Learning, right out of the box…

Or, How to P2PU

Pic by sⓘndy° on Flickr, CC BY SA

Idea + Course = Course Builder for All

For a while, we’ve noticed that our partners and community were asking for a course that would teach them how to build a P2PU-style course, right out of the box, which could be opened up and was full of all the peer-learning, community-supported, well-designed learning goodies they have come to expect when taking a P2PU course. Plenty of people out there have things they want to teach, and communities they want to learn with, but not many people have the technical savvy or the funding to get their content hosted on one of the big ed-tech platforms.


A Box of What?

For a while we’d been using Github pages for different aspects of our work, from landing pages to building and designing courses. We chose it mainly  because there is a lot of good stuff that comes with it; Jekyll, the engine that powers Github pages is fairly easy to learn, even for non-techs and the hosting is free.  One day we figured that if we were using it so much already, we might as well experiment with using Github pages as a template so  everyone else could use it to build a course.

With technical decisions out of the way, we needed to make a plan to bring this idea to life. Dirk gracefully volunteered to drive this project in our name, which meant that he had to learn all about making a course, get good insights about how to make community learning work and manage all of us, his colleagues (We reckon that was the toughest part of the  job, but Dirk will never tell. What a nice person he is).


What’s In The Box?

Because we believe in learning by doing, we connected with some of the amazing people we have worked with in the community learning space,  who shared their opinions on what would be important to include in the box. Thanks to Dave Cormier, who shared his opinions on how to give learners a sense of ownership. Like every good project, we also ran a beta test. This meant  bringing in some interested people, inviting them to go through the course with us and getting  some much-needed feedback from those who were in the thick of it.  Our beta testers helped out by giving us thoughtful, constructive feedback. Their ideas about what to do with the course and how to deliver it to their audience helped us to fill the box with the learning tools we think people will find useful.Ever since then, there have been some amazing courses built with this tool and we are extremely proud that this is the case. Just some of the projects that shows the good decision we made, to make this idea a reality, are an Intro to Python CourseCodeCatz – a course for women who are beginning to learn how to code and a course built by Young Composers and Improvisors Workshop which teaches music educators how to use technology to teach composition.

Screenshot 2015-03-31 10.13.23

Now that you know all about it, we bet that you have some pretty good ideas of what can be built with it or even how it can be improved. You are more than welcome to give us your feedback and send us some foxy ideas. Oh and if you are into that sort of thing: This is an open source project and we are always inviting pull requests, to improve or fix issues that might come up with using the tool we call Course in a Box.

The repository of this project is here.

The answers to any questions you may have are just a Discourse post away…


What will you build with it today?


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