App first developed at Swinburne receives international recognition

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Professor Dan Hunter and Dr Grainne Oates sit on a a park bench looking at an a phone

L-R: Professor Dan Hunter and Dr Grainne Oates

In summary

  • Quitch is an educational app using gamification principles to engage students in their university subjects
  • It was developed by Swinburne’s Dr Grainne Oates and Professor Dan Hunter
  • The app has been awarded a 90 day residency at the Singapore Landing Pad

A mobile app first developed at Swinburne has given Dr Grainne Oates and Professor Dan Hunter from the Faculty of Business and Law the opportunity to spend time in Singapore, getting Quitch ready for global use.

Quitch is an educational app that uses gamification principles and interactivity to connect students with their lecturers and engage them in their university subjects.

After successfully securing a residency at a Landing Pad, a start-up initiative funded by the Australian Government, Dr Oates and Professor Hunter will have a short-term operational base in the heart of Singapore.

During this time they will benefit from an extensive network of global contacts and tailored business development assistance. 

From Swinburne to Singapore

Back in 2015, knowing it would be a struggle to retain the focus of the 1500 students undertaking a first-year core accounting unit, Dr Oates was determined to connect with her students.

With the help of a Swinburne graduate, Dr Oates developed the first version of the mobile app. Forty-seven students took part in the trial of the app and early results showed strong engagement from the students, with three quarters using the app regularly.

“At this stage, the app involved a daily push notification being sent to the students’ phone, where they were asked one multiple choice question,” Dr Oates says.

“The question was aligned directly with the material taught in lectures.

“It was encouraging to see this technology have cut-through with the students.” 

Helpful for students, helpful for teachers

Within the first year of Quitch trials commencing at Swinburne, teachers from all three faculties at Swinburne were using the app.

“Quitch is a powerful combination of motivation, action and feedback,” Professor Hunter says.

“By applying gamification principles we have seen a 12 per cent improvement in student retention and a seven per cent improvement in student performance.”

Not only does the app engage students and improve their grades, it also provides the teacher an indication of how their students are tracking.

“The app has been designed to provide teachers with back-end analytics, giving the lecturer a measure on how students are going with the subject, and also what areas of a subject may need more focus,” Professor Hunter says.

Next steps for Quitch

Quitch was initially set up with $50,000 in funding from Swinburne and $350,000 of private investment.

In 2016, the company was spun out and began selling commercial licences to other universities, including the University of Melbourne and the University of Adelaide.

Looking ahead, there are plans to continue developing the app to cater for schools and corporate training.

“We have been incredibly lucky with all the support that Swinburne has shown us,” says Dr Oates.

“But the thing that we’re proudest of is that our first employees are all Swinburne graduates. And more than this, building this startup at Swinburne has meant that we’ve been able to help Swinburne students get jobs at four businesses that we’ve been working with, including our digital design agency and our lawyers.”

The international success of Quitch continues, with Dr Oates pitching Quitch at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas on Monday 13 March.