Greenwich here I come!

Okay, it’s the night before Greenwich. I’m on the bus back from Reading after an absolutely fantastic few days of drinking and raving with friends. Time to get back on track with the project and put in all the time I possibly have again.

The good news is that I WILL be going to Greenwich tomorrow! I managed to find two friends to come along with me as I was telling them about this project during Reading. They were pretty impressed with what they heard and persuaded me to go to Greenwich and asked if they could come along. I was really excited by this and luckily, I spotted that a few people had dropped out of the Greenwich event so this meant that I was able to attend the event with my friends 🙂

Here’s a brief introduction to the friends that will be travelling with me tomorrow:

Antonio is currently a student and is going to University of York this September. He will be studying English, and I’m very happy for him as he’s managed to get a place at such a high ranked university after a hard last few years.

Sam currently works in retail. He doesn’t plan on going to university just yet, but he has an interest in this project and owns many portable devices. I have decided to ask him to be a tester for Notedump before I launch everything. He’s not technical, but will be able to test the functionality of this application on his devices.

Time to buy travel for tomorrow. Train is just too expensive for me to pay for everyone, so a bus it is. I’m really excited for this now! I will update this blog as soon as I get back from Greenwich. Goodnight!

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Greenwich event – To go or not to go?

Since the NoteDump team become a one man army, I’ve had to make a few life changes for this project to be able to continue. First of all, I’ve decided to quit my current job and work on this project full time. Secondly, I’ve had to stop going out clubbing completely just so I’m at full concentration to be able to work on this project. I guess this will do more good for me than bad, but when you love music as much as I do you’ll start to go cold turkey for going out.

I did actually try going down the route of finding another team member to help out with this project, but the problem was that I couldn’t find anybody local that had enough skill to actually work on this project. As the majority of the coding involved is based on low level PDF stuff, everybody I showed this project to kinda got scared and said they’d prefer not to touch any of the code just in case they messed it up. Hmm. I guess I’ll see how I cope on my own over the next month and then decide if I need to hire any external devs. I guess I could always finish all of the web & API stuff myself and then hire an external iOS and Android developer…

Anyhow, the next few weeks are going to be extremely productive. I have 3 full weeks to work on coding this project. Then I’ll be working as a mentor for Young Rewired State from the 5th of August for a week by helping young people to code. Then I’ll be enjoying a well deserved break with my friends at Reading Festival. This kinda makes up for missing out on the clubbing scene for a while 😉

I still haven’t decided if I want to go to Greenwich on my own yet though. The problem is actually finding someone to come with me as everyone I know that has a decent skillset is either away on holiday, or live ages away from me as they are home during summer break. I’ll have to make my mind up soon as time is running out. I shall update this blog when I make my mind up.

Team update

This update is more an announcement about the internal structure of our team rather than the progress of the project. As many of you are aware, this idea started off as a collaboration between Matthew Jones and Joel Murphy. Unfortunately over the summer, it’s been hard for Matthew to be able to dedicate as much time as he’d like to the project. As such, he’s decided to step back from the team. He will still be working on the project when he can, however the main bulk of the work will now come from Joel Murphy who is able to work on the project on a full time basis. This arrangement will work out better for all parties concerned. Matthew is still passionate about the project and will still have input into its future. 

Google here we come!

We’re writing this blog post after we’ve had the pleasure of going to Google campus in London for a JISC networking event. The event was hosted by JISC and its partners as an opportunity for project owners to meet each other as well as to make some expert contacts in areas such as institutional embedding, design and coding. We both decided to attend this event as we thought it would be a great opportunity for us, as well as the future of our project.

After the nice 6AM start to travel from Cardiff to London, we couldn’t wait to get to the tea and coffee that was awaiting us for that much needed caffeine boost. It’s lucky we did as the day was soon off to a flying start.

