StudentPulse  

React to the Pulse of your class

Our Idea

Who are we?

As a group of new Masters level Software Engineering students who left the workplace and various industries to return to school, we are uniquely positioned and highly motivated by our desire to learn. Due to this, we see a hole in the current education system concerning effective dialogue between students and instructors and want to help fill it.

Two of us have previous experience as Teaching Assistants and have experienced first hand the problem of not receiving quality feedback from students. We also have contacts in engineering education research who provide valuable insight concerning effective teaching strategies.

What are we offering?

We are offering a software service that drives an open communication classroom between students and instructors. Our product will allow one or more student representatives to be assigned early on to act as intermediary between the student body and professor.

Feedback: StudentPulse will be a platform to allow students to send comments to the student rep anonymously and provide functionalities such as replies, upvotes, and downvotes.

Huddles: Professors will use the platform to set up meetings (aka “Huddles”) with the student rep to discuss the student feedback.

Analytics: An automatically generated summary of feedback using figures and graphs will be provided that anyone in the class can view. This can be used as a talking point for “Huddles”.

Who are we offering it to?

Instructors: who want to foster relationships with their students and desire an effective way to access their honest feedback. They wish to see their classroom flourish and improve their teaching skills.

Students: who have plenty of ideas and opinions on how the course could be improved. They prefer to give feedback anonymously, especially when negative, and are busy with no quick way to provide this feedback.

Student Representatives: who care about ensuring the best possible classroom experience and want the experience and prestige that comes with such a position.

Why does that person care?

Instructors: want to know what the whole class is feeling and not just a few outspoken individuals but don’t have the time to set up a feedback system for their students by themselves. Also, they prefer to have face to face conversations instead of quickly typed messages when receiving and responding to feedback.

Students: desire a platform to anonymously and continuously provide their feedback even when outside of the classroom setting. They also want to know that their feedback is being used and matters.

Student Representatives: are looking for an easy way to collect feedback and set up meetings with the professor.

Our distinctive competencies

We have close relationships with professors who experience this problem and have stated their excitement concerning StudentPulse. One of our professors, Dr. Mohammad Moshirpour, has already agreed to allow us to use his name and quote him and we are optimistic that him and others can act as spokespeople for StudentPulse to quickly build our brand. Another of our professors, Abdullah Sarhan, has been willing to try current solutions in the classroom to help identify pros and cons of existing substitutes. Also, Robyn Paul, MSc in Engineering Education, has agreed to assist us with her expertise concerning learning techniques.

The substitutes & alternatives

Manual Options: What unfortunately many instructors are forced to do. This includes appointing student reps themselves and setting up meetings with them via email or other forms of communication. Student reps end up usually only receiving feedback from a few individuals or their friends and no analysis is performed.

In Lecture Feedback Options: These include products such as Top Hat, Kahoot, or iClicker. The downside to these is the fact that feedback can not be provided at any time and usually use leading questions provided from the professor rather than receiving student’s honest, open thoughts.

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Our Pitch

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The Key Personas and the Value They See

Instructor

Our first key person is an instructor who cares about receiving feedback from their students and wants to improve the classroom experience as well as their teaching skills.

They care because they are motivated to continue to improve as instructors, whether it be to forward their career or their pride in providing excellent teaching, and see that students aren’t providing enough quality feedback.

Our promise to them is provide an easy to use platform for them to receive feedback from the majority of the classroom and arrange meetings with the student representatives. This feedback will analyzed and visualized and recommendations for potential teaching strategies based on it will be provided.

Student

Our second key person is a student who isn’t satisfied with some aspect of the course and wishes for their feedback to be heard by the instructors.

They care because they are taking this course to learn and paid for it. As a result, they want to have the best possible classroom environment for them to succeed in. Many students struggle with providing instructors with feedback, especially when it is negative, and therefore may not speak up. This lack of desire can be compounded if they feel like their feedback isn’t being heard or listened to.

Our promise to them is provide an online environment for students to easily and anonymously provide feedback concerning their courses which will be passed on through an student representative to the professor. As all comments are anonymous and treated equally, they can feel safe in providing their honest thoughts and also not have to worry about their concerns being overshadowed by more outspoken individuals. They can also rest easy with the knowledge that their feedback is being used and provides valuable data.

Student Representative

Our third key person is a student representative who wants to ensure the best possible classroom and learning environment and enjoys the responsibilities and recognition that comes with such a position.

They care because they are a very driven student who wants to succeed and desires an easy way to determine the opinions of the entire class and pass that feedback on to the professor. Too often they ask for feedback to bring to the instructors and receive only a few outspoken comments.

Our promise to them is to provide a platform that they can use to easily acquire feedback from the entire classroom, including those that may otherwise not speak up. StudentPulse will make their job significantly easier by compiling and analyzing the feedback to produce a summary of what the most frequent topics and areas of concern are as well as allow them to arrange meetings with the instructors.

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Your feedback and ideas

Feedback on our idea and your assessment of it are incredibly important. Please provide yours below.

Giving feedback and making an assessment are pretty straightforward, but make sure you know how it's done »

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13 Comments

  1. Customer (C)

    10

    Value proposition (VP)

    10

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    9

    People (P) on the team

    8

    Offering (O)

    8.5

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    8.5

    Jeez-a-loo that is a good pitch. Nailed the customer down, displayed your value prop with enthusiasm, and you have backup to show people are on board. Only thing that could break this is that you only mention the group is a group of students. Would be comforting to know you have the technical expertise to follow through.

