Berks students win EdTech Network/COIL Challenge at HackPSU

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A team of three students from Penn State Berks competed against more than 200 of their classmates in HackPSU and won impressive opportunities from the Penn State EdTech Network and the Center for Online Innovation in Learning (COIL).

The November HackPSU event hosted 250 Penn State students at Penn State’s University Park campus. This 24-hour internal hackathon powered by Innoblue Entrepreneurship and the Penn State Developer Network brought together Penn State students from across the state to collaborate and compete in challenges for sponsored prizes.

As part of the event this year, the Penn State EdTech Network and COIL co-sponsored an educational technology (EdTech) themed challenge in which they asked competitors to think of a problem that they have faced as a student in higher education and design a technology-based solution to solve that problem. This year’s winning application, Studee, is described by the creators as a Tinder for tutors.

The Studee team consists of Penn State Berks students Caleb Kitchen, a sophomore security and risk analysis major; Tyler Moser, a sophomore computer science major; and Venu Mulane, a junior information sciences and technology major. They developed the Studee app to make finding a tutor or study partner easier across the University’s broad range of courses.

The Studee app created by the group seeks to create a Tinder-like network to connect students studying similar subjects. The team felt that one of the hardest things for a student is to find help in certain classes and subjects.

Kitchen said that “While yes, there are resources on campus to find help with reading and math, there aren’t any to find help in HTML, Chinese, PHP, etc.”

They hope the Studee app fills that void by connecting users with potential collaborators based on their areas of expertise or specific help requested.

According to Kitchen, the team originally entered the hackathon to test their skills and determine whether or not they could get a project done in the short span of 24 hours. After hearing all of the different challenge options, the group chose the EdTech/COIL challenge because their idea fit well within the challenge’s parameters. After researching the sponsoring organizations, Kitchen says, the team realized just how useful the potential prizes could be for the future growth and development of their application.

As part of their win at HackPSU the team will be presenting during a COIL Conversation event to discuss their application with innovative faculty, staff and students from across Penn State. In addition, the Studee team has been offered a chance to participate in the 2016 Penn State EdTech Network Summit Expo, which will bring together leaders and venture capitalists from across the EdTech landscape.

The team is both excited for and confident in the future of their application.

“We believe the application could be a great resource for students on all campuses, anywhere,” said Kitchen.

Over the next six months, they plan to run a pilot at Penn State campuses and are looking for opportunities to partner with existing services such as the tutoring center at Penn State Berks.

The Center for Online Innovation in Learning (COIL) at Penn State engages the University’s extensive research enterprise to improve online learning. The core mission of COIL is to guide the transformation of teaching and learning processes by supporting researchers who invent, investigate and implement the effects of technologically enhanced learning environments. For more information about COIL, visit coil.psu.edu.

The Penn State EdTech Network promotes active collaboration among companies, students, faculty, staff and alumni to foster transformational education technology. It supports Penn State World Campus’ continuous growth towards 45,000 students, the educational technology work going on throughout Penn State, and the global online learning community.

Last Updated November 25, 2015