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PROBLEM DEFINITION REPORT

SUBJECT:   KPU Mobile Application

 

I hope this finds you well. As you may know, my team and I have been working on an application that is being designed exclusively for KPU students and faculty. I would like to present to you the Problem Definition Report, an extension of Situational Analysis that had been conducted previously to investigate individual preference and access to the wide array of available communication modes, ranging from email, SMS Text, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Google Share, and KPU Moodle among others. In this report, a proposition of value is presented to determine the problems posed by the lack of a single communication point within the KPU community and its effect.

The KSC, we hope, will solve most of the current communication problems being experienced by both instructors and students on the campus. Presently, the lack of a single point of communication is affecting students and teachers negatively. The communication between instructors and learners has not been effective and it has become increasingly difficult and challenging to manage schedules, remain updated with the events going on in campus, and facilitate a smooth learning process. The lack of a platform through which students and their peers and instructors can interact freely has also made it difficult for members of KPU to know each other.

We would like to ask for your permission to continue onto the next stage of research for the project which is the Recommendation Report. I am confident that the information gathered so far would help me make appropriate recommendations.  A detailed report containing the findings from the research conducted is attached below. I would like to thank you for taking the time out to read this e-mail and for your consideration. If you have any further questions or would like any further clarification, please feel free to contact me by phone at 236-788-2654 or by e-mail at Ahmed.AlDossari@email.kpu.ca.

Thank you,

Ahmed AlDossari

 

Introduction-problem DEFINITION REPORT

 

The situation analysis conducted previously has revealed that students and staff at Kwantlen Polytechnic University lack a convenient platform on which they can share information, ask questions, and connect with friends within this community. Presently, there are a plethora of mobile chatting applications being used. They include Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp among others to facilitate this kind of communication. Students undertaking courses that involve project works have also faced a major challenge of selecting the appropriate application to use when communicating with team members. Although there are several applications that can facilitate that kind of communication, it has always been problematic given that most of the time, you will find at least one member who doesn’t use the preferred service of other members. On the other hand, the communication between teachers and students has not been effective given that the current communication system does not provide notifications whenever a new email arrives. To solve this problem, students have had to auto-forward an email to another service like Gmail. However, this too has proven to be unreliable given that occasionally, emails do not arrive or end up being marked as spam.

 

In this report, the current situation at KPU is investigated in detail to determine its positive and negative sides. As a member of Kwantlen Polytechnic University and a student of pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in information technology, I understand the current problem and have adequate knowledge to carry out this research.

 

Process Analysis-problem DEFINITION REPORT

 

There is a vast majority of mobile applications currently in the market that allow students to communicate with one another. Students who utilize these types of applications may not have or use the same application as other members of their group. Therefore, the broad spectrum of applications accessible to students has resulted in a lack of a single point of contact or platform that allows them to communicate with each other. With the wide range of chatting applications available today and varying preferences and accessibility to different applications influenced by factors such as the technological competency and type of the device being used, finding the right application that all students are comfortable with has become challenging. Individual’s differential use of mobile messaging applications had made it difficult to find a convenient place to share information, incompatibility of messaging services between group members, and the repeated and often invasive sharing of personal contact information.

Figure 1: Ways in which students communicate

 

From the survey that was conducted, it emerged that students within the KPU community use different means of communication. While the majority of them communicate via text message and external mail, a considerable number use Kwantlen mail, a messenger application, and social media. Additionally, an analysis carried out to determine how students learn about events at the Institution revealed that different media are used. While the majority use KPU mail, others rely on Facebook or KPU website. On the other hand, only a few students check their Kwantlen email or website on daily basis, which increases the likelihood of missing important information.

 

Figure 2: Ways in which students communicate

Drawing upon primary research that was conducted, it is evident that the lack of a single point of communication has affected students and teachers negatively. Presently, the communication between instructors and learners has not been effective and it has become increasingly difficult and challenging to manage schedules, remain updated with the events going on in campus, and facilitate a smooth learning process. Walsh (2016) agree that this his has been the challenge in most universities. The author notes that smartphone technology is now ever present on college campuses with almost 90% of the students having a smartphone. This technology is widely used by instructors and students alike for communication, where personalized messages are sent. However, the majority of campuses have failed to develop a platform to engage their students with personalized content or information. Yilmazel and Ekin (2015) who developed an academic portal based on web services and also used an Android platform in smartphones point out that communication systems in most learning institutions are not effective and most of them tend to be unidirectional. They note that there is a need to ensure all students, administrative staff, and faculties are connected using a platform that supports bi-directional communication

 

International Trends-problem DEFINITION REPORT

 

The search for better ways to communicate with and meet new people has resulted in the development of user-friendly applications that are now being used by an increasing number of students on campuses. One such application is Islands. According to Flynn (2016), the majority of college students want to meet new people. Islands allow its users to do exactly that. Students at the University of Alabama are now using this application to create groups and profiles through which they can share their plan and photos. Within a short period of time, Islands has been introduced in several universities including the University of Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and the College of Charleston. Although it lacks enhanced functionality compared to traditional chatting applications such as Facebook and Twitter, its growing polarity among college students is an indication that there is an existing gap in communication platforms. Students are searching for new platforms that will allow them to connect with people around them, be it their peers or instructors. Despite stiff competition from companies such as Facebook, Google, and GroupMe, the growth in the number of students using Islands shows a new trend in which students prefer communicating through one app. Moreover, the rapid spread of the application indicates that most learning institutions lack a single point of contact that allows members of a collaborative group project, classmates, or individuals of the same program to communicate and interact through texting or sharing content. Additionally, it shows that although there is a wide range of mobile chatting applications available today and there exist varying preferences and accessibility for each of them, it is still possible to develop a convenient platform for sharing information within a given community.

