From idea to project: a team of committed students has been working on implementing the winning "Student Life Hacks" projects since the beginning of the summer semester. The aim was to use digitalization to improve students' everyday lives from their point of view. Last week, all three projects achieved their objectives. The students can now take a well-deserved break. The three projects focussed on networking, access to information and the students' learning routine, which were all successfully addressed as part of collaborations within TU Wien. This presented an opportunity for students to not only gain experience of implementing projects, but also get a look behind the scenes of everyday university life and at the processes within TU Wien.
The aim of the first project was to promote student networking and offer digital support for setting up new learning groups. Together with the Campus Software Development team, a prototype for digitally arranging learning groups was created, which is based on the tried-and-true system in TISS.
In close collaboration with the centre for strategic teaching development, the project team also built on a great deal of input from the "studyability" working group when implementing these projects. This made it possible to tailor the application requirements to the needs of students. The submitted suggestions were checked for their feasibility and divided into two stages of development. The student project defined the requirements, which are reflected in the initial prototype, and established the trajectory for the prototype's further development. In the future, the project will be based in the centre for strategic teaching development, where the second stage of development will also be initiated before students can use groupTUlearn.
Student TUWEL API
A second team has been working on making TUWEL more accessible for student purposes. The "Student TUWEL API" project was an opportunity to consider the functionality of TUWEL from the point of view of students and tackle the task of retrieving data from outside the browser. The project was successfully completed by transferring the source code to the "Academic Moodle Cooperation" (AMC) with the aim of enabling future developments by students for students.
During the project, students created plug-ins and clients that would benefit them and their peers. The results will come in useful beyond TU Wien because AMC also makes the source code available to all universities involved in the cooperation, in addition to TU Wien.
Digital manual note-taking
The idea for the third project started with a vision in the centre: "In the future, how will we take notes in lectures?" This vision gave the project team a lot of room to explore thematically. To address such a vast topic, the project team spent last semester defining it with greater clarity within TU Wien and identifying the possibilities.
Two generic questionnaires made it possible to explore the possibilities for "digital manual note-taking" in an open and unbiased way. The first generic questionnaire was directed towards students to discuss current note-taking practices in the context of digital study materials and the potential obstacles associated with this. A second questionnaire recorded the effort involved in creating digital and analogue materials in consultation with teaching staff. The questionnaires provided an opportunity to look at the topic of digital manual note-taking from a range of different perspectives. In addition to the outstanding achievements of teaching staff, the basic principle of collaboration among students is what really stood out. The results of these surveys show that this topic has many positive facets and has already taken root in many areas of TU Wien.
The background to the projects + 2021 outlook
The three student projects came from the ideas competition "Wanted: Student Life Hacks". The ideas competition was the student version of the digitalization calls (.dcalls) and was intended to get the largest group of people at TU Wien – the students – involved in digital transformation. That is why students were responsible for planning and managing the implementation of all three projects, with the support of experts from TU Wien.
Students' ideas about digital transformation at TU Wien continue to be very important to the .digital office. The collaborative approach to the everyday life of students – by students for students – will also be a key element of the next phase of the .dcalls. Planning for this is already under way. The details will also be available on the .digital blog.