We wanted to create something that made collaborating and understanding homework easier for our high school. Instead of being something that just shows you your peers' answers, we wanted to create something that shows you their solutions. Stack Exchange does an amazing job of this, but the homework extension has since been deprecated, with no other alternative, we took to the plate. We wanted to include the aspects of what made a system like Stack Overflow so great, and put our own twist on it, with a simple design, and an easy to use, hard to mess up on interface. We designed it as such so that all grade levels can use it, regardless of proficiency when using a computer, so that the user can focus on what matters, which is understanding their homework.
What it does
Differentiates between questions and answers in the four core subjects (Math, Science, English, and Social Studies ) and further subcategories facilitated by tags. Employs a user friendly interface that has nothing more than what you need, and is fully functional. Your questions are organized on your account, and people can answer them accordingly. Each user has a score which is the number of upvotes on their questions and answers combined (this is framework for a later to be implemented credibility system). Simple. Clean. Efficient.
How we built it
The front end is built with jade on top of bootstrap, that pulls from a node.js express framework backend. We chose this because it is a fast and effective way of manipulating content, to ensure the best user experience.
Challenges we ran into
Getting a working feed of content! Node.js express is a lightweight yet intricate platform with which to build web applications. There was a lot of debugging to be done when implementing the back-end of the server into the front-end. We both made mistakes on our end, and had to work them out to create a functional link.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Our logo! It coincides with our design simplicity! But most of all, the stream of question cards that we have on the site which came with a slew of implementation bugs that we had to work out together.
What we learned
Being a first time front-end web developer, personally I learned a substantial amount about bootstrap, java script, and jade. These are platforms and languages I learned at the hackathon this weekend, and am proud of what I had put together. My partner Ariston, being more experienced with back-end development had an interesting time learning about how to implement sub-domains, allowing for simpler navigation around the website (beneficial to both the front-end and back-end of HW Overflow).
What's next for HW Overflow
We hope to continue working on HW Overflow for the rest of year in the hopes of releasing it to our school's student body in September. We want to integrate more useful features, such as comments to answers as well as a whiteboard that all students can contribute to and work on for a specific question. Hopefully by then we can expand outreach to other schools and effectively create a community of K-12 students helping each other with their homework!