Communication is the key that unlocks lots of doors. People want to stay in touch with each other and it's not just about satisfying their social needs. Effective communication helps us to succeed in business and personal life. The same is with gaining education, there are so many questions to discuss with classmates and there is so few time.
Erik and Chris Vallenilla, founders of this project, came up with a concept of a brand new social networking app aimed to bridge the communication gap between students and allow them to solve various educational issues in real time. This is something they missed in their own college years and present-day students, with their passion to mobile devices, would definitely benefit from such a helpful communication tool. This is how the idea of Chatboard app was born.
When Erik and Chris got ready to technical implementation of their plan, Anadea won the bidding with other app development companies. Thus, we got an opportunity to turn the project specifications into live iOS and Android apps.
What is Chatboard?
Chatboard is a college based social application for students that connects classmates and allows them to interact on all courses they have together. This native mobile app creates an informational network and provides a handy way for students to exchange knowledge, discuss stuff and share ideas about the course. Students sign up with their college email, add their courses for the semester and the app connects them to all other students in their classes.
The Chatboard app is specifically designed to facilitate collaboration between classmates, it helps students become more productive, build relationships and gain a better learning experience.
The first public release of Chatboard occurred on October 25, 2016. The app has been successfully published on both iOS and Android stores.
Chatboard is only available for students of colleges added by admins. For now, it's Florida International University, Miami Dade College and University of Miami. Once registered and added their courses, students get access to all the features. The collaboration between students in the app goes in real time and organized within separate classes. The app uses CRN (Course Reference Number) and semester parameters to add courses and group students into classes.
Key features for students:
- Student profile. Every student sets up a profile with photo, bio and all necessary settings. Students can view profiles of each other to see which classes they have in common and get to know one another better.
- Managing data. Students can join and leave classes and group chats. They can make their accounts private so that others can't see their courses counter and list. There is also a built in mechanism for moderating messages and blocking users.
- Class feed. There is a separate feed for each class where students belonging to that class can post messages available to all classmates, like and comment on what others have shared.
- Group chat. Students can create group chats within a certain class. Group chats are accessed by selected classmates only. This feature is helpful when students work on team projects or if they want to have a private conversation with friends.
- Direct messages. Students are given an ability to exchange direct messages with any of their classmates.
- Notifications. Within each class, students are notified of all new activities, e.g. invites to groups, unread messages in chats, likes and comments on their posts.
- Photos. Students have an option to attach photos from the gallery or from the camera to their posts on feed, group chats and private messages
There is also an administration part of the project. The admin side of the app is based on the idea to delegate key moderation functions to students. Admins have a very limited role, they are not supposed to intrude into student's communication and allowed to perform only some basic functions through the admin panel.
Features for admins:
- Schools. An admin can add, view and edit school's data and email domains.
- Courses. Admin side provides options to view and filter courses for a given school, monitor course statistics, delete finished courses.
- Students. App administrator can view and filter students for a given school, block certain students (emails), process problem reports from students.
Team & Technologies
- back-end application and API: Ruby on Rails, PostgreSQL, faye;
- iOS app: Objective-C, iOS SDK;
- Android app: Java, Android SDK.
- back-end development: Ilya Bibikov, Dmitriy Vasin;
- Android app development: Artem Dubrov;
- iOS app development: Vlad Emets, Vitaliy Voropayev;
- UX / UI: Mikhail Bilenko;
- QA & testing: Vadim Eremichev, Darina Chuzhova;
- server configuration: Oleg Kasyanov;
- project management: Maksym Ryzhkov;
- sales: Galyna Kustova.
It's been a pleasure for us to participate in this project. We are double happy with the good feedback received from Erik and Chris:
"It's really exciting that I can now start and get this app out there. Thank you for all the hard work done by you and your team. It has been great working with you."
Chatboard is a unique, nice performing and useful app. The app seamlessly integrates mobile technologies into the educational process to provide a better way for students to socialize and improve their college experience. It empowers students to exchange information and collaborate efficiently with each other using smartphones. This mobile application relieves students from the necessity to discuss all the questions with the classmates face-to-face. Instead they can easily do all the communication via the app which is much more convenient for the young generation.
We wish Chatboard to successfully spread over more colleges and states soon!