With the return of in-person classes, we've seen a noticeable decrease in student engagement in classes. Students had the comfort of zoom chats and anonymous online forums to ask questions during online classes, and the digitization of classrooms enabled professors to better track student engagement and performance.
While we definitely don't want to go back to online classes, we feel it's necessary to take some of the positives of online learning and apply them to the modern day classroom. A tech-driven solution to increase student engagement in class, provide insights to professors, gamify the teaching process, and improve the quality of classes for both students and professors: WolfAsks.
What it does
WolfAsks is an online platform that is used synchronously with course lectures. Professors can host a class session (much like a Zoom call) and students are able to join the class with a join code. As professors lecture, students can post their questions anonymously into the live-feed. The WolfAsks system then uses Natural Language Processing to automatically categorize the question into relevant topics. Professors are then able to address questions by topic, saving time as similar questions are grouped together.
Following teaching sessions, Professors are presented with a dashboard where they can view the engagement of their class sessions and track student engagement (amongst other metrics) for the duration of the semester. This enables professors to identify topics and lectures where student engagement has been lower, prompting them to restructure those lectures to improve the content.
This results in an overall increase in the quality of courses, as more students are encouraged to participate in active discourse during lectures, and professors are encouraged to refine their teaching to get their engagement as high as possible!
How we built it
WolfAsks was built on a React+Flask techstack. We incorporated a natural language processing algorithm that enables us to group questions by topics automatically.
Challenges we ran into
It was a bit difficult to get used to the React+Flask techstack due to our unfamiliarity with it. Additionally, we ran into some challenges with the CSS not being consistent. Implementing sockets was also a massive struggle, and took up a large portion of our time.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- This was our first project using the React+Flask techstack
- Natural Language Processing actually works
- The website has backgrond music
What we learned
- How to use React+Flask
- How to use sockets
- Retro-styled websites need to make a resurgence
What's next for WolfAsks
WolfAsks will be revamped with more meaningful features and insights. We hope to track, in addition to student engagement:
- Commonly Asked Topics
- Attendance vs time
- On-topic vs Off-topic discussion
Some additional features we hope to incorporate:
- Mini-games (to increase student engagement)
- Professor-defined metrics (metrics professors can choose to track)
- Data exports (both students and professors can export data to share with others and conduct their on data analysis)