Four University of Hull students are hoping to transform the student experience at universities across the UK – and their own futures – with an award-winning app they built in a single day.
The computer science students won the prestigious Hackathon contest with the app at the major educational technology Digifest summit last month but now hope to launch their own business and make it available to universities across the UK.
Nathaniel Read, Harry Gwinnell, Daniel Tregoing and Alex Lovett, who are also part of the University of Hull’s Computer Science Society, competed against 10 other universities from across the UK and had just a day to develop a new piece of educational technology.
They decided to develop an app that could transform the way students engage with their universities while also cutting their environmental impact and they won – the third time the team have scooped the top prize at hackathons.
Nathaniel, who has written a blog and produced a video about their experience, says: “From our own experiences, we know what services students want to use and we realised we could improve the way they are accessed and used. We had the intelligent campus idea but we had just a few hours to make it a reality. There was a lot of pressure but it was a great experience.
“We had to present the idea to a panel of judges and a large audience who were at the JISC conference and we also had to face some challenging questions. However, the judges loved the great practical applications, the fact it can be implemented straight away and, most importantly, that it can add a lot to the student experience.”The intelligent campus app has a wealth of features that allow students to find PCs to work on, book rooms, make a range of payments from parking to cafes, order food deliveries, register at lectures, use it as a security pass to access different areas of the campus, view timetables, access health and support services and get instant help in an emergency.
Upon accepting an offer from a university, students will be asked to download the app and can instantly begin accessing the information they need, streamlining the process for when they arrive.
The University of Hull is already working with the team with a view to implementing the app across campus but the students hope to take it even further.
Harry says: “We’ve had a really positive reception from the University of Hull and we’re in discussions about how it could be implemented. I’m in my final year and have already got a job offer from Microsoft but I think we may spin this out as a business here and use the support we can get from the university to make it a success.”
Nathaniel adds: “My experiences here at the university keep getting better and better and it’s been clear the university is committed to investing in the future. We think this app could make a big difference to students and all of the staff too. We’ve got high hopes for what lies ahead.”