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Mobile app enhances learning experience

A new app being developed at Queen’s University will help improve communication between students and their professors. NPulse allows students to ask live questions, hold in-class discussions, record lectures and rate their classroom experience in real time.

“This idea started back in February 2013 at the Queen's Startup Summit,” says Amin Nikdel, a fourth year student in the School of Computing. “Myself and my colleagues had an idea to allow users to rate their professors in real-time. However, as we started working on this and doing a great deal of research, we saw how much more we could add and how useful a product like this could become.”

NPulse is a tool for both students and faculty. It allows students to engage in class by asking questions and giving real-time feedback on the course material. Instructors can analyze where they lost students and pinpoint which course material they didn’t understand. Students can use the app to connected with each other in class to promote peer to peer learning and encourages class discussion.

“This new app brings a lot of new ideas and new things to the table,” says Scott Whetstone, a learning technology analyst at Queen’s. “When I first saw the app, I was very intrigued. It goes far beyond anything that is currently out there. And they are students developing this for other students, which is a big plus.”

The new app is currently in trial and Mr. Nikdel explains a few Queen’s professors are experimenting with NPulse to allow the creators an opportunity to improve it. The development team is also working on cost strategies to make it affordable for students. One of the current strategies is to provide a certain amount of free space with a fee to upgrade the account.

Mr. Nikdel is developing the app with Sanee Iqbal (University of Waterloo) and Tejas Mehta (University of Toronto).