London is my Campus

The London is my Campus project is a new initiative bringing together London’s truly world class cluster of universities and higher education colleges to design a mobile app for students across the capital. 24 of London’s institutions confirmed direct involvement in the project when it launched in May 2014. Since then a diverse group of HEIs from across London have been collaborating for a common and very important cause.

National student surveys, and feedback from students across London’s HEIs, highlight that universities and colleges in London typically score lower in student experience surveys, compared to counterparts located elsewhere. Some of the reasons for this include the increased cost of living in the capital, fear and perceptions of crime, distance and costs of transport, and for many of London’s HEIs the lack of a ‘traditional’ campus environment.

Earlier this year London Higher begun to explore how collaborative ventures may begin to tackle these sorts of perceptions, and at the same time emphasise London’s very many unique qualities and attractions. As such London is my Campus was designed to provide a student-led response to London’s student experience challenge.

By emphasising London’s many special features – whether they be to do with academic, social, cultural or leisure aspects of being a student in the capital – our project aims to reduce if not dispel the negative perceptions. The student-focused app will offer an innovative platform for every student in all of London HEIs – undergraduate and post-graduate, UK/EU and international – to access information and to utilise and embrace London as their campus.

From 17 September to 31 October London Higher hosted an online competition to create a unique group who would assist in designing and shaping an app concept. Students from across London applied by uploading a 2-minute video application, outlining their ideas, skills and experiences.  In November a judging panel reviewed the applications and the top 6 scoring applicants were invited to attend a residential workshop where they were led by expert mentors to create an app concept.

On 03 December we welcomed guests to celebrate the achievements of the six fantastic students who demonstrated commitment, keenness and sheer hard work developing their app concept. The reception, hosted by the University of London, was attended by over 70 academics, technical experts, stakeholders, and most importantly the students themselves.  Each of the winning students received a certificate marking their involvement in the project, a £150 Amazon voucher and an opportunity to visit the new Google headquarters.

The six students selected to be in the final team were:

  1. Benjamin Lioue, a 3rd Year undergraduate studying Accounting and Finance at City University London;
  2. Zayd Sharif, a 5th Year undergraduate studying Medicine at St George’s University of London;
  3.    Naseeba Mhearban, a 2nd Year undergraduate studying Business Studies at London South Bank University;
  4. Obaro Johnson, a 3rd Year undergraduate studying Computer Science at the University of West London;
  5. Mann Kaur, a 1st Year postgraduate studying User Experience Design at Kingston University London;
  6. Tomasz Szymaniec, a 2nd Year undergraduate studying Computing at Imperial College London.

In January the project Steering Committee, chaired by Professor Debra Humphris, (Vice Provost Education, Imperial College London) will convene to discuss the options available for developing the app. We will be seeking investment from business partners as and when appropriate.  There is a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm about the potential.

London Higher should like to thank all of the 24 institutions for their involvement and contribution to the project. In addition, particular thanks go to Jisc, who provided the website space for the competition; PwC, who provided legal advice; University of the Arts London, who provided a videographer for the students to record their ideas; the University of London, who provided the Chancellor’s Hall for the prize giving reception; Google, for hosting a lunch for the students; and the judges and mentors who gave up their time to support the students at the residential workshop.

Look out for future blogs charting progress in the New Year!

If you are interested in the London is my Campus project please contact:

Amy Lightstone –  Project Manager, London is my Campus