The COVID-19 pandemic has affected educational systems worldwide, leading to the near-total closures of schools, universities and colleges. Most governments around the world have temporarily closed educational institutions in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As of 30 September 2020, approximately 1.077 billion learners are currently affected due to school closures in response to the pandemic. According to UNICEF monitoring, 53 countries are currently implementing nationwide closures and 27 are implementing local closures, impacting about 61.6 percent of the world's student population. 72 countries' schools are currently open.

data Statista, Niall McCarthy (2020). COVID-19's Staggering Impact On Global Education

A crucial aspect of schoolwork that's missing due to the pandemic is group studying. Effective study groups can help students learn course material in a deeper, more concrete way. Solving challenging problems together allow students to tackle their courseload better and view the material from various different perspectives. Due to the pandemic, it is difficult to tackle problems and compare answers with each other as efficiently.

That's where EduSource looks to provide an effective solution.

What it does

There are two specific features that EduSource specializes in:

Crowdsourcing answers

EduSource allows users to subscribe to courses in their universities, create Problem Sets that include difficult problems from past assignments, quizzes and exams, and invite other students to collaborate with them in solving those Problem Sets. By allowing students to add their own answers, or award a Kudos to other answers that match theirs, EduSource provides a platform where students can verify their solutions with others. The number of Kudos an answer has represents its reliability.

Scientific Equation Recognition

Using EduSource, students may also upload pictures of their handwritten notes and obtain a list of scientific equations in their notes with detailed descriptions. This is extremely useful for math/science students who deal with countless formulae and equations and will allow them to better understand the relationship between all the different identities.

How I built it

The web application is built using Flask in Python, along with HTML and CSS for markup and styling. Flask SQLAlchemy is used as a database to store information about Users, Problem Sets, Questions and Answers. The Equation Tool is built using the Google Cloud Vision Client Library for Python. This is done by implementing OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to identify equations.

Challenges I ran into

This is one of the first few websites I have built. The most challenging part was visualizing all the database components and their relationships with each other.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of and what I learned

As a non-web developer and the sole contributor to this project, I am glad that I could produce a finished product. This experience allowed me to get a better grasp on HTML, CSS and database management. I'm happy to think that this application may help someone someday in this pandemic.

What's next for EduSource

There are several features I would like to add to EduSource:

  • Video call group studies
  • Support for LaTeX
  • Incorporate AI-based math and science problem solving solving APIs

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