Student wins app contest with ‘Lightpath’

Bharath Lavendra

UT student Anisha Srivastava took first place in a coding competition for creating an application to provide students with a new way to review academic concepts. 

Srivastava, a business honors, Plan II and management information systems junior, created Lightpath, an app which will allow students to efficiently summarize concepts as they learn. Srivastava said she designed the app to record students’ “lightbulb moments,” or moments when they understand a topic and want to reference them later.

“When you’re learning and a concept clicks, I call those lightbulb moments,” Srivastava said. “Those moments are really precious for your learning, and they need to be preserved. As you go through your course, you record these lightbulb moments, and at the end of the course you have a ‘lightpath’ through the course which will help you with future material.”

Srivastava created the app for the Pearson Student Coding Contest last fall, but Pearson has yet to determine if they will develop or market the app. Srivastava said she initially had the idea while taking a gap semester to complete a computer engineering course at the Iron Yard, an intensive code school located in Austin.

“In three months, [the Iron Yard] tries to get you almost 60 percent of the way to becoming a [junior-level] developer,” Srivastava said. “It was an information overload, and that’s when I had the idea of lightbulb moments. When a concept clicked for me in programming, I had to preserve that so that I could access it more efficiently when it came up again.”

Natural sciences freshman Nikita Gupta said she sees the benefits in Lightpath but is skeptical of whether students would actually use it. 

“I don’t think students would be looking far enough ahead to see that this process would be beneficial to them, especially since a lot of people only cram for tests,” Gupta said. “But I can see it creating a great reservoir of knowledge for upper level classes.”

Chemical engineering freshman Kishan Ramachandran said he sees this app changing how students are initally taught.

“I think if this process was implemented early on in a student’s education, students would be more apt to use it in college,” Ramachandran said. “If we each recorded our own moments when something made sense, professors wouldn’t have to spend the beginning of each semester reteaching concepts that students might have forgotten.”