OXFORD, Miss. – Mobile apps to enhance students’ college experience through tutoring and a marketplace are available at the University of Mississippi.
My Campus Concierge was founded in March 2016 as a tech startup by Ole Miss alumnus Kenneth Akpati. His goal was to help students improve their grades through peer-to-peer tutoring and make money through a campus marketplace for goods and services.
Akpati released his first app, Dean’s List Tutoring, in August 2016. The app allows students to connect with peers who have previously passed a particular course to assist with homework and studying through tutoring.
“The advantage of using DLT is in the fact that it is campus-specific, and students would be finding fellow students that have already been in the same class with the same professor, hence giving the students more of a mentoring feel that just the regular homework/test help tutoring,” he said.
The second mobile app, Quintana Campus Marketplace, debuted at the CSpire CTX Experience in April at The Pavilion at Ole Miss. The campus-specific marketplace makes it safer and easier for students to buy and sell goods and services within the campus community, Akpati said.
“We created this app with the intention to help students save money off of the things and services they need and make money selling things they don’t need and by providing simple services for their fellow members of the campus community,” he said. “We hope that this app will enable students to build their own private economy and be less dependent on their parents while they are in college.”
Both apps are available for Android, iPhone and via webpage.
Ole Miss students were involved in the way the app looks. Akpati visited Dawn Wilkins’ computer science class in the spring, and the students evaluated the app, providing feedback. His design team incorporated most of the changes suggested by the class, said Wilkins, chair and professor of computer and information science.
“Mr. Akpati was very passionate about getting students to consider entrepreneurial ideas and giving back to the university and the community in general,” she said. “His story is very inspiring and his willingness to actively mentor the students is wonderful.
Akpati is also working with the UM electrical engineering and computer science departments to host a Hack-a-thon next year to engage students in a large-scale computer programming effort, Wilkins said.
“We haven’t made detailed plans yet, but he is already working on identifying corporate sponsors,” she said. “He is a very enterprising young man and an excellent role model for our students.”
Ole Miss is the fifth campus to embrace the app, along with Trinity University and the University of Texas campuses at Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.
Akpati, who lives in Dallas, graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. He was inspired to create the company and mobile apps based on his college experience and his passion to help college students.
“This company was created out of my passion to make the sharing economy safer and more relevant through localization,” he said. “I had to work around the clock as a tutor to be able to sustain myself and stay enrolled in classes.
“I wanted to make it easier for future generations of students by creating a way for students to help one another so no student would ever have to deal with that burden alone.”
The company is developing a third app, which will act as a social platform for college students to keep up with happenings at their school and other campuses, he said. Students will be able to post messages, photos and videos to the network when the app launches later this fall.