Bridging divides and making life easier in 2020: First year CST apps showcase

How can apps help us manage during these times of challenge and social distance?

This was the challenge given to 270 first year BCIT Computer Systems Technology (CST) students for their five-week project this year. From food waste to Ecocity, this annual team project challenge always has a theme for students to base their project around. This year’s theme was surrounding COVID-19. Students could take any angle of personal interest in building apps to help people manage the varied issues of life in 2020.

In a time of physical distancing, team members bonded and collaborated remotely throughout the project. Students listed dozens of programming languages and APIs used to create their projects. However, many students felt the most important lesson learned from this project was the importance of team communication.

Do you have an idea for a student project? Sponsor a team of computing students – just an hour per week.

Livestream showcase of 61 apps

For the first time ever, the final presentation took place online. BCIT student Kyrill Metalnikov, who is an experienced Twitch livestream host, volunteered to take on the online showcase.

“The whole experience was very rewarding. I used my passion in livestreaming to add flair to the presentation of our final projects,” says Kyrill. “It also felt good to be able to help out faculty members who are working hard to keep the school year going.”

He shared pre-recorded YouTube videos of each team’s project, and then hosted a live Q&A with the creators.

Tutoring apps voted Most Useful

Most Useful: Burnaby Campus 

App: Air Tutor
Members: Dylan Sung, Christina Raganit, Vicly Xinyue Cao, and Kurt Milan
Goal: We were trying to create an online tutoring service to help students and instructors with the untimely transition to online education. Most people were unprepared for this sudden change in learning style. Air Tutor provides a platform for students to receive educational assistance, while enabling tutors to volunteer their skills and efforts in this time of need.
Creation: Air Tutoring is a web application that provides a full tutoring service where students can request help with their homework. A tutor can respond offering to help, and the student can then schedule a session with the tutor in exchange for credits. The session provides canvas drawing and voice call functionalities. These enable the student to better understand the lesson, and for the tutor to better explain the concept. After the session, the student can give the tutor a rating, to help the tutor’s future students.
Final thoughts: “Thank you for supporting and helping all of us throughout the term!” – Vicly Xinyue Cao
“We felt like we were really overworking ourselves these last few weeks but looking back, it was all worth it.” – Dylan Sung

Most Useful: Downtown Campus

Screen shot of two students demoing their tutoring app
Tutors4Zoomers demoing their app functionality

App: Tutors4Zoomers
Members: Justin Majam, Hans Sy, David Wang, George Yang
Goal: Our app was designed to help students get more support and offer volunteer opportunities to the local community.
Creation: We created a web application that connects volunteer tutors with students in need of tutoring. Our application features a way to contact tutors/students, and an online tutoring session that uses online video, instant messaging, and an interactive whiteboard.
Final thoughts: “Our adversaries were not the other projects, nor our peers, nor our instructors, nor each other. What we had to overcome was ourselves.” – Hans Sy

Most Creative App & Best Teamwork Award – double winners!

Burnaby Campus 

App: NoPandemic
Members: Yang Li, Wenbo Ji, Ben Jones, Ian Snider
Goal: We wanted to develop an app that could have everything people need during the pandemic, whether news, case numbers or prevention strategies. We also want to show all the people who have symptoms on the map so people could know their local area better.
Creation: We built an app that uses a cluster map that displays all the people who have symptoms around the user’s local area. Users can take a self-assessment to monitor their risk level. We also created some incentives for people to contribute data to our app. Based on the risk level, we provided different resources to them. In addition to our UI/UX design, we added darkmode theme. Darkmode protects eyes and improves readability at night. We also have a hero page, as we want to show the doctors who fight the pandemic for our country. We have many different features to discover!
Final thoughts: “Don’t focus too much on marks. What I learned and what I solved are way more important.” – Yang Li

Downtown Campus 

App: Covid-Royale – pitch video
Members: Blake Michalzik, Zenen Hornstein, Keegan Maundrell, Lawrance On
Goal: During the pandemic, Goose logic noticed people had a lot time on their hands, there was definitely a demand for games. During the game, we wanted to teach and reinforce health practices recommended by the World Health Organization in regards to COVID-19.
Creation: We built Covid-Royale: an online multiplayer battle-royale inspired game. Play with friends, don’t get infected with COVID-19 at all costs: avoid people and pick up items to protect yourself. Instead of one person winning, all players collectively win or loose the round depending on how many players were infected. The map and spawn locations are randomly generated each round. Every game is different.
Final thoughts: “When a target becomes a measure, it ceases to be a good target.” – Zenen Hornstein
“There was so much to take away from this Projects Course, but I believe the one thing that is most important is that your team members are there to support you whenever you need it. The more people you have combing over your work, the faster the work can be refined into a complete and polished implementation.” – Keegan Maundrell

Some of the honorable mention apps

Connect is a web app that connects people who face challenges in their lives with volunteers who want to make a positive impact in the community. Check out the presentation video.

Covid Arcade is a mobile application which includes various mini-games related to general pandemic health precautions. It aims to teach people to become more hygienic, using the knowledge gained from this game: gameplay demo.

Conation is an application that allows local businesses to easily transition to an online format and receive support from local customers during the COVID-19 pandemic: showcase presentation video.

Congratulations to all the students who pulled together and made something new over a very busy five weeks!

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