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Let EduPal be your pal

Nimasha Fernando

Staff Writer

Summary: EduPal is an online scheduling website that allows students to automatically access course syllabi and populate their personalized schedules with academic dates in addition to personal, employment, and other events.

Scores of commitments both academic and extracurricular barrage students striving to maintain organization against their hectic new semester schedules.

Markus Allen Proctor, a junior UMBC tech entrepreneurship and organizational management interdisciplinary studies major, was motivated by his own demanding schedule to develop the EduPal site to assist students with managing their precious time.

“I created EduPal because I noticed how disorganized I was as a student. I took Chemistry my sophomore year and noticed how Dr. Carpenter listed everything that we needed to do in advance on Blackboard. I found that to be extremely helpful” said Proctor.

Realizing that many courses did not offer students the advantage of having all assignment dates in one location, Proctor and his team endeavored to provide students with this organizational strategy.

Currently in beta phase, EduPal offers users a color coded schedule automatically populated with every date recorded in the student’s course syllabi which can be found on the site.

“Enrolling into a course [on the EduPal site] puts everything on your calendar in seconds and dropping a course removes everything just as quickly” said Proctor. Calendars further permit students to incorporate personal activities such as club meetings or work shifts to construct their comprehensive schedules.

“This looks really good,” said Vicky Le, a sophomore biology, health administration and public policy major, while examining EduPal’s site on her mobile device. “I still prefer something I can write in and flip through the pages of,” said Le noting that paper agendas can become burdensome to continually update, though helpful at times.

“EduPal is designed for the devices we seem to never be able to put down. Handwritten agendas are great until someone spills something on it or it gets lost,” said Proctor, adding that “Google Calendar is designed for general use where EduPal is designed for academia.”

Currently, the site contains over 200 courses hosting approximately 500 users only two weeks after their initial launch. For courses not already on the site, instructors or students can create their syllabus and share it with peers.

Eventually, EduPal hopes to serve courses utilizing online homework sites more effectively and pledges to work with instructors to resolve issues of these missing dates on syllabi.

Options for students to compare their schedules in order to better coordinate events are also being developed as EduPal aspires to have all UMBC courses available through the site and a mobile app.

“It could be really helpful for forming study groups since people don’t always use Blackboard” said Nancy Chen, a UMBC sophomore Psychology major, referring to online Blackboard course forums allowing students to post messages in attempts at coordinating study groups.

“My advice for startups and entrepreneurs is to not keep your idea a secret,” said Proctor, advising prospective innovators that successful ideas solve problems and are something people want and will pay for.

“Worst case scenario: You build the best product no one wants,” said Proctor.