Students today face the same problem and stress of keeping up with classes and extracurriculars that higher education students have faced since college existed.
But now there are more technologically advanced methods to keep track of schoolwork. One of these methods is Skoller, an app launched by students, for students.
Skoller helps students keep track of due dates, grades and assignments by utilizing crowdsourcing, which uses a large amount of people to gather information. Skoller takes crowdsourced syllabi and shares it for other students to use to keep of track of their assignments, which are added to their personal calendars. Skoller partnered with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln sorority Alpha Omicron Pi and donates $1 per download to its philanthropic mission of raising awareness for arthritis.
Carson Ward, Skoller’s founder and CEO, said the idea for the app came from when he was an undergraduate at Nashville’s Belmont University — from which he graduated in 2016 — struggling to keep up with school and stay on top of extracurricular activities. Because he was on the golf team, he missed more school than other students, he said. But he found a way to keep track of his academics with a temporary, homemade grade calculator he made in Microsoft Excel. To do this, he created a system where all he had to do was enter the percentages of his grades and the weights from his syllabus.
“I built grade calculators for every one of my classes so I could keep track of my grades. I would just take my syllabus, plug in the weights and add the grades as the semester went on,” he said. “I realized that with one syllabus, I can build this great calculator. I saw an opportunity there to serve students. That’s what inspired the building of Skoller.”
Logan Matthews, Skoller’s COO, was also a student at Belmont and was interested in Ward’s app idea. Neither Matthews nor Ward knew anything about computer science, coding or how to build an app. But they both decided that Skoller was an idea worth pursuing, and with help from some experts in the technology field, they began building it.
“It’s definitely not what I thought I’d be doing, but that’s one of the things that’s exciting about it,” Matthews said. “It’s a great environment to work in. I also love learning and to learn new things about how this industry works and learning from other people is another one of the things I really enjoy.”
Ward said Skoller is unlike any other student app because it utilizes an individual’s syllabus to create a schedule and grade calculator and open a line of communication for other Skoller users in the same classes. He said this personal touch is one of the reasons Skoller is original and the best on the market. Another aspect that makes Skoller original is the fact that, unlike other template-based apps like The Homework App or My Homework, students don’t have to input their own data.
“With Skoller, you send us your syllabus and then we add the information for you,” Ward said. “Also, whenever students join the same class, it just takes one syllabus to make that information available to everyone in the class. The crowdsourcing definitely separates us from competitors.”
Ward and Matthews agree that Skoller is a one-of-a-kind app that can help ease stress for any student who’s willing to try it. And although there were some rough spots in the beginning — like when they underestimated the amount of syllabi and tried to do it themselves before outsourcing the jobs to India — Skoller is now being used at many schools around the United States, like UNL. Courtney West, Alpha Omicron Pi’s director of public relations, is a personal user and advocate for Skoller.
“I believe that it is the perfect fit for students today because the pressure to not only excel in classes but in internships, extracurricular activities and leadership positions is higher than ever, and Skoller is a way to keep track of their assignment and tests among many other things better than an average planner,” she said.