We are currently halfway through our two week long series of featured classes. We’ve already seen examples of great classes that were offered by passionate teachers through UReddit on photography, programming, mathematics, psychology, and more, and we have more than enough to talk about over the next week. In fact, we feel guilty that we won’t be able to explicitly feature every class that deserves it.
UReddit began over two years ago with a very modest website and a small subreddit. The community now consists of nearly 75,000 people that all share the same values of open education. The UReddit website itself, however, is very minimal, serving mostly as a point of coordination for classes that happen off-site.
Open Compass, Inc is a non-profit organization founded by the UReddit team, along with help from a few new people, and its goal is create a new, better successor to UReddit. We founded Open Compass on the same ideals behind UReddit – the freedom to teach and the freedom to learn – but we are creating a platform that cohesively integrates all the tools a teacher could need, and that automates away the busy work of teaching a class.
We already have a prototype of this platform:
- Full course management software: hosting and organization of material, assignments, quizzes, gradebooks, live chat, a direct line to the teacher(s), the ability to assign multiple teachers and teaching assistants, and more.
- Live lecture streaming with the ability to share a camera feed, slides, and the instructor’s desktop, and with the option to automatically record the lecture, process it, and make it available to students via the course management software.
- Integration between the course management software and lecture streaming – scheduled lectures will show up in your calendar with a link that takes you there.
- Automatic speech-to-text analysis of recorded lectures, with the transcripts automatcally posted as a wiki for any necessary corrections.
- An Android mobile client for the course management software and the live lecture streaming, allowing you to take a quiz and tune into a live lecture from your phone at a cafe, if you like.
- An instance of the open-source Reddit platform. Two subreddits will be automatically created for each class: one to which assignments, recorded lectures, and so on will be automatically posted so as to be open for discussion, and a second subreddit for general discussion related to the class. (Of course, you’ll be free to create other subreddits on any topic you choose.
- And more.
We also have plans in place to be able to offer proctored exams around the country so that you can take a class at Open Compass and use what you’ve learned to earn college credit!
We want to create a place around which a community based on the same ideals as UReddit can form. We need to be able to fund the necessary development costs, however.
We have one week left to reach our fundraising goal, and we ask for your support. If you see the value in truly open education, please support our Kickstarter campaign, and please share it with friends, family, anyone that would like to see this happen. And to everyone that has already pledged: thank you!
Help us bring this vision to life!