(Screenshot via edupal.co)
College students often look at the syllabus as something to ignore until a due date sneaks up. Markus Proctor wants to change that.
At the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), Proctor sees a need for students to have a task management tool that allows them to keep track of their many assignments and prioritize what needs to be done when. He found that the tool could also benefit a college student’s busy social calendar.
Proctor would know. He’s a UMBC student.
The result of this recognition is EduPal, a time management app that’s designed to take a course’s syllabus and create a task manager.
“It’s a task manager and a time organizer at the same time,” said Proctor, who has worked out of Fed Hill incubator Betamore.
During a demo at the November edition of TechBreakfast in Columbia, Proctor said that students can use the tool to find their syllabus, if a student or professor has already uploaded it. If it’s not in the system, they can upload it.
Once the syllabus is loaded, the app funnels important semester benchmarks like due dates and exams into a calendar that’s accessible in weekly, monthly and semester-long chunks.
As the app was put into use, Proctor and his team saw that college students schedule tasks that goes beyond the syllabus.
In a recent move designed to “pivot to procrastinators,” Proctor and his team added features that allow students to prioritize.
“We launched as a calendar, but then opened it up as a task manager, so students can see what they’re doing now,” Proctor said.
The app advertises itself as 'the newest way to find your work, school and social life balance.'
With the task management functions, students can create tasks outside their syllabus, prioritize their work for the week, and receive reminders via text message and email.
The tasks aren’t limited to class. Workouts, meetups and myriad other social happenings that make up college life are also fair game. In fact, in its current form, the app advertises itself as “the newest way to find your work, school and social life balance.”
In the near future, the team will add features that allow students to match their tasks with study groups and campus activities. If a student wanted to meet at a specific place for a study group, the app will be able to identify a list of other students in that class who are available during the same period.
The app is already set up to run native versions on mobile devices. Proctor said he sees EduPal as an app that could be sold to specific departments and thinks it could be especially beneficial for at-risk students who have a particular need to manage their time.
EduPal just finished up a pilot phase at UMBC in mid-November, so it’s been limited to about 950 students with a UMBC account so far. According to the company’s data, the app was especially popular with students taking Calculus I, Physics I and other required courses for STEM majors.
But he said he’s looking beyond Baltimore County. The waiting list for 2015 includes more than 20 colleges, including Harvard, MIT and Johns Hopkins, according to Proctor.
“We’re looking to position our company so we can take this into other markets,” said.