HouseKey gives administrators a tool to efficiently and effectively ensure their connection with the student population.
Many people can remember arriving at Harvard as a freshman, not knowing a single face on campus, and yet their freshman proctor knew their name and made them feel at home.
House administrators spend significant time learning names.
House administrators all have their own methods to track student check-ins.
HouseKey makes it easy and fun for House administration to connect with the student community in two ways: first, it allows House administration to learn names and info of students; second, it facilitates consistent check-in meetings with students and allows for secure note-taking during these check-ins.
Gamified Student Names
House academic deans are responsible for learning each student’s name (a total of over 400 students, most of the time!) along with their basic information. House tutors (in-house resident proctors) are responsible for learning names and information of students in their entryway (about 30 students). Each house administrator had a different way of learning these names: Brigitte, pictured above, cut out names and glued them to flashcards, and she keeps check-in notes on these flashcards as well. Other house administrators studied a printed out “face-book.”
HouseKey gamifies this process, making it simpler and quicker for House administrators to put names to a face.
House academic deans are responsible for keeping tabs on students’ academic and general wellbeing. Each house dean has a different system for taking notes and keeping track of check-ins.
HouseKey streamlines this by keeping a general student profile for each student, with the ability to add check-in notes and tags to sort students by.
All information is securely encrypted, a critical feature since the information handled within the app is confidential.
The app keeps a list of the students as well as a comprehensive search feature. The user could search name, nickname, concentration, or perhaps even a keyword from a check-in note.
The app also has advanced filtering tools. For example, the user could filter by “starred” students — one that the user “stars” during the game as someone the user doesn’t recognize.
HouseKey is a product I worked on in CS 179: Design of Useful and Usable Systems at Harvard, beginning from the need-finding process all the way through developing the app. I worked with Nick Merrill, Kunho Kim, and Christopher Mosch on this project. I ultimately became a teaching fellow for the course the following year.