Upvote & more! New Update for Crowducate.

Vote up, Upvote

Crowducate listened to the user feedback and here’s the new update:

  • You can now upvote each course. Besides, courses are not sorted by the time they were created anymore but by the numbers of upvotes.
  • The author’s name is now shown for each course. Crowducate is not anonymous as e.g. Wikipedia. The vision is that teachers, instructors, coaches etc. can build up a reputation inside Crowducate, which is useful for them outside Crowducate.
  • The age categorization was very unpopular, so it’s gone.

To upvote, press the orange button. The number of upvotes and the author’s name are shown in the lower part of the course summary. We hope you like it. Let us know what you think in the comments section, via Twitter or email! More things to come can be seen in the roadmap post.

Image credit: Vote by alcantar214

Why we chose the GPL License for our Open Source Project

Open Source gpl License

Update 20/01/2015: We changed the license to APGL. Have a look at the comments why.  

Many developers in the open source hemisphere just want to contribute code. Reading or understanding licenses is simply annoying. They just don’t care. However, if we don’t pick any license and publish our code on GitHub, this means “nobody else may reproduce, distribute, or create derivative works from your work”. And for sure, this is NOT what we are intending.

Continue reading

Where to Find OpenCourseWare (OCW) to Teach with

If you are super motivated to create a course on Crowducate but you don’t know where to start, then this post is for you. There’s plenty of great material out there to make true open education more pleasant: From to Wikipedia to Wikiversity to OpenCourseWare in general (short: OCW). The latter is a kind of movement joined by many world-renowned universities. The idea is to put great open education online and not charging for its access. This makes education especially accessible to people from poorer families and regions. Besides, it empowers everyone to study a broader array of topics.

How do these great content sites go hand-in-hand with Crowducate?

Continue reading

Roadmap for Crowducate

Roadmap Crowducate Features

Where is Crowducate heading to?

Answer: Where ever you want it to! We received some feedback from different channels, mostly from our feedback forum, Github issues and some via emails, twitter and other forums. So, this is the roadmap (i.e., features) for the near future. I want to pick one specific email from Adam Heidebrink (@adamheid) whom I contacted after reading his article on Hybrid Pedagogy called Learning Beyond Limits: Open Source Collaboration in the Classroom. Adam’s excellent answer via email is very representative to analyze what features should be implemented next in Crowducate. Here’s an excerpt (I asked for his permission): My comments after “//” and in red.

  • “Collaborative tools – how or where can users talk about why they copied/forked a particular class? How do you support multiple users who want to work together to set up a course?”
    // Commenting why people send a change request and/or reject it, is definitely crucial. The other feature he mentions is having multiple admins per course. Both are on our to-do list. Right now, there’s a workaround. If you want to comment on your change request write “//” and then your comment. If the course creator accepts your change request, she has to delete the text after “//” manually.
  • “Currently, courses are geared towards individual use, which might be isolating or diminish the sense of community.. While this works great for certain types of learning, such as a step-by-step tutorial, it doesn’t allow for interaction between multiple users (and discussion is such a huge part of learning, in my opinion).”
    // Agreed. At the moment, with our scarce resources at hand, we just added discussion forums where people can share and discuss thoughts. Users can open new threads for each course. This is far away from the optimal solution but should work fine in the beginning.
  • “Examples of how proficient the platform is at handling multimedia.”
    // As Markdown language is used, the platform can easily be used for embedding videos or images. Check this post how to do it. Other form of multimedia is not supported, yet (e.g. slides). 
  • “Ranking system – once the site hits a critical mass of classes (especially forked classes) it will be important to have users upvoting and downvoting particular versions of the course to help organize the content on the site.”
    // One of the most requested features. This is on top of the list. 
  • “Quiz functionality – consider a way of displaying the answers of others who have submitted after they have finished, especially once the functionality is increased to have short answers and such.”
    // The whole quiz functionality is very primitive at the moment. It takes some time until other answers will be shown but more answering are coming (e.g. true or false; fill in the blanks etc.)

Adam plans to create a short intro course about how to write academic papers. He generally likes the idea of blurring the lines between teacher and student:

“I have always thought that the open education movement could learn a lot from the open source programming community.I am curious to see how much the request change function gets used in a highly populated class. I think [copying/forking courses] will allow localized versions of courses that make more sense for particular audiences..Continuing my example from above, if another instructor came across the academic writing tutorial course, s/he could easily adapt that material to more closely align with his/her course goals.”

That’s exactly the idea. If the critical mass is reached, copying courses quickly allows producing industry-specific courses, or courses in different languages, as you have immediately a course base (the copied course) to start with. On the other hand, the change request function allows specific courses to get better and better in an incremental and iterative sense as students might give quick suggestions while consuming the course.

