Mentoring in Rice Apps OSA

Posted by Quang Nguyen on 2021-08-09
Estimated Reading Time 2 Minutes
Words 445 In Total

I have signed up to be the mentor of Hatch project (course scheduler for Rice students) in the summer. This is a very memorable experience of my time at Rice University

Our task

Each team will have 2 mentors and 4 mentees and will be assigned a project to work on. Our task was to do a 4-year degree planner for each student in the current course scheduler. It was the first time that I was assigned such a big task. The mentors’ job is to help the mentees understand the the basic concepts of the tech stack we were using (MERN GraphQL) in the first 4 weeks and finish the main task in the rest 6 weeks

Teaching basic concepts

Our mentees didn’t have many experience related to the task so it was challenging for us to introduce a bunch of new stack to them. We ended up using these methods to help the mentees familiarize with the materials

  1. Opened a live share session in Visual Studio Code
  2. Introduced many practice and sub-problems before doing the main task
  3. Combined teaching both frontend and backend
  4. Hosted office hours to resolve questions

Applying these methods, we were able to introduce the concepts efficiently to the mentees. After 5 weeks, we have introduced the basics of the MERN stack with GraphQL. We included some practice problems such as building Todo List, Weather App, Books recommendation


Unfortunately, midway through the project, one of our mentees cannot continue with the program. We were left with a large amount of work for just 3 mentees.

Furthermore, we faced a lot of technical challenges:

  1. We could only search for sessions in 2 semesters Fall 2022 and Spring 2021
  2. The custom course function was difficult to implement in both front and back end
  3. The design of each semester box is quite complex

Final Stage

In order to tackle the problem, in the last 4 weeks, we switched to Agile-Scrum method. We would have a scrum session of 1 hour to resolve the questions from last sprint and set up the goals for next spring. And, we would host two 2-hour sessions of sprinting to accomplish as much as possible.

Using this way, we were able to complete many functions for the project effectively. We divided into 2 branches frontend and backend and tried to continuously review the pull requests and merge production-ready codes.

Our final project was very impressive and received a lot of positive reviews. Here is the link to our presentation: Link


I learned a lot of new things and gained many new skills through this experience. I hope you enjoy the post.

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