  2. Customer (C)

    7

    Value proposition (VP)

    7

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    6

    People (P) on the team

    4

    Offering (O)

    6

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    3

    I liked the fact that you gave example of why the app would be useful. I believe you should focus on explaining why this is the best team to carry out this idea and what makes you hard to imitate. I would look for a strong distinctive competency to make your idea even stronger and also bring out the key roles of each team member.

  3. Customer (C)

    9

    Value proposition (VP)

    10

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    5

    People (P) on the team

    9

    Offering (O)

    7.5

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    8

    As Nigel put it, the pitch nails it.
    Reaching out for subject matter expertise and stakeholders perceptions/opinions makes a very solid venture with clear objectives and development path. Couple of things that are not presented (yet):
    1.- Roles are well defined, but not clear who is the “owner” of the information: Who makes the moderation (accepting/rejecting/editing inputs)? Who has the access to the information (students, instructors, other teachers or instructors? How longer are the records kept? (i.e, can anyone see the results from any course/institution? Are ther privacy issues?
    2.- The logistics are somehow demanding.- This might need a ‘System Administration” to keep it running, probably more than a single person (application/services support & management). The back-end system can’t run on its own.
    But great initiative, can’t wait to see it going live!

  4. Customer (C)

    10

    Value proposition (VP)

    10

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    10

    People (P) on the team

    8

    Offering (O)

    10

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    8

    Great idea. The current system we are using for group feedback via Tophat is pretty bad in my opinion, and it might be a good idea to contrast StudentPulse with Tophat feedback, outlining the issues with Tophat and how your product will fix these issues. I think both uni profs and students can benefit from a system like this and I am excited to see where it goes.

  5. Customer (C)

    7.5

    Value proposition (VP)

    9

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    10

    People (P) on the team

    8.5

    Offering (O)

    10

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    9

    Excellent pitch! Particularly impressed with the balance of story and information, and the preto-type looks fantastic. I don’t have the background to know enough about the “how” it works, but your pitch convinced me that it does work and that you can do it.

    The only hesitancy I have is on the customer side. My experience with instructors is that many professors are not technologically proficient (this likely varies a lot program to program) and are not necessarily that motivated to improve their instruction or the classroom experience. So while those that will be on board will be super excited about this, I do wonder how big that segment of professors is right now. As a student I love the idea of more avenues for feedback, particularly anonymous feedback, but do have some questions on the uptake on the professor/institution side.

  6. Customer (C)

    9

    Value proposition (VP)

    10

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    6

    People (P) on the team

    8

    Offering (O)

    8

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    8

    Great pitch. The data you collect need to be more evaluated than it seems. What about the privacy issues and who can access the data? Who edited and who visited last? Again taking data into consideration it is good if it doesn’t go only for one institution.
    Love the idea!

  7. Customer (C)

    6.7

    Value proposition (VP)

    6.9

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    6.5

    People (P) on the team

    6.9

    Offering (O)

    7.6

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    8

    I think this product is very useful and hope I can use it in the near future.

  8. Customer (C)

    8.5

    Value proposition (VP)

    6

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    5.5

    People (P) on the team

    8

    Offering (O)

    6

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    5.5

    I think this product can strengthen the relationship between professors and students, which benefits both sides. In my view, I think an app will be better than web-based, which can send notification to professors when students have questions. Besides, for the pitch, I think it’s perfect that some professors want to help you to improve your product and it’s a good story, but can you tell more about the customers and distinct competencies and reduce the story time. by the way, I like the ending-the imagination part .

  9. Customer (C)

    9

    Value proposition (VP)

    8

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    7

    People (P) on the team

    8

    Offering (O)

    9

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    8

    Great pitch. It will help a lot for current teaching system. But what if Tophat or d2l updated group feedback function? You might lose your market. So how to make sure there’s always market and customer for you is pretty important from my opinion.

  10. Customer (C)

    8.3

    Value proposition (VP)

    8.3

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    8.5

    People (P) on the team

    8.5

    Offering (O)

    8

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    7.8

    It is a pretty nice idea, especially for students.
    we can receive feedbacks easily from our teachers or our friends.

  11. Customer (C)

    6

    Value proposition (VP)

    5.5

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    6

    People (P) on the team

    6

    Offering (O)

    5

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    5

    It is really more convenient for students to share their ideas and thoughts with professors directly. But I think it is like a coin, which has two sides.Because it is an anonymous operation, the feedback sent can be positive, but also can be malicious, how to avoid the spread of useless spam? I think it is necessary to create a function to filter out spam to guarantee this platform safe.

  12. Customer (C)

    9

    Value proposition (VP)

    9

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    9

    People (P) on the team

    9

    Offering (O)

    9

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    9

    Very neat idea connecting students and professors using the platform. I think you could also explain more as to how the feedback will be analyzed.

  13. Customer (C)

    9

    Value proposition (VP)

    6

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    6

    People (P) on the team

    7

    Offering (O)

    7

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    7.5

    I can tell this is a good idea and good pitch. I have used these kinds of apps in China and they are so good. I am glad to see it in Canada.
    Break it: How to make money with this idea? I think both the teacher and the students will not pay you money.
    Better it: Maybe you can cooperate with facebook because it is hard to gain customers at the very beginning.