What problem are you solving?
Massive open online course (MOOC) provides users with easy access and low cost to
take class and learn knowledge. However, in our experience we have found very few
people actually finish one single course. Part of reason is the little commitment and
responsibility compared to the traditional class. So we propose a new MOOC platform,
Promisedu, providing users with the power to enforce the commitment to learn and finish
an online course by using a charging and rewarding system.
Tell us about your solution?
In order to solve this problem we needed to consider individuals’ motivations and
where they falter. We weighed the possibility of whether people gave up personal goals
due to laziness, distraction, or dwindling motivation. Ultimately we arrived at the
conclusion that it was a combination of these three factors. Many people lead hectic
lifestyles and trying to add another “optional” task to an already full schedule. We
realized that in order for people to treat online course with the same seriousness as
traditional school we needed to remove the mindset of the online course being optional.
The new pursuit needs to be viewed as necessary. This is achievable through
reinforcing positive progress towards your goals with one of the most effective
motivational stimuli, money.
To register a class, the user decides the difficult level and class schedule by
themselves. Next, they would then determine how much money they would like to
commit to finish the class. Once registered, the class will have a twenty-four hour
alteration and cancellation period. Following this period the amount of money pledged by
the user will be charged to their account if they fail to stick to the schedule or fail the test.
If the user is successful the account is never charged, and they even could get some
rewards based on how much deposit they have paid and how many other people have
failed (how much money in our pool).
We believe this is an effective solution to dwindling motivation because the fear of
losing money actively promotes the user to diligently assess their progress. We know this
motivation, in combination with the desire to earn money, will push users to fulfill their
Who are your customers and or end users?
This particular system is directed towards individuals who are serious about taking
an online course. It is applicable to all ages, but particularly to the college students and
young workers who are eager to improve themselves, but worried about their
determination. The ability for the user to specify the amount of money they wish to invest
in themselves opens this app to an even wider range of people.
What is your value proposition to customers?
Our app provides our users with the best motivational tool they can use to
directly improve their change of finishing an online course.
According to class-central.com, the current average completion rate for MOOCs is
approximately 15%. It’s highly possible that we could improve the rate by a large amount
Our application solves these problems by creating a contract with the user to remain
committed to meeting their goals. The user’s fear of losing their deposit and the idea of
making money while actively improving themselves creates a unique opportunity for
Where other applications try to present the quickest and easiest path
to self-improvement, we know hard work, time, and the correct kind of motivation are the
only realistic ways of obtaining one’s goals.
Our team consists of one sophomore and two seniors. We are Computer Science
majors, and I am double majoring in Mandarin. Both of us have experience building
several Android and IOS applications including a location based restaurant deal finder
and a live port authority bus tracker. We have worked together on projects in the past and
look enjoyed building this application.
Do you think this project could be a startup?
It’s highly possible that we could turn this project to a startup. The application by its
nature provides a certain stream of revenue and educating our potential users would not
be expensive. The biggest challenge would be the course resources. But we could
negotiate the licensing with the established MOOC platform or even turn to the
If the application developed into a company I would oversee the product design and
user experience. These responsibilities would consist of managing design schedules and
interpreting user feedback. My partner would be responsible for handling scaling
solutions and hiring new members. I believe the strong understanding of mobile
development my partner and I have acquired over the past three years will allow us to
create both a beautiful and easy to use application that can play a pivotal role in
improving people’s lives.