To start off I should probably apologize for largely ignoring this project for the past 4 months. Between trying to find a new job a few months ago and working at said job, it’s been hard finding the time and motivation to continue working on Community Connect. Usually I am pretty burned out from coding all day at work, and the somewhat minor yet extremely annoying roadblock that I’ve encountered with this project keeps it from progressing. I haven’t looked over the BuddyPress API docs in a while, but I doubt it has gotten much better and I am still not easily able to hook in and extract a BuddyPress user object instead of querying the database and getting a set of records which is very difficult to manipulate. One night, when I am inspired to do so I think I will work through it and get all my test cases from my use case working. If anyone is interested in helping, just shoot me a message.
Anyway, since I still think about this project every once in a while, I had a neat idea on how to make Community Connect a bit more practical. Building on top of the idea of connecting students, why not connect them in a meaningful way. Social media sites are often based around some type of idea or activity. LinkedIn is for making business connections, networking, and most importantly (for some of us out there) finding and getting a job. Coincidentally, I got in touch with the recruiting company which helped me find my current job (which I love) through LinkedIn. Facebook’s activity/purpose is a bit more vague than LinkedIn. However, one particular feature comes to mind… Events… Yea, it’s a pretty simple calendar-based listing of parties, concerts, sporting events, and whatnot, but it’s very well done. People can send out mass invitations via Facebook instead of compiling email addresses or sending out texts (which is time consuming and possibly costly). So Facebook’s event feature gives it value in terms of time you save getting people to RSVP to your event or finding events to attend.
So what if Community Connect did something similar. I can think of one “event” which students may not always like, but chances are they have attended several throughout their school careers. Study sessions, and group project meetups. Although I am not a big fan of group study sessions because I prefer to study and understand the material myself, helping others learn the material can be a rewarding experience. So here’s my high-level idea for Community Connect: allow students who are members of the site create and manage project/study sessions. It’ll be simple: any person can create a Study Session and then invite other members. Conversely, site members can see what study sessions are happening. A single study session would need to have a location, the time it starts and ends, and the class it is associated with. Other things can be included such as what the assignment, test, project is being covered along with who will lead the session. People could also add any relevant documents such as chapter outlines, scans, and handouts given during that class. Another neat feature could be integrating with the Google Maps API to create a marker on Temple’s campus map (or wherever the session will be taking place) and then calculate the time and distance for each member to get there assuming that they have provided their location. Furthermore, it could integrate with the breakout room reservation system.
What does everyone think?