Students Helping Students
Knowledge Bartering, sounds like a funny term right? As a college student this a term you should quickly become familiar with because the benefits are endless. A perfect example of knowledge bartering is, Stunited. Stunited, is an app that was created by Rowan University’s very own, John Rondi. Stunited, is the first and only app, that was created to bring students together with the ultimate goal of creating a sharing academic community. Stunited was designed as a way to tutor without having to pay. You trade or barter your strengths with another student’s weakness and vice versa. For Example, My strengths are in English and Writing, but my weakness is math. The app would help me get matched with someone who was strong in math and in return I could help them with english or writing.
How does it work?
A student will create a profile with the following information:
- School credentials
After completing your profile you will have access to a network of students that you could potentially match with and then later be tutored by. Each student will have the opportunity to swipe right on profiles that could benefit them and swipe left on profiles that won’t. Members are able to communicate with their matches to ensure that they can use their strengths to help one another. For example, Alex excels in English, but needs help in history. Alex, gets matched with Claire, who excels in history but could use help in English, this creates the perfect knowledge bartering situation!
Behind the scenes with John Rondi –
Creating your own app is pretty impressive, but doing so while also attending college full-time is what makes this even more impressive. I was lucky enough to have an interview with John asking him some behind the scene questions on how he got the inspiration for his app and what the process was like. If you’re looking to create your own app, but don’t know where to start this information could help you!
My Interview with John Rondi
1.) Where did the idea for the app Stunited come from?
-Stunited is a mobile platform for students to match based on what they’re good at in school, and/or what they need help in. Stunited functions like a dating app; allowing users to swipe right one profiles they like and left on the ones they dislike. Once a profile is swiped right on, both students can discuss further details in a private chat to come up with a solution.
As a student, I constantly struggle to write papers. One night, I decided to reach out to my friend who I knew was in need of math help. I offered a barter of skill sets: “I will help you with your math if you help me with my writing”. This situation then led to the creation of Stunited. We are solving an important need in information exchange and academic help. With Stunited, I can find the help I need quickly, simply, and most importantly, for free. After four months since launch, we have already generated about 5,000 downloads and about 2,000 users. We are not only offering students a solution for their academic problems, but are establishing a global community for students to join together and experience college in a whole new way.
2.) Once you had your idea how did you go about creating the app? Take us through your process.
-Once I had the idea, I really didn’t waste much time. I immediately started pitching my idea to friends and family and received a pretty good response. I spent that night brainstorming a name for the app, and came up with the idea within a couple of hours (Stunited, since we are Uniting Students). I then formulated a plan for how to put this entire process into action. That next day, I was on the phone with developers and coders to find the right candidate. After further research, I found a company that seemed to be the right fit. Within the next couple of months, we started the development process. While this took longer than expected, I felt it was necessary to beta test the app and launch at the right time. After taking the year to code, revise, and test the app, we finally launched on August 10th, 2017.
3.)Were there any struggles during this process?
–The app creation process was definitely filled with struggles. Mostly, it came from having to rely on others. Since I have no tech background, I did not understand anything the coders were doing. When I had questions or concerns, I had to put my trust in people who I barely knew. This led to uncertainty and nervousness at times, which is something I wasn’t used to. Nevertheless, struggles were expected, and I wasn’t going to let them deter me from moving forward.
4.)When was your app launched and how did you get it launched through apple?
–We launched on August 10th, 2017. To my surprise, putting an app on the App Store is fairly easy. First, I had to register as a developer, which came with a small yearly fee. I then had to send my build in for review. During this time, Apple will either accept or deny your build. If denied, they will explain why and allow you to try again. Fortunately, they accepted Stunited on the first try, so the process was quick.
5.)How many people and colleges are using the app?
–To date, we have 5,000 downloads and about 2,000 active users
6.)Have there been any glitches in the app? If so, how did you go about fixing them.
–Glitches come here and there, but nothing out of hand. If a screen is freezing every time I initiate a certain command, for example, I explain my problem with the developers so they can find the bug. Most fixes have been easy to handle and are taken care of in a short period of time.
7.)If you had any advice to give to a future student looking to create an app what would it be?
–If someone is truly serious about committing to an idea, I would tell them to do it. I am completely comfortable saying that I don’t know everything, but this is a huge learning process. I have gained more knowledge from this experience than I have in any classroom. However, a student must be ready for some tough days. At times, I ask myself why I even started this in the first place. As a college student, temptation is everywhere. It seems easy to join the crowd and worry about your future in a year or so. I am not special, but I have found something worth pursuing. I think we all strive to be great, but never actually want to do what it takes. If you have an idea, commit to it. You’ll either succeed or learn, so you’re winning no matter what the outcome is.
If you or your friends have an idea for an app, I hope this blog post and my interview with John, helped educate you on how to get you started!