BI program offers students outlet to create new apps

Dec. 7, 2015

Abbie Stilman
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The Bachelor of Innovation program allows the Narrativ and Crowd Fire app creators, and many other students, to create new ideas for phone applications.

Students think of a valuable idea that they think will sell, program a prototype, get funding (such as through winning a competition), develop the app further, conduct various product tests and make sure they are being accurate, according to BI program executive Nina Polok.

Even though every app takes a different amount of time to release, they all go through this process.

“Many of these students come to school already full of great ideas to get started on,” said Polok.

Polok said she has seen numerous students team up with Colorado College students to work on their ideas. But UCCS is the first and only school to offer a Bachelor’s of Innovation.

Connor McCormick, sophomore marketing major, is one of the creators of Narrativ, a collaborative storytelling app that is expected to be released by New Year’s Eve.

McCormick is part of a three-person group that put ideas together to create this app.

“It was going to be an extension of GitHub, which is for coding documentation. That’s where we started,” McCormick said.

He said people might find it interesting to be able to have access to various versions of a story.

He said the group contemplated selling multiple stories that explore multiple scenarios. But some problems arose that changed their minds.

“One of the fundamental problems with this is that people have a very short attention span,” McCormick said.

Users can vote on the app for the story option they like the most. This way, the group will be able to see what is in demand and what is not being used.

“Then we can display that one story to the 90 percent of people who are not going to swipe away,” McCormick said.

He said people can then contribute to the chosen story.

Courses in the innovation program work differently than other programs.

Students learn to work in teams, take entrepreneurship courses and learn how to lead a team by themselves. Additionally, students are required to take one team project course per year.

“You will need to learn how to write proposals, and learn new technical skills as well as some skills that may not be required for your major,” said Gregory Stock, BI academic director.

He said the teachers are interactive with their students and try to guide them however they can.