Start with Why
The 2011 MIT100k YouPitch finalist was born out of frustration due to the inefficient communication channels used in the university of Buea (UB) and countless other Universities in Cameroon W. Africa. In 2012 you may ask why? Well this is because the students and faculty still rely solely on Notice Boards, In Class Announcements and Mouth to Mouth to communicate.
So together with Horace, Nara, Quincy and Leslie, we worked hand in hand with some seasoned educators and students to design the usePULSE platform which enables students, administrators and professors to communicate in real-time using primarily their mobile phones via SMS, web and email, in addition the platform also puts in place the usage of inexpensive android powered tablet devices, that cost about $50 per device. These devices allow convenient and efficient access to the platform maximizing capabilities.
In the last quarter of 2011 we obtained the go ahead from the University of Buea (UB) to commence with the first pilot program. UB has about 17,000 students yet the pilot program will start with an initial 1000 users. Our Project is set to begin March 2012.
You can also check out our beta
Here is what we will do during the pilot project
1. Empower the faculty through diverse training initiatives so that they can operate independently, assist students and find innovative new ways to use the platform.
2. Organize training sessions with the students and provide them with intuitive demos on how they can use the platform. The students will be able to immediately activate their usePULSE account through SMS.
3. The trained Faculty will invite the students to follow their course groups through an SMS.
4. Film and document the entire experience and story of several students and lecturers from before the the pilot project to start of the project, till the end of the pilot project. This footage will be used as feedback, analysis and also to create the documentary short which will be available as one of the perks to our contributors.
These are low-cost tablet devices (android 2.2 devices have Wifi enabled, 2G of internal memory, SD slot, Mic, Stand by time: 10 hours (working time: 3-4 hours), and 7in Resistive touch screen), we will hold diverse training sessions for students and faculty on usage of the devices and platform and allow the students and faculty to use these devices free of charge.
You may have Tablets, but where is the Internet
Major campuses in Cameroon are covered by Wifi Hotspots. The University of Buea have a signed partnership with Ringo Sa to provide wireless Internet on the campus.
Long Term: it will empower students allowing them to become independent learners who are well versed with ICT tools and therefore capable of unlimited achievement in their communities. Long term goals are to scale to other universities in Cameroon and other African regions.
Are you Guys really Serious
Why do you need our money
For the past 12months we made excellent progress on the platform, and currently have a working "beta" version ready but we have gone as much as our pockets can push us, we need this last push to finish and get the product into the hands of the students.
Our fund-raising goal is $15,000, when we reach our goal we will use the money for:
1. Accelerate the development and in addition to getting 100 devices which will be used by the participating students and faculty.
2. Acquiring a local sms shortcode and tons of bulk sms to cover us for at least a year.
3. Organize training sessions for faculty and students.
4. Prepare merchandise, ebook and the documentation about the usePULSE experience. So we are able to get our educational start up to reach students, universities, fans and supporters currently and in the future.
5. Fees for the filming, and editing the footage for our documentary short. (re-imagine education will be edited by Cameroonian Director, William Nsai)
If we raise more than our campaign goal, we will be able acquire more sms, devices and also increase the number students in our pilot phase. Which would be beyond amazing.
If we do not reach our campaign goal we will still continue on with our project and adapt our Tablet and sms short-code, faculty and student training and minimum team expenditures to the raised fund amount.
In return for your kind contribution to this Pulse project, we're offering a number of cool personalized rewards, including Pulse Tablets, t-shirts, thank you page mentions, beta testing, high-resolution portraits, an ebook and a Documentary short about the project experience.
The perks are cumulative, which means that when you donate enough for a bigger perk, you also receive all the smaller perks below it. Hum !!! c'est pas lait.
Please add $10 for Shipping and Handling outside the U.S.
Others ways you can help
If you're inspired by the usePULSE project, please take a moment to share on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Blog or whatever social media you use to spread ideas your excited about and you can also twitter (follow) and or facebook (like click) :) and by all means fell free to say hello. We love hearing from our supporters from around the globe. We are driven and appreciate positive support. Thank you.