 

Stakeholder Analysis

 

The main stakeholders that will support my research are the staff from Kwantlen’s School of Business department and especially from the sector of Computer Science and Information Technology. Additional support will be received from the four projects team members who are all students in their 3rd and 4th year of the Information Technology Bachelor’s Degree at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. They all have adequate knowledge of how to implement a project of this scale and will each do their part to complete the project on time. Students and staff will be the major stakeholders that will benefit from the project since it will facilitate efficient communication between them and promote faster knowledge dissemination during various collaborative group projects. Apart from improving the experience of students during their period of learning at KPU, the application would benefit prospective students by giving them a taste of student life and an experience of activities at the institution.

 

Conclusion

 

The research carried out indicates that the lack of a convenient platform on which students can share information, ask questions, and connect with friends within this community has created a gap that needs to be filled. Students and teachers that belong to KPU community do not have a single communication point. As a result, the majority of them miss important information about events on the campus. Moreover, communication between instructors and their teachers has increasing become inefficient, which in turn has made it difficult to effectively manage schedules, keep students and instructors updated with various collaborative project activities, and facilitate a smooth learning process.

Takeaway-problem DEFINITION REPORT

From the assignment, learned that there is a proliferation of both apps for chatting and smartphones among college students, a development that is forcing learning institutions to embrace mobile technology and develop the most appropriate digital strategy that will enhance communication between educators and students. As an information and technology student, I have learned that universities are shifting from the creation of webs and recruitment apps and working to develop applications that will improve the experiences of students on campus. This development is likely to open numerous career opportunities for individuals that will specialize in application development. The assignment exposed me to some of my strengths and weaknesses. I learned that I am good at developing arguments and applying deductive reasoning to establish the good and bad side of various trends. On the other hand, I need to develop my time management skills, which will ensure that I complete assigned work on time.

 

References

 

Flynn, K. (2017). Islands, a new messaging app, is taking over college campuses. Retrieved from https://mashable.com/2017/08/30/islands-college-campus-messaging-app/#oSo1kMYMwaqt

 

Wai, I. S. H., Ng, S. S. Y., Chiu, D. K., Ho, K. K., & Lo, P. (2018). Exploring undergraduate students’ usage pattern of mobile apps for education. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 50(1), 34-47.

 

Walsh, K. (2016). Apps personalize campus communications: How colleges can promote success right on students’ smartphones. Retrieved from https://www.universitybusiness.com/article/apps-personalize-campus-communications.

 

Yilmazel, O., & Ekin, E. (2015). Mobile Applications at a Mega University: Anadolu University Campus App. Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, 10(1), 13-2

 

 

APPENDIX

Student Survey Answers

  • How do you communicate with Group members on class projects? Mark all that apply and star your primary method of communication.

 

external email 10      
Kwantlen email 6      
messenger application 12      
social media 8      
text message 16      
phone 8      
skype for business 2      
other 2 discord pigeon mail

 

  • How frequently do you chat on your mobile device?

 

once a week 1
multiple times a week 2
daily 12
hourly 6
less 1
more 2

 

 

 

  • What features do you prefer in a chatting application? Mark all that apply

 

notification of events 12  
ability to create groups 19  
ability to share pictures and files 20  
chat history 10  
profile picture 7  
other 1 edit messages

 

 

  • What social Platforms do you use?

 

Facebook 15  
twitter 4  
google+ 5  
Discord 8  
Instagram 13  
WhatsApp 1  
WeChat 2  
snapchat 2  
other 1 not specified

 

 

  • How do you find out about important dates/deadlines, events, opportunities, policy changes at Kwantlen?
Facebook 3  
KPU website 11  
KPU email 17  
other 1 group members

PROBLEM DEFINITION REPORT

  • How often do you check your Kwantlen student email?
every day 13
multiple times a week 3
once a week 3
twice a week 1
once a month 2
never 2

 

  • What Type of phone do you use?
iPhone 12  
Android 11  
Other 1 flip phone

 

 

  • What Collaboration software do you use?
Google docs 19  
OneDrive 3  
Dropbox 9  
other 1 skype

 

  • What do you find the most frustrating feature of most chatting applications?

 

  1. Not being able to view chats from a long time ago
  2. Unable to mention certain users in a group chat
  3. Can’t send large files
  4. Getting notifications all the time
  5. Storage limit and constant notifications
  6. Battery use
  7. Storage limit
  8. Won’t let you know if the person read your message
  9. Muting notifications but not getting notified of important things
  10. Too many features
  11. Ads
  12. Waiting for replies
  13. Not checking it constantly
  14. The lag
  15. Search feature
  16. Privacy and security
  17. twitter
  18. the late reply the design of the pages

PROBLEM DEFINITION REPORT

  • What do you find the most frustrating about communicating with other students?

 

  1. Choosing when and where to talk
  2. Collaborating
  3. Response time
  4. When someone doesn’t reply
  5. Delayed replies
  6. Talking to them
  7. When they see the message and never reply
  8. When they don’t respond
  9. Response times
  10. Some students don’t know knowledge and difficult to communicate
  11. Not all student reply quickly
  12. Communication can get lost
  13. Getting response’s
  14. Lack of actually getting their opinions voiced
  15. Delayed response time
  16. You can’t tell what the team is
  17. When they are not online
  18. When they don’t do anything
  19. Response time
  20. When you need a quick confirmation or to schedule something and then reply late
  21. Moodle
  22. help students learn from each other

PROBLEM DEFINITION REPORT