The Plant's App idea: ApareciUM!

We are thrilled to announce that a collab between The Plant and members of the FASoS Student Reps is one of the three finalists in EDLAB’s AppChallenge! Our idea is simple: an AI-powered chatbot to help students retrieve crucial but often ‘hidden’ information about their curriculum, the UM, or simply about a course. Our suggested app is called ApareciUM, after the ‘revealing charm’ used in the Harry Potter book series to force invisible ink or other hidden messages to appear!

The App: 

The basic idea behind the app is that many students find it hard to locate and retrieve information relevant to their studies and well-being (e.g., due to multiple and often non-user-friendly platforms, or information systems that require users to search top-down rather than bottom-up). At the same time, staff highlighted that they often have to respond to repetitive queries about deadlines, evaluation criteria, homework assignments, and other teaching and learning tasks, that are already included in course syllabi and Canvas.

ApareciUM will leverage the capabilities of an on-premises open-source Large Language Model (Llama 2) to provide meaningful responses to student queries about courses, curricula, student services and more, reducing the need for manual searches and improving overall efficiency for both students and academic and/or support staff. 

A compass, not an oracle:

The main goal of the app is to help students find the information they need by pointing them in the right direction and providing the right information where possible. That means that–in line with PBL principles of the UM–the app should function as a compass in the ‘information jungle’, rather than as an all-knowing oracle. 

Our mock-up app:

Wanna help? Your input would be greatly appreciated!

We are currently developing a clickable, low-fidelity prototype of the app. All input is welcome! Therefore we are organising two user experience test sessions with envisioned end-users of the app: one with students and one with staff. We would greatly appreciate your input!

What: user experience test sessions
When (For Students):  Wednesday 15 November, from 15:30-16:30
When (For Staff): Friday 17 November, from 14:30-15:30
Where: @ The Plant (GG76, 0.10)
Please register with the form below:

Oh and one last thing…Please see us in the finals and vote!

During the finals, ApareciUM will not only be evaluated by a professional jury and Maastricht University’s rector Pamela Habibović, there will be also an audience vote! So whether ApareciUM will be a winning app, is partly dependent on your support. The final presentation will be held on 21 November, from 17:00-20:00 at EDLAB. 

Please come all and vote for us. Sign up here:

What: Final presentations
When:  Tuesday 21 November, from 17:00-20:00
Where: EDLAB (@ Tapijn)

Team Leads: Dr. Thom Frissen & Dr. Arnoud Wils (The Plant)

Student Members: Fin Gerke, Pascalle Paumen, Rafa de la Rocha, & Tho Thi (not pictured)