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Students reimagine digital classroom

Posted on December 10, 2013 | by Patrick Anker

Justin Lanier/WSN

Next semester, an independent digital classroom interface founded by a group of NYU students will provide an alternative to the NYU Classes system.

The program, dubbed Kipin Hall, was only open to 2,000 students and 17 professors this semester in a closed beta, but will be accessbile by the community this spring. The website will pull information from the Albert database to create student schedules. All students will be able to connect to Kipin Hall by using their NYU email addresses.

“Kipin Hall is a platform where students can connect with students, with professors and with clubs,” Kipin Hall co-founder and CAS sophomore Abhinay Ashutosh said.

The founders said the interface will be more user-friendly to use than the current system. When a student logs into the site, he is met with a wall of posts, similar to Facebook. Students can post questions for their professors or classmates to answer. The student postings can be sorted using hashtags. 

“This is a quick way for the professor to answer questions to students in a very public way,” Ashutosh said. “The advantage for professors is that they can answer a question just once, forever. If someone next year asks the same question, [the professor] doesn’t need to keep answering that question. They can just refer to the original.”

The students can also choose to post questions anonymously.

“It’s [hard] for the quiet kids to stand up and ask a question they think is stupid,” Ashutosh said.

Similar to NYU Classes, the page retains a navigation bar that lists the student’s classes and group pages. The page also includes a full roster, assignments and calendar of events.

While the NYU Information Technology Services welcomed the Kipin Hall interface, the university has no immediate plans to intergrate the system with NYU Classes.

“The group determined, with concurring input from the Student Technology and Research Committee of the Student Senators Council, that it is not presently a priority for ITS to integrate Kipin Hall into NYU Classes,” said Marilyn McMillan, ITS Chief Information Technology Officer.

Tech@NYU president and Stern senior Emanuel Hahn is familiar with the site and said he looks forward to the launch of Kipin Hall.

“NYU Classes is very inefficient and does a poor job of meeting students’ needs,” Hahn said. “Kipin Hall can improve that tremendously because they are not bogged down by bureaucracy, but instead can adapt rapidly to what students want [or] need.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Dec. 10 print edition. Patrick Anker is a staff writer. Email him at news@nyunews.com.

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