MINNEAPOLIS — An app founded by two University of Minnesota students launched in August is meant to help streamline the process of creating study groups and meeting new people in college classes.
Amin Halimah, the app developer, co-founded the StudyU app in January 2020 with Amy Shah, the app designer. The StudyU app allows students to search for a study group or create their own group.
"The issue we wanted to fix was that at larger universities like the U of M where there are tens of thousands of students, it can be hard to meet people in lectures containing 100-plus students," Halimah said.
StudyU for Shah and Halimah became a way to help students ease the stress of being at a large university where students do not interact with each other unless they are purposefully put in groups, The Minnesota Daily reported.
In her own classes, Shah said she struggled to make friends in her classes that were beyond acquaintances.
"It can be difficult to meet new people if you're a freshman, transfer student or you don't know a lot of people, so this is an easy way to connect with people," Halimah said.
Since the launch, the application, which is available on iOS and Android, has gained almost 700 users in 116 different study groups.
Jiao Luo, a professor in the Carlson School of Management, plans to integrate StudyU in her classes. She said she felt that during the pandemic it is difficult for student engagement to occur over Zoom or other online platforms.
"In my Introduction to Entrepreneurship class, there are students from various schools such as Carlson, CLA, CFANS, etc., and we want to best support them to find their own study groups outside of the classroom," Luo said.
With most classes online, the application provides students an outlet to meet other students without any social anxiety.
"We created this app as a way for students to connect with each other in certain classes where it's difficult to do so. It's just a place where people can feel comfortable meeting others without that anxiety of having to create a group with strangers," Shah said.
Alex Wallace, a University student studying communications, uses the app for his psychology course.
"It does a really good job of suggesting which study groups you should join. Other similar apps require you to get the contact information from the other person, but this app is more user-friendly because it limits that interaction," he said.
Since the launch, the app has mainly evolved to allow users to input feedback and share academic and mental health resources on campus.
Co-founders Shah and Halimah said they hope to expand the app to more users in the Twin Cities area and eventually to larger universities across the country.