The first part of the day was spent hearing from JISC about it’s vision for education in the UK and how our projects fitted into its vision. For us, this was very inspiring and made us realize the potential impact this scheme could really have across the UK. It was also interesting to hear about how the idea for the Summer of Innovation came about.

After that, we were given the opportunity to have some time to network with the people who really interested us and to get as many different opinions and contacts as we could. Although we had to describe our idea several times throughout the day, it was worth it to get some of the suggestions and comments that we had.  It was also interesting to see how many teams were facing the same challenges or using the same development process as us.

Once we’d gotten our delicious pizza filled lunch out of the way, we set about joining focus groups intended to help us with particular issues that fell into certain categories. We first of all decided to join a group that was intended for people who were looking for general help from JISC and it’s partners. This group was very helpful for us and the experts who were leading it were able to make us aware of a lot of support that was available to us because we are Welsh students. The second group we attended was a group focused on technical issues. Our main line of inquiry for that session was to find out if there was a PHP framework that would suit our project. We were lucky to find that people had many suggestions and we ended up deciding to look into CodeIgniter.

The day itself was mainly spent interacting with other people rather than sat being lectured to for the day. This proved to be a productive way of getting our idea out there and to find the right people to advise us with particular aspects of the project.

Massive thanks go out to JISC for providing us with this opportunity to meet so many great people and we are using the resources and support that we received.

More updates to follow soon.

Week 3: Our development Process

Welcome back to the second blog post from Team NoteDump! This blog post should give you an idea of what we’ve been up to over the past couple of weeks.

Since our last blog post, we’ve mainly been working on the requirements for NoteDump, as well as research on how we’ll implement these requirements.

When we initially entered the JISC Summer of Student Innovation competition, we only ever considered what we wanted NoteDump to do, and not how everything was going to be implemented – I guess this is only natural for the start of any project though! For this type of project in particular, we need to make sure that we’re using the right technologies right from the start whilst we have the funding to do so, as well as the interest of University students.

As NoteDump is mainly web focused (for now!) and both members of the team have experience with web based languages, we will be using HTML5, CSS3, PHP and JavaScript to implement the idea. We still haven’t decided on which frameworks to use, but I guess there’s no point in rushing into this until we fully research some of the most popular frameworks out there.

In terms of our coding progress, we’ve so far managed to code a full front-end CSS framework, along with a responsive landing page. The page isn’t online yet as we haven’t got around to buying our dedicated server or domain name, but you can see a screenshot below.

Notedump responsive CSS theme

Notedump responsive CSS theme

Once we do have our server set up we’ll start work on setting up our database structure and gathering all of the data we need.

Our next blog post should be in early August after our visit to the Google campus. The plan is for us to network with other projects and experts to see what other projects are up to as well as receive some expert advice on certain aspects of the development process.

Introducing our project

Welcome to the first ever blog post from team NoteDump!

Image

Team NoteDump currently consists of:

Matthew Rhys Jones

Joel Murphy

We are two Computer Science students from Cardiff University who have been successful in receiving £5000 in funding from JISC for the Summer of Student Innovation challenge. The challenge centered around an idea that would improve student life in some way. Along with 20 other ideas, we have been lucky enough to secure funding to kickstart our idea.

So what exactly is NoteDump? NoteDump is a new way for university students to manage, annotate, share and discuss their notes. Users will be able to join module communities with other people on their course so that they can interact and exchange notes. If however you don’t want to share your notes, then you can keep them private and independent whilst still being able to take advantage of annotation and organisational features.

Over the next few months our main aim is to have an operational website that allows users to sign up using their academic email address, register for modules and then upload/annotate notes for those modules.

Our aim for the year is then to provide users with the sharing and discussion features of the site just in time for the summer exams!

We have many ideas for the site and are looking forward to sharing them with you. These blogs are going to be written on a weekly basis however if you’d like more up to date information or would like to suggest an idea to us then we have just set up a twitter account where you can get in touch.

Watch this space!