By Amir Sezavar Keshavatz
We presented our work in Dragon Den Pitch on Friday 20 May. It took around 10 minutes with some questions.
Some students ask us about the project. One of them asked how it is possible to work with this system prior to student’s arrival to university. The answer is students can register for university email address once they firmly have accepted their offer and they have been allocated an ID Card Number.
Another question was about how it is possible to work with this system after graduation. The answer is after graduation, students still have access to their university email address as they are alumni.
The panel also asked some questions about the project as they claimed the university is implementing the same system. The university already has a lot of system such as SUSSED, eFolio, and other sub systems. However the important thing is that students should know about them, know how to work with them, and are happy working with them.
Another panel member asked us about the different between our project and Facebook. We have compared these two systems and published the work in this blog. Furthermore I answered that there are some similarities between our system and Facebook specially in friendship, creating groups and events. However our system is designed specially for students of the University of Southampton considering their issues. Furthermore we have considered Academic Aspects as well and it is defined in our vision that we want to improve students’ studies as well.
Throughout this week, we mainly focused on questionnaire, mock-ups, and analysis. The result of the questionnaire will affect the design for mock-ups and also the analysis as we have to know the requirements and needs.
We have 20 questions and we agreed to upload them on iSurvey, by the University of Southampton, and ask our friends to fill the questionnaire.
So far, we have 2 selected mock-ups and we will have another one. We will show these three mock-ups to our interviewees and ask them to express their opinion. So we can choose the best design, apply and changes and then start next phase.
Another section we talked about was analysis section. We have the first version of our use case diagram and we had to apply some changes to that diagram. The second version will be uploaded as soon as it is finished. Then we will work on Database Design and design the schema.
Today we had another meeting regarding what we had done in the week. We had more than 40 questions for our questionnaire and we decided to merge them into one list consisting of 15-20 questions. This questionnaire will later help us to find what exactly the users want and how we can find out more about needs.
Furthermore for the next week, we still have to work on mock-ups and possible prototype.
Also we need to work on related tools such as libraries, API, and other utilities that might help us and we have to search to find any existing similar project to ours.
The literature section needs some modification. We decided to merge all separate section into one table for ease of access and better use of space.
Another important aspect of our work is about legal, ethical, and privacy issues. We already searched about these aspects however we decided to find more papers, read them, and then apply them for our work.
In the third meeting, unfortunately our mentor was not present due to backache so we started our meeting without him.
The goal of this meeting was mainly on deciding what we should do next and how much we have come so far. Everyone successfully had installed DropBox program and everyone had already finished the literature review. However after we talked, we found out that there are some deficiencies in our project.
1. Analysis of existing similar tools: There is only one existing similar project explained in our blog. So we were supposed to go and research whether we can find more existing similar project in which we can get inspired or fill any gaps that they may have.
2. Questionnaires: For our project we agreed to do both questionnaires and interview in which we have the opportunity to find out more about our users and their different needs. For now, we were supposed to think about possible questions and we agreed to work on the interview later.
3. Prototype: We also agreed on thinking about prototype and possible design layout that we think might be appropriate. Of course we have to wait till we have the result of questionnaire and what user think so we can have our requirements and use cases then we can have good prototype. However this prototype would be an abstract brainstorming on where we should put design components. Later in our interviews we will ask to see which design seems to be more appropriate.
4. On-going sections: There are some sections such as tutorials or news items which have an on-going nature and will be filled by information through our project life cycle.
These are all the tasks that we have to think about them for the next week.
After these introductory steps, we can start thinking about more technical aspects of project like UML, requirements and others.
15.02.2011 Defining the main project and and future requirements
In the second meeting everyone talked about his proposed idea mentioning probable requirement features and specifications. Considering all ideas, we decided to choose the “SOTON Student Connect” project which seemed to contain the most important points of social networking and, moreover, the project was taken as a realistic prototype website for University of Southampton.
After deciding on this topic, we came on the detailed names of aspects of domain analysis of the project. We listed all the features and from this list we finalized those important features that we tend to work on. Then for each feature we wrote brief explanations.
As a goal of the week 3, we have to find some materials supporting our idea. We agreed to find relevant materials regarding our project. The materials can be academic papers, tutorials, videos or any other relevant and appropriate resources.
In order to be able to share files we work on with each other, we decided to use freeware “Dropbox” which offers some free space for users and which is likely to be convenient cross platform program. We share a folder on this website having mirror on our computers where we put different resources, such as papers, videos and etc so everyone can have access to them.
08.02.2011 Overall discussion about the project
In our first meeting, we gathered in Mountbatten building getting chance to know each other. Afterwards our mentor, Hossein Nili, talked to us about the project and what we were supposed to do for the first week. After a general overview of tasks, we brainstormed and discussed about different ideas. At this meeting four ideas were centralized:
• SOTON Student Connect
• Intelligent Social Movie Recommender
All these ideas have been described in details in our blog. For the next meeting, it was decided that we came along with the one idea for main project mixing and revising these four.
We also decided to have a Facebook group to be able to communicate more. Our Facebook group currently is very active. We are discussing different aspects of our project there, and in case of necessity we concern the main and important viewpoints in out informal meetings and put the resultant outcome on the blog.