Monthly Archives: March 2011

Creating a Comprehensive Course Guide for Students

Every semester, students at the University of Michigan must decide what classes they want to take and register for these classes online. Often times, students have to pick classes based solely on the name of the class without any additional information about the details of the course or its instructor. As it is, the course guide offered by the University of Michigan provides a very broad and general description of each class with no details about the course syllabus or instructor. Students may try and use outside resources such as to get a better idea of who will be teaching them, but these websites often contain biased and subjective reviews. As a result, many students discover that the classes they signed up for were nothing like what they had imagined and are forced to drop these classes from their schedule after the initial registration period has ended. When this happens, it is very difficult for a student to add another class of interest to their schedule because of scheduling conflicts or the lack of available seats in a class.

At edUMize, we believe there is a simple and effective solution to this problem: consolidate all of the course information, course reviews, and instructor evaluations into one online database that is linked directly to the student registration webpage. As of right now, the resources that students need to make educated decisions about the classes they want to take certainly exist; however, they are just difficult for students to find and access. After every semester, the University of Michigan sends out evaluation forms for students to rate the quality of their courses and instructors. These evaluations tend to provide quality evaluations of classes and professors without much bias, and they would be a valuable tool for students to have when trying to schedule classes. Furthermore, every class has a syllabus that is released to the students after the students have already registered for that class. These syllabi provide a lot of insight about the structure and content that will be covered in a course, and they would be very useful for students to see before they registered for classes.

Our solution is simple: when it comes time for students to register for classes, have each instructor for every class upload the class syllabus directly to the registration website for students to see. In addition, have the course evaluations for each class and professor linked directly to the registration page as well. With all of these resources made readily available, we believe students will have much more success choosing classes, and we think this will alleviate a lot of the problems that occur when students have to drop classes in the middle of a semester.

Please post any thoughts or ideas that you have to the comments.

Hungry between classes but don’t know where to go?

On campus, when in a rush in between classes and looking for food your options are often limited to vending machines, fast food, or just not eating. On top of that, the vending machines are the only convenient in-transit options when you’re on the go. Unfortunately, vending machines as well as fast food options are mainly unhealthy and high in fat, high in sugar, and high in calories.

EdUMize can tackle this problem with a couple of possible solutions. If we have a limited budget we can swap out the unhealthy options in vending machines, creating healthy, convenient, and fast options for when you’re on the go. If we have a more extensive budget, we can build another cafe similar to Bert’s cafe in the Undergraduate Library in centrally located areas like the Chemistry building and Mason hall where students can find healthy, fast alternatives to fast food restaurants.

Please leave your feedback with the option you prefer or any other alternatives you can think of.

~Group 6

Take Control of Your Phone: End Needless Text & Call Interruptions

While edUMize is our #1 priority as employees, we cannot neglect our other obligations to school, family, friends, etc.  Even while at work, in a meeting, in class, or on a date, we cannot turn off our mobile devices for even a minute because we might need to be reached by someone important; whether it be mom/dad, a boyfriend/girlfriend, or our boss; Mr. Gerben.  As a consequence, we receive tons of non-urgent communication throughout the day.

Why not have an application on our phones that can automatically screen calls and texts so that only certain people can reach us when we are preoccupied with more important tasks?  Group 5 is proposing just that, and we call it Do Not Disturb.  With Do Not Disturb, we can set our electronic calendar in advance (using Google Calendar, iCal, or other similar programs) and have the option to screen our calls/texts during set events.  You determine a “VIP List” in advance so that only specific people can reach you while the application is screening calls and texts.  Those who are not on the VIP List that try and reach you will receive a polite text message in return, stating that you are preoccupied at the moment and that you will return their message as soon as possible.  Calls will receive a similar message; only it will be in voice format.  Once the event is over, you will receive your missed calls and texts. The application will have a “manual screen” option, in case you forget to schedule an event and still need your calls and texts screened.

We hope to market this product to students first, since they are most willing to try new things.  Once we have all the “bugs” worked out, we will try and broaden our market to all mobile phone users; especially business people.

Below is our proposed interface layout for Android phones as well as a logo design.  We are looking for feedback specifically on those, as well as any [constructive] criticism on the product itself.  Thanks!

-Group 5

Proposed Interface Layout for Droid

Proposed Logo Design