Computer Science departments at Hope and Calvin collaborate to develop trivia app

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Trivia app site is result of rivalry school collaboration

In an unprecedented move toward peace, computer science students and faculty at both Calvin and Hope College are collaborating on the creation of a new trivia game.

Senior Carson Wiens, junior Tyler Luce and professor Victor Norman of Calvin College have been working with professor Ryan McFall and three computer science students from Hope College to develop a trivia app.

The app, called “Trivalry,” is a game people can play during halftime of the Calvin-Hope basketball game on Feb. 20. Questions will appear on the main screen in the fieldhouse, and those who registered on the website, trivia.calvinhope.com, will be able to answer questions about the two teams.

When discussing the origins of the app, Norman told Chimes “[McFall] and I usually go to the same computer education conferences. A bunch of Christian liberal arts professors get together for lunch at these conferences, so [McFall] and I had gotten to know each other. … And I thought, we both want to promote computer science at our schools, so why don’t we leverage the rivalry?”

While the app itself was Norman’s idea, credit for getting students involved in its development belongs to McFall. Both he and Norman began recruiting students at their respective schools, and development on the app began in early September 2015.

“It’s been great, especially working with Professor McFall,” said Wiens of the collaboration. “Hope as an institution is teaching different things than Calvin.

Professor McFall teaches a website development class, which we don’t have here. It’s been fun to learn new stuff from him.”

Though the cooperation has been friendly, the app leverages the competition inherent to the rivalry. When registering for the app, fans will select which of the two schools they attended or currently attend. As people answer questions, Trivalry will keep track of the number of correct and incorrect answers people choose. After the final question, the app will calculate the percentage of correct answers each school chose; the school with the highest percentage wins.

Questions revolve around the storied basketball rivalry between the two schools, which spans 96 and 49 years for the men’s and women’s teams, respectively.

The Feb. 20 game will not be the first time the app is unveiled. Norman, McFall and the students conducted a trial run during halftime at the Jan. 27 game. They believe roughly 100 people participated. Unfortunately, Calvin’s fanbase suffered a double-defeat that day, in basketball and on Trivalry.

Both Norman and Wiens are hoping to turn the tables on Feb. 20.

In order for Calvin to win, both current Calvin students and alumni will need to register online. The process is simple: search trivia.calvinhop.com, select “Join Calvin Team” and enter your name, email address and affiliation with the college.

Emails will be used for in-game statistical purposes only. The creators of the app will not contact the player nor distribute his or her email.

People can register on their computer or their smartphone. However, if the participant wants to play during the game, it is faster to register using a smartphone; when one registers, he or she is registering the device, not creating an account.

Once registered, it is just a matter of waiting until halftime on Feb. 20.

Norman is currently trying to make it so the app will project via satellite. That way, fans around the world would be able to play as well. As of Wednesday, this has not happened.

After the upcoming game, the app’s future is uncertain. There are no current plans to continue using it every year, but Norman has not ruled out the possibility.

“It’s been really fun, for me, to collaborate with Hope,” Norman said of the experience. “It’s nice instead of the rivalry.”