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Duke FixIt Rolls Out This Fall

Say goodbye to the hassle of campus service requests—Duke FixIt, created by Duke students, is launching this fall.

Duke FixIt is a one-stop shop for placing service request tickets with various Duke offices. Designed by Duke’s Code+ students during summer 2022, Duke FixIt creates an online hub that directs members of the Duke community where they need to go to report a specific issue.

Code+ is an intensive 10-week summer coding program for students with little to no coding experience. Students are coached by IT professionals and tasked to create products like Duke FixIt that have real-world applications. The Duke FixIt team — Emma Fleischman, ‘25, Esha Kapoor, ‘25, Angel Mcharo, ‘23, Haojin Li, ‘25, Jennifer Xu, ’25 — joined forces to tackle a shared problem.

Reporting issues from around campus such as ants in a building, a broken laptop, or a leaky faucet required users to scour through many different websites, which led to frustration and a student-led Facebook group to log and track issues.

The Code+ team collaborated with the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and team lead Sheri Tibbs, a software developer/data analyst, to transform the concept of Duke FixIt into a reality.

“Our team spent two weeks investigating,” said Li, who became the project’s de facto student leader. “We went to a lot of departments on campus —Housing, DukeCard, Dining, and Student Affairs -- to figure out what they needed [from DukeFixIt].”

“It was very challenging at the start, but we got to learn together, do things together, and it turned out very well,” Li said. The Code+ team learned Ruby on Rails, an application framework which the students knew little about.

“They took Rails classes. They had no knowledge of it, so they started out really fresh,” Tibbs said. “This was all very new to them, so it’s really a remarkable accomplishment. I was there mostly to advise, direct, and make sure they know our standard operating procedures.”

All team members had a role to play in creating Duke FixIt. For Emma Fleischman, the team’s extrovert, a large part of her role turned out to be asking the right questions.

“It’s easy when someone talks about something you don’t understand to just smile and nod,” Fleischman said. “I loved interrupting [team discussions] and asking, ‘can you explain this a little further?’ People with a lot of technical skill tend to glaze over the important details that other people might not understand.”

Tibbs said Fleischman’s honesty and openness were refreshing.

“It was a remarkable asset to the team to have someone there who wasn’t going to fake it, who needed to understand things, which was super refreshing,” Tibbs said.

Fleischman’s approach contributed to the design of Duke FixIt’s front-end, which helped team member Jennifer Xu make the front page accessible and easy to understand for many different types of users.

As a result of the Code+ team’s hard work, and after six rounds of usability testing, submitting service request tickets, checking their status, and seeing your ticket history is now possible with just a few clicks. Duke FixIt is scheduled for a soft launch this Fall.

“I’m really interested in and passionate about this stuff,” Li said. “I find it fascinating and inspiring that the code I've developed can help people on campus.”