Bespoke Web Apps that improve the student experience

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Two bespoke web applications have been used to enhance student experience and reduce staff admin workloads within the School of Life Sciences.A full showcase of their functionality was presented (recorded live) at the University of Liverpool's 2019 Learning and Teaching Conference.

The apps are:

1) Automated Project Allocation. The task of allocating relevant projects to over 400 final year Life Science students is non-trivial. Previously, this task has been completed manually - a time consuming and highly subjective process involving a large team of academic staff. A new, fully automated, process has been implemented via a standalone web application. The application facilitates the submission of project proposals from staff and allows students to specify their project preferences. An algorithm is then use to automatically allocate projects in a way that optimally matches the submitted preferences of the student cohort. The application allows a single member of staff to perform an allocation in seconds - a process that previously has taken a team of 5 staff several days. Following this year's allocation, 80% of students were allocated a project area based on their first or second preference.

2) Biological Sciences Module Choices. The Biological Sciences programme (C100) offers a fantastic diversity of module choices to its students. However, choosing modules across consecutive years while satisfying prerequisites can be complicated for students. Furthermore, rare or unusual module choice combinations increase the likelihood of timetable clashes. A standalone web app ( has been developed to assist students in making valid module choices. The app allows students to design their programme over their full degree and prohibits module choices in subsequent years that are not satisfied by prerequisite module requirements of previous years. The app consolidates module information, available across multiple site pages, into a single page making it highly accessible and easy to understand. The app also uses historical module choice data, from over 1000 Life Students, to deliver an Amazon inspired 'students who chose this module also chose this', to inform and guide students. Both apps are described above are readily scalable to other programmes at the University of Liverpool.


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