A big problem in higher education is helping students succeed and graduate once they arrive. As an instructor at UPenn, I've found that many of my first-gen or low-income students are either intimidated by coming to me for help or don't realize how much I am willing to work with them. As a result, they often don't come to me until it's too late. This app would make attending office hours less intimidating in a few ways:
- creating a centralized calendar, so students with free time can see who's available and instantly schedule an appointment with them, rather than having to look up every professor individually
- suggesting weekly topics for discussion, which the professor would upload at the beginning of the semester when they write the syllabus -- so students who feel intimidated by the idea of going with nothing to say can have a place to start (and the conversation can progress from there)
- a quick goals checklist that the student fills out on their way over to the office, to make sure they get all their questions answered
- a reminder a few hours later that asks if their goals have been met and if they have any new needs for next week's hours
There would also be a computer version hosted on the university's website, so it could be used by students without smartphones.