A newly developed app aimed at improving the e-learning experience for students is hoping to attract support from major South African schools and universities.
Universe, developed by a group of young South Africans, allows students to access their coursework on mobile devices using either Android or iOS.
Avile Maja, third-year PPE at Wits, is one of the app developers. He calls Universe “a world-first in quality, efficiency and reliability.” The app is available to students at University of Cape Town (UCT), Witwatersrand University (Wits), University of Western Cape (UWC) and North West University (NWU) among others. At Wits, the app integrates with Sakai, the online coursework system, allowing for a “completely overhauled experience,” said Maja. The app is currently cost-free and has a quicker response time than desktops, while also using less data.
Maja, 24, is the eldest member and operations officer of the team. He was also a Google Student Ambassador in 2014 and 2015. He has a “passion for technology and education” and how the combination of the two can improve lives. Maja works with Alistair Hendicks, the founder, and Romario Lourencothe, the marketing manager. The team are currently in talks with Wits before the app is officially launched.
The app aims to enhance the learning experience by hosting interactive chatrooms and providing mobile access to performances and announcements. There is also an offline mode and instant in-app support. Kingsmead and St. Mary’s are among the schools in Johannesburg also using the app. The team also plans to take Universe to a global audience, with rollout phases currently happening at New York University and Rutgers University in the United States, as well as Oxford in the United Kingdom.
Universe app is available for download from the Google Play Store (Android) and App Store (iOS).