The client, Dr. Yvonne Kielhorn of ‘Why Science’, with extensive experience in Academia spanning 20 years, worked closely with school administration teams to improve teacher confidence and student achievement in U.S schools. She wanted to create a customized and interactive web based platform that would deliver excellent STEM(Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning experience for high school students.
The Why Science team had a clear vision of the revolutionary education portal it wanted to develop, but lacked the technical know-how needed to build it. They were looking for a comprehensive portal where school administrators, teachers and students could easily connect and interact - a system that would greatly enhance STEM teaching experience and improve student performance.
The following features were the core requirements:
Multi-level access to accommodate its various users - super admins, school administrators, teachers and students.
Automate task upload and assignment, and the student grading process once task is completed.
Meet the diverse needs of students at all levels of instruction, different types of schools, and various kinds of curriculum.
Simplify the student learning process, by facilitating assignment completion and test administration online.
Leveraging ELGG framework, we developed a robust, closed-loop, web-based social learning classroom portal. Since ELGG was an out of the box, open source social networking framework, it helped us deliver an MVP in a short time frame, while keeping client's total cost of ownership (TCO) to a minimum. After developing the MVP which helped the client do software demos to interested schools, our team continued to develop the complete product.
Here are some of the key features of the application:
The super administrator (staff from Why Science) can create unique school admin logins and passwords.
The portal is designed with open source technologies, and can be hosted on existing school servers with Linux OS. Every school that is a client of WhyScience has an independent instance of the software installed on its server.
The solution provides archiving capability for course modules, and assignments, etc. This helps teachers create assignment modules and activate them as needed. Archived modules can be re-activated when need arises.
Instructors can share assignments with their counterparts. They can also clone entire sets of instruction modules and make modifications to the cloned application as needed.
Because ELGG is an open source framework, the architecture allows for course modules to be customized and configured based on school and subject requirements.
In order to allow users to develop an insight about the application’s functions before committing to a license, administrators can create trial users with a three day access.
With the increasing popularity and adoption of the learning system, the client extended its service engagement with us. Through a a separate maintenance agreement, we deliver periodic product updates, maintenance and support.
We built a cost effective and custom portal using an award-winning open source social networking engine named ELGG. The solution, aside from helping the teaching community effectively engage its students and greatly enhance learning experience, provided the following benefits:
The application empowers teachers to enhance student engagement and performance in STEM subjects. As a result, Why Science has been awarded the CT Next Entrepreneur Innovation Award and is widely accepted as an easy and effective portal-based learning system.
Automation of assignment tasks and continuous metrics-based monitoring of student progress enables teachers to concentrate on student requirements, teaching quality, and their professional development.
Through this portal, teachers can easily interact and collaborate with their colleagues virtually across the school regarding assignments, through discussion forums readily available in the ELGG platform.
Students are provided anytime, anywhere access to an online library of resources, assistance in projects and problem solving through virtual guides. They can also easily interact and collaborate with teachers and fellow students.
The application is cloud based and provides secure access. It can only be accessed by authorized users of individual schools, both within and outside the premises.
We built upload scripts to import information about teachers, students, and courses from a simple spreadsheet, and configured them for immediate access. Reduction in manual tasks lead to less paperwork and made the entire school administration process prone to extremely minimal errors.