Students develop mobile app in class
By Yun Suh-young
The norm in a business English class in college would be for students to learn about specific terms or English expressions in certain situations. Those who go further do case studies on specific businesses. Professor Min Byoung-chul’s was different, however.
At Prof. Min’s Business English class at Konkuk University, Seoul, last Wednesday, undergraduate students were presenting applications they had developed for mobile phones.
Five groups presented on a variety of topics ranging from ways to ease students’ study methods to providing a more efficient medical consulting service.
Prof. Min invited six outside guests to the open lecture (excluding this reporter) to observe the class and to help realize the students’ ideas for practical use. The six guests, who were from different fields, were there to evaluate the applicability of the creative ideas developed by the students and incorporate them into a real business.
“I invited the guests to the class so that the students would feel more responsibility about their applications and their presentations. If the presentations just end within the class with only the students, an idea will only be left as an idea. But when guests, who work in the field the application will be applied in, come to observe and give students a business opportunity, students will be more encouraged and excited about what they are doing,” said Min, eagerly trying to deliver his intentions. The professor is a leading English educator in Korea who has published several books and taught on educational TV programs.
With a number of new faces in the class, the students seemed a bit nervous at first but quickly adapted to the environment and made their presentations rather confidently.
“With our SMETRO (Smart Metro) application, people will be able to use the metro more efficiently. The application will provide information such as which compartment is empty so that you can avoid crowded ones. The application also will have an alarm destination function which will wake you up before your stop if you set it before you take a nap,” said Hong Sung-eun, the presenter for the SMETRO group.
“We will provide the application for free to all users but the functions will be limited. Only some features will be available for use. If they want to use all of the features, they will have to buy it. It will cost them $0.99.”
Students were not only presenting ideas but specific business strategies to put applications into use.
“I think the application is very practical and will be well received by the public if we develop it for real use. I’m very impressed,” said Lee Mi-hyang, an application developer who was observing the class.
Another group created an application for medical usage where users can communicate with their doctors and consult them about their symptoms.
“Users will be able to send messages to the doctors through the application when they’re in an emergency. They can also talk to other users through a multi-communication channel and receive information. The application will provide location information about hospitals and consultation hours of doctors and their fields of treatment. It will also provide evaluations on hospitals by consumers,” said Jang Seok-beom, leader and presenter for group Creative G4.
“Your ideas need some specification and polishing. I hope you can adopt a more objective way of evaluating hospitals instead of gathering opinions from just the users. But I’m still very impressed by the presentation,” Eugene Kim, a PR team manager for Konkuk University Medical Center, said to the group.
The students’ applications were all designed to serve the public interest. Prof. Min plans to expand this into creating applications for disaster relief.
“Ultimately, I believe that applications must be developed for disaster relief _ to prevent natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and tsunamis, and help people like those who have a sudden heart attack. If these applications are developed, I believe they can save many lives,” said Min.