I just stumbled upon more great feedback regarding Crowducate. Rochelle Nicole’s (@RochelleNicole7) covers Crowducate on three main posts:

  1. http://rochellenicole7.blogspot.de/2014/06/hrd-5507-post-5-crowducate.html
  2. http://rochellenicole7.blogspot.de/2014/06/hrd-5507-post-8-more-about-crowducate.html
  3. http://rochellenicole7.blogspot.de/2014/06/hrd-5507-post-10-even-more-about.html

Rochelle actually suggested the most wanted feature request according to our feedback forum:   “Give the original creator of a course credit if a course is copied.” Besides voting, this is also on out top list and allows to build up an online reputation (1) and to find out where similar instructors can be found. It’s great to see that most ideas resonate with our vision for Crowducate.

You have more suggestions or ideas for the roadmap? Comment on this post or put in the feedback forum. You know some good coders, designers etc. who might want to help? Send them to our open source Github repository (where the whole source code is hosted).

Image Credit: Autumn Walk by Natalyia Kalinina

Open Badges for Open Education

We’re happy to announce the first set of Open Badges for Crowducate. Currently, there are two sets of Badges. Each set of badges contains six levels represented by the order of rainbow-colors – starting with red and ending with purple. The meaning of CLAIM CODES is explained below.

  • Crowducator Badge: You receive these badges when others answer your created quizzes correctly.
    • Level 1: 1 answer; Claim Code: CBF-FA21-000
    • Level 2: 5 answers; Claim Code: CBF-FA21-000
    • Level 3: 10 answers; Claim Code: CBF-FA21-000
    • Level 4: 25 answers; Claim Code: CBF-FA21-000
    • Level 5: 50 answers; Claim Code: CBF-FA21-000
    • Level 6: 100 answers; Claim Code: CBF-FA21-000
  • Crowducated Badge: You receive these badges when you answer quizzes from others correctly.
    • Level 1: 1 answer; Claim Code: CBF-FA21-000
    • Level 2: 5 answers; Claim Code: CBF-FA21-000
    • Level 3: 10 answers; Claim Code: CBF-FA21-000
    • Level 4: 25 answers; Claim Code: CBF-FA21-000
    • Level 5: 50 answers; Claim Code: CBF-FA21-000
    • Level 6: 100 answers; Claim Code: CBF-FA21-000

We are currently working with Credly to deliver you the badge experience. Click on the image or here to check out all the badges at once:

Continue reading

Welcome to Crowducate – Open Education

We’re happy to announce this fully open education / open source project. This is early alpha, so expect some glitches and please give feedback regarding bugs, love and feature requests.

What is this Crowducate all about?

At Crowducate the crowd educates itself. Hence, open education. You know this concept from Wikipedia. Unlike Wikipedia, Crowducate is not an encyclopedia. The two main differences from Wikipedia are structured and interactive courses. By structured we mean that the content is divided into bite-sized chunks (i.e. lectures), which are grouped into sections. Interactive means that each lecture checks if the learner understood the material – currently via a quiz (more interactive options follow soon).

Besides, courses are related to users. Other users can copy courses, which empowers them to develop the copied courses into different new courses (e.g. specializing topics, language translation, etc.). Some of you know these mechanics from open-source software and notably GitHub, respectively.

What is the Benefit to other Open Education Alternatives?

Many of you have notices the raise of massive open online courses (MOOCs). The question is, are they truly open? Most MOOCs have put offline courses online. They’ve “just” taken the conventional teaching model and scaled it. Have a look at the next figures (yellow indicating teachers and white students, respectively).

The system of classic teaching

The system of classic teaching

The system of teaching in MOOCs

The system of teaching in MOOCs

Don’t get us wrong. This is great. This empowers people all over the world to study from their electronic devices. Many courses have more than 100,000 students. Impressive.

However, a genuine open education means something else. It means that teaching, i.e. the content creation, also opens up.

The open education system of teaching and learning at crowducate.me

The system of teaching and learning at crowducate.me

Open Source on all Levels

In contrast to MOOCs, at Crowducate all courses are open source. This means people can copy courses to develop into different branches. Furthermore, the whole software itself is open source, too. You can find the source code at Github. You see, we are not only serious about open education but also open source.

How YOU can contribute

1st option: You might prefer to start learning something at Crowducate by just clicking on a specific course. Whenever you think, “there’s a grammatical mistake” or “answer x from the multiple-choice question of lecture y is too vague” or whatever it is, you can push the button edit course button to send a change request to the teacher. Cool huh? Through this feedback process the courses become better and better.

2nd option: You copy an existing course by clicking create course button, use it as your base and develop it the way you want.

3rd option: (1) Sign-up/Log-in, click (2) TEACH, (3) CREATE COURSE and now you can start creating a course from scratch.

Which features next?

Bear in mind this is the very beginning – a prototype of the product. It’s you who decides how we evolve it together. The roadmap post goes more into detail, so do the hackpad and the Github repo (for developers). Give us some feedback in the feedback forum or in the comment section. You can also write us an email.

You are the crowd. Open education is in your hands. Let’s democratize education together! And let’s enjoy learning and teaching.

Best,

Amir