First off, your course sounds cool, very cool. I had a few like that in college where we created software programs and business plans, only to have some mean venture capitalists shatter our dreams. Gives a good preview of the real world, no?
Basically, what you're thinking about is the iPhone equivalent of Basecamp, and to a lesser extent, Trac (essentially project management software). I think it's useful but the key is to have this app available everywhere, not just iPhone. Have your product built specifically for the Internet and center around that. Then, develop an iPhone port version that conforms to certain iPhone conventions. The inherent problem is if you have this application only available on one platform, it's really useless in the end. Anything you build on the Internet is accessible, but not the other way around for the iPhone obviously because not everyone will have one although folks in the age 18-30 region are likely to have one. Lastly, I don't think your app reduces, let alone eliminates the prospect of any communication received too late or not at all. So, obviously, having simultaneous newsfeeds through email, phone, and text will be crucial to your design or otherwise, it's not that great of an idea.
What I do see the app better for is working professionals, especially with developers. For example, I know that I like keeping tabs on my development team and I want to know everything they update to the system, down to every bit of line of code. So, while this app has good purpose for college students that have to do a great deal of group collaboration (especially in the upper-class courses), it has better use for professionals who need up-to-the-minute updates on the go.
Hope that helped. I know most of what I brought up has to do with design and less on marketing, but I hope you find it useful. Good luck.