Class2Go is Stanford's internal open-source platform for on-line education. A team of eight built the first version over the summer 2012, and it is still under active development. Class2Go launched this Fall for six on-campus classes and two "massive open online courses" (MOOC's): Computer Networking and Solar Cells, Fuel Cells, and Batteries.
Class2Go was built to be an open platform for learning and research. Professors have access to the classes' data to learn how their students learn. We will facilitate experiments. For example, we intend this to be the best plaform for running A/B/N tests to measure the impact of different teaching methods on student outcomes, or to build interesting features to try out new ways of presenting material or grading exercises. We believe an open source platform is the best way to do this.
If you are interested in reaching the team email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are some principles that have guided our project:
Open. The platform is open source to make it easier for users (faculty members) to give us feedback on what we are doing. We would love to have others use the platform. We are working with others who are interested in using Class2Go for on-line education: universities, private schools, even NGO's.
Portable. Valuable course content shouldn't be tied to any one platform. Documents are already portable; the videos are outside our system (on YouTube) and the assets themselves can be repurposed as faculty see fit. And our exercises and problem sets, instead of being trapped in a proprietary database, are in the Khan Academy format, so they can be used elsewhere.
Interoperable. We don't want to build or maintain more than we have to. See the section below for a list of all the shoulders we are standing on.
To bring this to life we've built a system. Here are some of its important and distinguishing features.
Video and Problem Set Management. Professors (and TA's) can upload assets to S3; videos are then uploaded to YouTube.
Exercises. We support two kinds of exercises: formative, for learning and encouraging engagement; and summative, for assessment, like quizzes and tests. Students can attempt each formative problems many times as they want without penalty, but may be penalized for multiple submissions in summative sets. In both types of problem sets, feedback is available immediately so students can learn along the way.
Content Management. We have built a simple content management system where course information (videos, static pages, problem sets) can be created, reviewed, and then published. One important ability is an automatic live date, so a professor (or, most likely, their TA) doesn't have to click a button at midnight to publish a problem set.
Frame Extraction. We have a simple tool for extracting frames from a video (using
ffmpeg) and differencing them to find key frames. The thumbnails of these frames are used as an index to the video for navigation. It's called the Kelvinator after its first author, Kelvin Do.
Reporting. We have a set of ad-hoc and scheduled reports so teachers can get feedback and adjust.
Thanks to all the projects we are relying on to make this work. Some commercial, some open source. But a ton of good stuff.
- YouTube for video
- Khan Academy for their HTML-based exercise framework
- Piazza for forums
- MySQL is our database
- The massive Python Django ecosystem: eg. South, Registration
- Amazon AWS suite for hosting (EC2, S3, RDS, Route53, IAM)
- Chef from Opscode for configuration management
- Github for source code management and issues
We welcome others contributing to Class2Go. Begin by checking out our source from here and using README_SETUP.md to get a development environment set up. There are also some docs available on the Project Wiki here on GitHub.
Before sending unsolicited pull requests it is often best to discuss your intentions with the core dev team. Send us mail: email@example.com.
If you want to get an idea of the kinds of things to do on the project,
check out our
issue list right here on GitHub.
We keep it here for all to see. Feel free to comment on bugs and make suggestions. If you want to fix a bug, go ahead fork, fix, test, and send a pull request.
Using Class2Go Yourself
We intend for other colleges, universities, and even private organizations to be able to stand up their own instance of Class2Go to host their own courses. Unfortunately, the tooling and instructions for this aren't turnkey just yet. We also need to do some development to make it less Stanford-specific. Maybe you can help with that?
If you're interested, your the first step, just like contributing, is to stand up a development environment on your own laptop and try it out. We have people this demo sized Class2Go up and running pretty quickly on their local machine.
Send us mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can give you an idea what would be involved.
Copyright 2012 Stanford University
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