OneSchool began as a project by college students after they discovered students really didn’t have a place to find peer help with academic questions. There was always the stand-by use of Facebook and e-mail, but those aren’t really that helpful if most of your friends aren’t sitting at their desks. OneSchool gives students access to everyone at their school using the app, and it reaches people from the generation that is always on the go.
OneSchool has a myriad of uses besides the founding goal of letting students get help from each other. It also has a message board feature that allows students to post about anything from needing a roommate to wanting to meet up for pizza. That section of the app seamlessly integrates with OneSchool’s Facebook app, so you’re essentially looking at an app within an app. It sounds clumsy, but with OneSchool’s smooth design, you won’t really notice except for the first time you access it when you have to allow the app permission to run.
The app has a full course catalog along with a description for everything offered at the supported colleges. It’s helpful for students looking for open sections or even for those who get lost in the first few weeks of the semester. The larger type and clean interface allows for a smooth enough experience that a frantic freshman should be able to navigate the halls as well as use the app to find where exactly their next classroom is.
If simply knowing the name of the building isn’t enough to get students on their way, OneSchool also has integrated Google Maps. When you first open it, it just gives you an overview of the campus area. Students can search for buildings and get directions, or even search for the best Chinese restaurant. If it’s far enough away, they can use the Bus Tracker portion of the app to find the route they need. The Tracker leads back to the Google Maps section, but shows a view with a traced route and icons for where each bus will stop.
Though it seems like a lot of the app would be most beneficial to students living on or near a campus, OneSchool also shows a lot of promise for online education. It can be the virtual meeting place for course discussions and even ideas for group projects. With such an all-inclusive app, it can also be the way students connect with professors and academic advisors.
Unfortunately, every app has its flaw. For OneSchool, it’s that it relies entirely on students to care enough to add content for their school. Except for the original, each school has been added by a student who wanted their campus to get in on the magic. Students have to add their favorite restaurants, courses and participate on the boards.
If OneSchool can get (and keep) students’ attentions, it’s going to change the way freshmen navigate their first year of college, and the way that upperclassmen interact with each other, and possibly the way graduate students network. It will be easier than ever to find a study group and to explore what their school has to offer them.