The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everybody in one way or another. Many have lost their jobs, or have started working from home. In Ontario, Canada, students all across the province have gone through months of quarantine, where they were forced to learn from home. This drastic change was grueling for all, and drastically affected the learning of every individual. Many people struggled with the adjustment since there aren’t many free online tools that can help students teach themselves in the case when staring at a Google Meet just isn't enough. That’s exactly where Courseify comes in, it brings a whole new level of online learning by automatically generating crash courses by keyword.

Courseify isn’t just a platform strictly used for distance learning. It’s meant to make every day learning more effective. Most students tend to forget the content found in videos and lessons they have watched. With Courseify’s novel method of watching educational videos, it allows for students to more thoroughly compound on the content that is given to them. The best way to learn is to do, and we capitalize on this very theory.

❓What it does:

  • Courseify strives to improve students' learning by creating a platform where they can have access to both instructional materials as well as a wide range of other practice questions and other practice material for a topic of their choice. Through scraping the internet Courseify finds the perfect set of materials and amalgamates everything to semantically generate a crash course.

🏗️How we Built it:

Frontend: The frontend was designed in Adobe XD and Illustrator, and then built using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, with bootstrap as our fundamental library. The use of React and other frontend frameworks was considered, although for this use case, and the time we had, the use was overlooked

Backend: Through the use of a web scraping API we were able to collect a slew of data such as relevant videos, practice questions, and other material that is beneficial to the user. This web scraping API was then connected to the frontend using Node.JS and Express.JS.

Logo: The logo was made using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Pitch Video: The video was edited using Final Cut Pro and Adobe After Effects.

🚧Challenges we ran into:

  • Throughout the process of creating Courseify, we ran into many challenges which inevitably lost us time on our build. Although conceptualizing an idea took long enough, hurdles along the way also made it more difficult to complete our submission. For one, this was the first time we had used Node.JS and Express to link the frontend and the backend. In addition to this, the Youtube API that our project was centered around, didn’t allow us to access the relevant data that we needed. So we had to extrapolate, instead, we used a web scraping API, which fetched blurry images and mounds of data that had to be programmatically sifted through. We thank the mentors at UottaHack for assisting us in this project.

Building a product with technologies so foreign to us in such a small time frame really constricted our vision. We tried to cram in as much detail as programmatically possible and refine all the kinks in our platform

✅Accomplishments we’re proud of:

  • Overall, completing Courseify was a huge accomplishment on its own. After the countless hours of work we put in, we were glad to see the outcome had finished the way it did. We’re happy that we could navigate around the inability to use the Youtube API without deprecating the entire project. The project was built around the aforementioned API, which couldn’t serve its purpose. With such a glaring issue, we’re proud to have devised a solution to work around it with minimal effect, and perhaps even a benefit to our platform.

🙋‍♂️What we learned:

  • In working dynamically with a team, we better learned how to use git and version control. In addition, we also became more fluent in Node.JS and Express.JS. Lastly, since we did not use any frontend frameworks like React.JS and Next.JS, which otherwise handle much of the work for you, we learned the fundamentals of communicating between the backend and the frontend without such frameworks to assist you.

💭What’s next for Courseify:

  • We don’t like to constrict projects and have them wither away in our repository. As students ourselves, we see the potential for such a platform and how it could solve learning issues for many people studying remotely. We hope to bring increased support for other subjects, like adding Tensorflow and GraphQL ML algorithms to better sift through data and provide more relevant questions for the user. In addition, we hope to create a more developed user interface and questions from a wider range of websites and resources.

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