Building Mobile App for your College: Amateurs vs Professionals
If you think a professional is expensive, wait ’til you try an amateur – Paul “Red” Adair
Further research in the ongoing trends in Private Universities in India came up with some strange and unexpected outcomes. Universities in India especially in India are driven by three main factors- Save your money in whichever way you can, charge the highest possible and feasible fees you can from the poor students who couldn’t make it to the dream institutes like IIT and NIT’S , Showcase the projects done by the students in a way that no one could have come with a better discovery than this but their own students.The surprising fact is that the parents don’t even bother to do a background research on the same, it’s the word of mouth that prevails here in India.
As we have already discussed about how vital a mobile app is for the educational institutes, another important question that still remains unanswered is that how should one go about building the same? Should it be outsourced? Should one hire an in-house technical team? Should it be given as a project or an assignment to students? To most professionals and well versed techies out there the last question would seem to be one of those humorous ones and the most obviously “to be ruled out” questions. Right? But unfortunately my friends, the college administrations think the other way round, as for them, the quality carries least importance when it comes to an app or a technology meant to help out students.
Two universities in India have come up with their Mobile Apps. One of them outsourced it while the other got it developed from an in-house already existing technical team. First of all hiring an in-house technical team to develop a college app is damn expensive as the monthly salaries would cross the total budget given by a third party(within 6-7 months) with a better experienced team on-board having developed numerous similar apps before. The results are well in front of us rather. The university who had an in-house team has some pathetic reviews for its app on Google Play store , I hardly came across users who seemed to be satisfied with the application. The app suffers from a number of problems..from a nuisance design to a large list of missing features which were the sole reason for the purpose of a mobile app for colleges. On the other hand is the outsourced app which had some highly appreciative reviews and downloads of more than 10k(previous app had 500 downloads).
Now the question of handing it over to students as a project! Like seriously? How do you expect a group of amateurs to provide you with an app that would help you overcome all the existing hassles of an existing website? Apps developed by the students turn out to be so basic that the most important features are missed out. Universitas360 boasts of some highly complex features like a student dashboard wherein the students access there attendance, internal assessment marks and teacher’s feedback which needs to be synced with servers very regularly and expecting students to do the same appears highly doubtful to me. It is not only the online aspect that Universitas360 caters to, it provides solutions to the in classroom problems like taking down notes and an inbuilt directory to search for course related books more efficiently and faster.
Apart from this, regularly updating the app also remains a challenge thanks to the outgoing students (most experienced of the lot). Hence this option is not at all a feasible one and the authorities need to give a thought to this as it is an investment worth it and the sooner you realize its importance, the better.