We’re celebrating Indiana University’s student innovators and entrepreneurs who are clients of the Shoebox, the university’s student-startup incubator. Located in the Shoemaker Innovation Center in Luddy Hall on the Bloomington campus, the Shoebox provides 24/7 office space to help student entrepreneurs build and sustain their businesses.
ViLearn was founded by Fatima Rafiqui and Parumita Sachdeva. Both are candidates for a master’s degree in human-computer interaction and design at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. Both are from New Delhi, India.
ViLearn is a desktop application that reimagines virtual learning for K-12 students, creating a fun, futuristic hybrid learning model that is more engaging than traditional models and supports holistic growth.
Rafiqui said K-12 students were affected particularly hard when schools transitioned online during the COVID-19 pandemic. She determined that students found it difficult to focus on their studies, even as e-learning became the default “new normal.”
“ViLearn not only offers basic features of a learning management system and video conferencing, but we also provide features to gamify the learning experience,” Rafiqui said.
“Students can earn points by interacting with their class, completing assignments and participating in activities. Then they can use those points to build their own customized castle.”
ViLearn also provides students the tools to personalize their profile, including changing themes and adding achievement badges.
ViLearn’s present and future
Sachdeva said a significant part of ViLearn has been designed, and user testing is being conducted to determine that students enjoy the product and that it is adding value to learning platforms.
“Now that our idea is completely shaped, we are trying to get our MVP — or minimally viable product — developed and launched in order to get market feedback to understand how schools would perceive it,” Sachdeva said. “So far, we have heard only good things from students and teachers.”
Praise for the Shoebox
“We are very new to the Shoebox community, but we already have access to so many resources,” Rafiqui said. “All clients are from different backgrounds which helps us get a lot more perspective with respect to how we can think about the business strategy and engineering efforts. We believe Shoebox will provide us an opportunity to find the right connections and thrive in the market.”
Student startups can apply for 24/7 access to the Shoebox’s office space, which is located in the Shoemaker Innovation Center, Luddy Hall 2150. The Shoebox also collaborates with the Hoosier Hatchery pre-incubator at the Kelley School of Business, as well as Bloomington’s Dimension Mill startup accelerator. To apply for coworking space, write to email@example.com.