A message from the Student Portal team. This article originally appeared in the Daily Bulletin on July 6, 2015.
The Student Portal has recently reached an exciting milestone: adding a portal feature created by a student web developer.
Our first student-developed feature is the Open Classrooms widget, which allows students to view nearly real-time classroom availability (in Registrar’s Office managed rooms) which they can use as study space.
The idea was initially conceived at the first portal hackathon last term by JK Liu, a Computer Science student. JK noticed that there were times when classrooms were empty, but didn’t know when the rooms would be occupied for a class or when they became available. Trying to solve this problem on his own, he developed an empty classroom finder on his personal website while on co-op, and attended the hackathon in March to refine it and see if it could integrate with the student portal.
“Since the portal is used to improve student life, I thought this idea would be relevant to lots of students and it’s important to me that it can be accessed by as many people as possible,” says Liu.
The portal team worked with the Registrar’s Office to access the classroom booking system, which provides accurate availability of classrooms, and published this new feature in late June.
Chris Read, associate provost, students and the portal project sponsor, is excited by this new feature and the student-portal team collaboration. “The open classrooms feature optimizes the use of existing space on campus, responding to the need for more study space,” he says. “This is a great example of how innovative our students and staff are in solving everyday operational challenges, to meet the needs of our students.”
While JK is the first student developer the portal team has worked with, there are plans to collaborate with more student developers in the fall.