apps, such as calendar, and access to many of the course details such as the syllabus. StudyLink makes the process of communicating about courses simple and effective, which resolves our two main issues with today’s alternatives.
All features are planned:
- repository of course syllabuses and scheduling details
- auto class enrollment
- class forums/study group requests
- formation of virtual study groups to facilitate actual study group formation
- group messaging, shared files, calendars, links
After several failed attempts at building a front-end working model of our web-app, after resorting multiple times to Bootstrap and templates only to scrap our work, we decided to focus our efforts into the idea, the pitch, and a semi-interactive model that demonstrated a small portion of what could have been if we had the technical know-how necessary. This was done in Adobe XD (Experience Design) on the last night, and the resulting demo was embedded into our web page (HTML5/CSS) and hosted on Google Firebase, with our domain being provided by Namecheap.
What We Learned & Challenges
Since this was our groups first hackathon, and our first time coding in several years, there was a lot of emphasis on gaining the technical knowledge needed in coding to develop this platform. Many of us attended the workshops throughout the weekend, most notable the design workshop, and spend most of our time learning languages such as css, html and swift, to name a few. We were able to identify a problem that directly affected, the difficulty of forming study groups and meeting people, us and decided to come up with a solution.
Going in with very little combined knowledge of front and back end web development, our team was faced with several challenges. Building a functional, scalable platform that could support the functions that we wanted to have was simply not possible given the amount of time. However, we did spend a significant amount of time extending our knowledge bases: HTML5, CSS, Swift, and Git, to name a few. We believe this fits this year's HackWestern theme: learning.
Ultimately, we were placed in a completely foreign event for all of us and came out with more knowledge in not only coding, Photoshop and web design, but also in teamwork and perseverance to push through the long hours necessary to create the foundation for this platform.