FinalsClub app connects students even remotely
August 27, 2020
As students return to universities and schools across the nation, education systems are bracing for a resurgence of coronavirus cases in their communities. Due to the pandemic, many universities and schools are doing a hybrid in-person online model or going online for the start of the semester.
With students seeing less and less of each other on campus, many are scouring Facebook pages looking for students in their class to create large group chats with. Rishi Masand, graduate student in Engineering at University of Illinois; Ravi Patel, senior in Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University; and Vedant Mehta, senior in Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University came out with FinalsClub to ease the process. FinalsClub is an application that lets a student select their school, search through a directory of courses and add the ones they are taking to their account.
“It’s basically a university-based messaging service that has all the courses and groups preloaded into the app for the convenience of the students,” Patel said.
After creating an account and adding all their classes, the user is directed to an inbox, looking similar to that of Facebook Messenger, where the class chats are all located. Along with the class chats, the user also has access to a general chat with all the students from that university who have joined.
Masand, Patel and Mehta all knew each other from their high school days and stayed in touch. The creators came up with the idea and designed the app at a hackathon event before the pandemic hit. The app’s creators landed on their current version of FinalsClub approximately two to three months ago, according to Mehta. Now that a large portion of university students are online due to the coronavirus, it has become all the more relevant.
“We really wanted to have that level of convenience for group chats for students at universities and be able to connect them together,” Patel said.
Many students in higher education already use apps like GroupMe to communicate with other members in their classes. They can, however, run into problems with the limit on the number of members in the group, and some students might not know about the group in the first place.
“The difference is that when you text your friend or you create a GroupMe with your friends, it’s a very manual process, and (FinalsClub) isn’t necessarily for you and your friends; it’s for you and your classmates,” Masand said. “It’s supposed to be able to connect you to people you might not know. A lot of times what we’ll see in classes is a lot of people who are asking, ‘who is in this class?’ and once you know … someone offers to make a GroupMe and they’ll manually add five or six people, (but) you don’t really capture the whole class like this.”
The app in theory is designed to automatically put a user in touch with other students in their classes; however, the app is only as useful as the number of people who make an account. FinalsClub is still fresh on the app store and is steadily gaining popularity. As more people join, more class chats will be filled with chatter and information.
The creators’ backgrounds in computer science aided them in developing FinalsClub, and they have always wanted to create something that brought forth a strong sense of community.
“With the University of Illinois having such a large student body and so many courses, it can be hard to connect with other students and get a feel for everything the University has to offer,” Masand said.
The app features more than just classes; it also serves as a resource to find out about clubs and events ranging from social to academic. FinalsClub has been launched and is available on the app store for both iOS and Android users. As the creators of the app look to the future, they hope to expand to colleges across the country. By September, they are planning to launch at 20 different universities.
“We’re a team of students, so we want to continue building our product for our peers … We hope to grow our team and gain meaningful feedback in the coming months,” Mehta said.