New App Connects Students and Tutors

Winners of world’s largest education hackathon launch app on Google Play and App Store

An image of Scholarly creators Sultan Khan (left) and Haasith Sanka

Scholarly creators Sultan Khan (left) and Haasith Sanka.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Are you struggling at school, or hoping to master a new skill? Perhaps you’d like to earn some extra money as a tutor? An app created by two computer science students at the University of California, Riverside might be just what you need. Sultan Khan and Haasith Sanka’s ‘Scholarly’ app won first place at the world’s largest education Hackathon in October. It is now available as a free download on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Described by Khan and Sanka as ‘The Uber for Tutors,’ Scholarly is an on-demand tutoring service that connects students with nearby tutors. The service is simple: tutors create profiles, which can be viewed by students looking for help in a particular subject. Users can view tutor profiles, set meeting locations, and get help with their studies at the click of a button. Most of the app’s current activity is generated by the UCR community, but the creators plan to grow their tutor network and expand the service to K-12 students and their parents in the coming months.

An image of screen shots of the Scholarly app.

Screen shots of the Scholarly app.

The team developed the android version of Scholarly at HackingEDU, which was held in San Mateo, Calif., in October and drew more than 1,000 hackers from universities around the world. The competition challenged students to turn their ideas into functional software that would improve the education system—and they had just 36 hours to do it.

For Khan and Sanka, that meant working through the night to create their app. After placing in the top 10, the Highlanders were invited to present Scholarly to a panel of judges, which landed them in first place. Khan, a senior in UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering, said courses in software engineering and technical writing prepared them to develop professional software and pitch it to a wide audience. Since winning the competition, the students have been working to improve the android app and create the iOS version.

“One of the challenges about developing apps is that even when you’ve done a good job there is always room for improvement. That’s one of the things I love about creating apps and the reason I want to work in the field of software development when I graduate,” said Khan, who has won several national hackathons with his peers at UCR.

For Sanka, a freshman, the reward will be seeing how the app helps other students.

“We both believe that one-on-one tutoring is beneficial, so we are proud to have created something that will contribute to students’ success,” he said.

Khan and Sanka developed the iOS version of the app with Amanda Berryhill, a senior in computer science.

View the app on Google Play and the App Store. View a video about Scholarly here.

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