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Digitizing My University Department

Illustrating conversion of a simple idea into working Android app

Digitizing My University Department

Saturday February 04, 2017,

5 min Read

Hello everyone out there. First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Paras and I live in Sirsa district of Haryana which is a quite backward area in terms of education, health, IT and other core facilities. I am a student of Chaudhary Devi Lal University (CDLU) situated in Sirsa which is the only university nearby. As it's with all educational institutes of India, lack of basic facilities is very common. Besides it, I am currently studying my graduation in Mathematics (Hons) from the university campus.

How !dea Originated?

Most ideas come by chance. As every new idea is the base of every big change, mostly its origin is the need and need is the mother of invention. So I got the idea during a general conversation with my friends. We were discussing current level of education. Mostly we don't talk this much serious but when we do we revolutionize (haha :D Just Kidding). Somehow I spoke that there should be one place to access all department related stuff like past years question papers, syllabus and important information. This saying of Mahatma Gandhi quickly hit my mind "Be the change you wish to see in the world". I thought about it what I can do for this problem. Will it be worth my time? I had two months of vacation coming up. That was just something I wanted. That is a lot of time for learning something new.

Meeting Application's Standards

An app should be straight-forward, easy to use and good in design. Straightforward means the intended functions of the app should be on the main screen or should be easy to locate. I promised myself if I will be developing an app, I won't make an outdated design or difficult to use app like the general education department apps you can find in the store. So I started studying important Android concepts.

The Journey

It wasn't easy. It shouldn't have been easy. If it is easy, it's not worth doing. I think this saying is true. Excited stuff is only developed when you work really hard. I started reading articles here and there on the web and started watching YouTube videos. Seriously there's no shortage of free stuff online when you have the desire to learn something. Slowly but steadily I started grasping concepts and it became a whole lot easier. 

 My mentor throughout my journey is my all time favorite teacher Sh. Balwant Saharan. When I was in school, he taught me in all top classes from 8th standard to 12th. Whenever I had problems in programming, I used to discuss with him and he always came up with a solution. Without him, the project wouldn't have been completed. As July came to an end, I was ready to launch it. CDLU Mathematics Hub was launched on August 1st, 2016.

How People Reacted?

The response was quite good. Students and teachers weren't expecting such kind of stuff. But I was happy to serve them with their needs. This is how the app looks:

Version 1 Screenshots

Version 1 Screenshots

In two more months, I crunched few bugs, added some little nifty features and some remaining material. So it was looking all perfect. But... wait what? Perfect? Is there anything which is perfect? No! As time passed, more ideas propagated into my mind. The saying is too true, "The best is yet to come!" and it was true in my case too.

Perfecting In January

Once again it was the time of winter holidays. I felt that some important features were missing from the App. For example, Notices is such feature which must be there in every educational department app. The purpose of such feature is to inform students of latest department news. Another issue was that when users downloaded files from the app, they had to go to File Explorer to open the files, which was a lengthy process.

To tackle these issues, I worked hard in January and I'm so proud to release version 2.0. I've introduced Notices feature which serves the same purpose I described above. Offline feature shows downloaded files within the app and allows users to open/delete the files. Along with these, I made a new and easy to use design which further enhances simplicity.

New Design, Offline Feature and Notices Feature

New Design, Offline Feature and Notices Feature

A Little Innovation

In version 2.0, I introduced a new experimental feature called Assignments. The purpose of this feature is to digitize the Assignment work. Students can see the assignments given by the teacher from within the app. Teachers are given a password and they just update the work for their respective subjects and it's immediately visible to users. I am sincerely hoping that the teachers and students will welcome this feature positively.

A little dialog shows the assignment for the chosen subject

A little dialog shows the assignment for the chosen subject

Final Words

The pleasure isn't there in buying new things for ourselves. The real pleasure is felt when we make someone happy or make someone's work easier. That's the point here. The happiest thing for me was that I made it easy for students to access the required resources. We all have got talent by default. We just need to understand society's requirements and work upon them in a way that it actually helps people. But I still believe that the best is yet to come!