Collaboration is one of the most effective ways to learn and generate new insights on topics of interest. Unfortunately, there is a clear decline in human interaction and active engagement in the virtual classroom today in the post-COVID era. Inspired by a dream to connect learners and educators once again, CardShark aims to bridge that gap with flashcards and a platform for peer-to-peer collaboration.

What it does

CardShark is a community-driven flashcard making and discussion platform. Educators can create categories related to a specific topic, where students can contribute category-specific flashcards (questions + answers). Other students can view these flashcards and contribute new answers to them if they see fit. There is also a feedback system for users to vote (thumbs up/thumbs down) answers depending on how helpful and accurate it is to the question on the flashcard!

We see institutions and educators using this as a tool to encourage and inspire collaboration among their students. Putting learning into the learners' hands, learners can utilize the different viewpoints from different contributors to generate new insights, accelerating their learning in a refreshing manner.

How we built it

Our MVP is created using React.js and a Firebase firestore. The prototype is created on Figma.

Challenges we ran into

Technical challenges include:

  • Creating an intuitive database design that makes querying the data on React.js as straightforward as possible. Challenges on the project idea:
  • Finding out the best mechanism for feedback on flashcards. Apart from voting for flashcard answers, we wanted other features like leaving comments on answers. It was tricky thinking of a good UI/UX flow to integrate these features into our app, as we did not want to jeopardize the app's usability and simplicity.
  • Having duplicate flashcard questions and answers is inevitable. Finding a good way to deal with that in a tidy manner is tricky. This is left out as a future improvement.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • Creating an awesome-looking prototype on Figma with a MVP (with basic features) over a day and a half!
  • Finding a good solution to merge the good parts of CardShark's existing competitors (usability of Quizlet, community factor of Piazza) and overcome their shortcomings (heavy reliance on educator for Quizlet, unintuitive UI of Piazza).

What we learned

  • We have learned how to use Figma to make a professional looking prototype in a short time.
  • Understand in detail the prominent student and educator issues that are created due to virtual delivery of education.
  • What online learning tools are available out there, their functions and their shortcomings.

What's next for Card Shark project

  • Synchronized resource systems:
    • Integration with existing course management platforms like Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard Learn
  • Accessibility:

    • Mobile compatibility
    • Multilingual functionality (ability to translate content into other languages, ability to contribute in languages other than English)
    • Text-to-speech functionality
  • Community building:

    • Ability for international collaboration between different institutions

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