Before you go away, let me share 2 facts with you.
People in poverty are 5 times more likely to drop out than their higher income counterparts.
The ability to earn a college degree matters because, in the United States, education is linked to future earnings.
What these two facts are showing here is a poverty trap where starting poverty leaves you at a large disadvantage in regards to ability and resources which keeps you in poverty later on as well. Additionally, impoverished students are often busy working full time in jobs or taking care of their families to barely survive in these stressful and harsh conditions which takes away time from school and gaining an education.
After some research, our team decided to create a solution using the pre-existing online courses by helping impoverished students get certifications feasibly to eventually get a higher paying employment.
⚙️ What it does
The idea is simple. Donators can jump on the website and make a donation to impoverished people who have completed an online course and received a certificate as a reward to support their families for their time spent on education. Through the app, we can directly send your fees to the student so that donators will know who and how they impacted others with their donations.
Impoverished students can complete a course on Udemy and Coursera and submit their certificate to receive cash back based on the expense and completion of a course.
After both the donators and students use this site, they are able to view their progress to encourage future donations and education. In this way, we can fund and support education for impoverished students while helping them support their families.
🔨 How we built it
For the backend, we used a language which we worked with for the first time, golang. Golang reminded us a bit of memories of php. We server side rendered some of our frontend to avoid some of our requests. We also used a firebase database to quickly store our data for free on the cloud.
💥 Challenges we ran into
There were lots of problems with heroku setup and go versioning that made it not possible to use Postgres. This killed a lot of our time during the hackathon.
Learning golang and firebase
Golang has a learning curve to it, but once you learn the language you learn to love it. Our team learned golang in the first hour of the hackathon. However, when our backend team got stuck, the frontend team had to take on the golang and had to learn it mid competition which was a bit difficult to take on last second.
🏆 Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of taking on golang and learning the new language.
We are also proud of the cool animations and the dashboard we came up with.
What we learned
We wished we practiced and refreshed on website making and languages before the hackathon. We kind of improvved it all on the spot. Also, it would be wise to research our tools and if it is possible to use them before we actually use them.
On the other hand, we did learn some new languages like golang. We also learned how to create more proper databases.
🎁 What's next for Comenius
Auto-verify new students:
To verify new students who are joining into the app, we would like to create a verification system before joining the app to confirm that a user is below a certain threshold of wealth. According to our research, the United States has several documents like a W2 tax form which can help confirm this.
Live scrape website data:
To check for price of a course based on a certificate, rather than preloading the database with course data, it would be much better to live scrape the internet to see if a course exists or run a Cron workflow that periodically scrapes the net for updated data.
By using blockchain of donation transactions from contributors to learners, we can ensure secure transactions and efficient transaction tracking with new technology.