As students, we have found that many of our learning experience over the last few years have shifted from a strict curriculum with one teacher to more collaborative, student led, and open ended spaces. While there is a wealth of research showing the benefits of this type of shift in education, we realized that it is still very disorganized. For example, you might show up to a club or a class and the leader or teacher might ask you, "what do you want to learn this semester?" It is a difficult and on the spot question. This shift has also caused us to consider that this shift may lead to people taking education into their own hands. This could be in the form of groups of students coming together to start a course about a mutual interest. They can share the teaching, organization, and resource gathering. This will therefore promote tight knit communities of learners. Therefore, we wanted to create a product that will help all of these groups get started and get organized. We want everyone opinions heard, we want consensus views, and we want the process to be as simple and streamlined as possible.
What it does
This application allows users to form a class. Once a class is formed, students can join, discuss in a forum, and volunteer topics that they want to cover during the course. Students can vote on which topics they find interesting and want to be included in the course. Additionally, we provide ways for students to discover courses even if they are not in personal contact with the people who created it. This includes searching by topic and an explore page that allows users to see popular and new courses. There is a start date for the course, so once students figure out how they are going to organize, what they are going to cover, and what tools they + resources they will use in the process, they can officially start the course.
How we built it
We used React.js and Material-UI for the front end, Express.js for the back end, MongoDB for the database, and Json Web Tokens for user authentication.
Challenges we ran into
We ran into a bunch of trouble with authentication. It now works, but I would definitely take a more thorough look into it before a production level deployment. Additionally, it was most of our teammates first time using these technologies. Therefore, we had a slow start in terms of development, but picked up speed later in the hackathon.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud to have a working product in a state that could already provide tremendous value to users. Additionally, we are proud to see a clear way forward for what to do next. We believe this product can bring many people together around a positive goal.
What we learned
We learned a lot about working as a team in development, integrating technology, and execution after brainstorming ideas.
What's next for Educ8
We want to provide many more features to the application. We believe that the barrier to bring people together through education should be as low as possible. Therefore, we seek to make the product dead simple to use, make it more secure, and offer many more organizational tools to help our grounds get off the ground running.