Through the Tyk Side Project Fund, we support and nurture the innovative ideas of others, continuing our mission of making technology more accessible to all.
In early March, we put out a call-out to creative minds with groundbreaking ideas and urged them to share their visions and how we could support their passion projects – and, well, the response was overwhelming! Choosing three winners was a seriously tough call, but one that had to be made.
Classboard is an online platform designed to streamline and enhance the teaching and learning experience in classrooms. In our interview below, you’ll understand why they unquestionably deserve this recognition and support.
So, let’s go learn a little more about them!
Tyk: Hey, Classboard! Tell us about your background and what inspired your side project fund idea?
Classboard: We’re a tight-knit group of five passionate computer science students from Obafemi Awolowo University, situated in Ile-Ife, Osun state, Nigeria.
Armed with valuable expertise in diverse tech stacks and project management, we set out on a mission during the lockdown to tackle a common issue in the educational realm – lost and disorganised information.
Imagine the frustration of valuable data going missing or getting all jumbled up, especially during these unprecedented times. That’s why we’re determined to make a difference by revolutionising class management and its related aspects. Our collective brainpower and creativity led us to develop an efficient and super-convenient solution to these challenges.
Tyk: What are the key features or innovations that differentiate your project from existing solutions in the same domain?
Classboard: Our project has occasionally been likened to Google’s classroom, but unlike Google’s project, we aim to facilitate seamless information dissipation amongst students – without necessarily including the lecturers or professors.
While other solutions focus on creating virtual classroom experiences, we provide a system that centralises all the information a class may need in and outside a classroom environment — such as schedules, reminders, and resources.
Tyk: What stage is your project at, and where do you see it going long-term?
Classboard: The project has successfully advanced beyond the initial MVP stage, and we have made significant progress by onboarding approximately 3000 active students at Obafemi Awolowo University.
We plan to expand our solution globally, focusing on schools in the southwest region of Nigeria. By starting locally, we aim to refine and adapt our product to meet the specific needs of different educational environments, ensuring a seamless user experience.
In addition to this expansion, we are committed to enhancing our product further. Our team is diligently working on incorporating new features that will elevate the overall product experience for all users.
Tyk: What key values drive and motivate you to work on the project?
Classboard: At the core of our project are three principles: ownership, problem-solving, and teamwork. As users, we recognise the existing challenge and seek more than just a quick fix. This firsthand experience drives us to find more than just a remedy for our benefit.
We are on a mission to create a solution that will benefit not only ourselves but also students and educators worldwide. We work as a united team, using our diverse skills to create a lasting and impactful answer to improve class management.
Tyk: Could you share some insights into the development process and any obstacles you encountered?
Classboard: Developing our minimum viable product (MVP) was exciting and challenging for our team of five. Each member took ownership of a specific stack, from the backend to design, Android, iOS, and product management.
Working together, we faced hurdles like defining the MVP through constant iterations and finding free resources for long-term use. These challenges became valuable learning experiences for us.
To ensure our progress, we sought insights from senior developers and potential users, incorporating their feedback.
Tyk: How will the Tyk side project fund help your project grow?
Classboard: The journey of deploying and running Classboard has been filled with challenges, especially regarding financial constraints. As our user base expanded, we realised the need for better and more reliable services beyond what the free options could offer. This includes securing a Google Developer Play Store and Apple developer account, obtaining a .com domain, utilising Cloud services, and investing in marketing efforts.
As we grew, we encountered limitations with our current services, leading to disruptions in mail deliverability due to reaching the mail service’s limits. It became clear that we needed more robust and scalable solutions to cater to our increasing user base.
This is where the Tyk fund becomes instrumental. With its support, we can upgrade the package of services that Classboard relies on. This ensures timely renewals of subscriptions for critical services like the Apple developer account and domain name. Additionally, the fund will allow us to implement new features and enhancements, ultimately improving the overall user experience.
Tyk: How do you avoid burnout when working full-time and managing a side project?
Classboard: Successfully juggling a side project alongside a full-time job demands careful planning and clear objectives. By defining your goals for a specific period, you can effectively manage your time and ensure progress on your side venture.
Recognising the importance of regular breaks is vital. Rest periods are essential in a full-time job to prevent burnout and maintain productivity. It’s okay to momentarily step back from your side project, as occasional breaks can fuel creativity and fresh perspectives upon your return.
And enlist the support of your friends and family. Their encouragement and belief in your vision can provide the motivation and emotional support you need, especially during challenging times.
Tyk: How do you envision your project positively impacting the developer community or the wider technology industry?
Classboard: Our project is a testament to the power of solving common and feasible problems, showing that users seek the right solutions. We aspire to inspire fellow student developers to take the leap and tackle issues within their own environments, make a meaningful impact and create a brighter future through innovative problem-solving.
Tyk: What tips would you offer someone looking to start their own side project?
Classboard: Getting started on a side project can be both exhilarating and challenging.
- Reach out to your potential users and gather their feedback. Ensure your project aligns with their needs and preferences.
- Surround yourself with friends who believe in your vision. Their encouragement and assistance can make a significant difference.
- Continuously improve your project based on user suggestions. Incorporate their insights to create a product that truly resonates with your audience.
- Balancing a side project and a full-time job can be demanding. Make sure to get enough rest and avoid burnout.
- Building something remarkable takes time and effort. Stay committed and keep pushing forward, even during challenging moments.
We think that’s some seriously sound advice! Thanks to the talented and innovative Classboard team for speaking with us and sharing details of their winning ideas.