Grants/paukr free study platform

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paukr free study platform

Applicants: Dominik Rodler
Affiliation: planet insider GmbH
CC affiliated? No
Contact: Dominik Rodler
Coordinator: Dominik Rodler
Project Start: 2010/07/01
Project End: 2010/11/01
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Describe the project you are proposing as clearly as possible in just five sentences.

Share your wisdom – learn together. paukr is a free study platform based on the wiki-principle that enables people to work, learn, and play together. Every member of the paukr community can create courses, enhance them, and share the results. The intelligent learning system helps you to accomplish your personal goals. Crowdsourcing and evolutionary content are our competititve advantages – and our way to a world where collaboration rules.

Detail the tangible project output (e.g., paper, blog post, written materials, video/film, etc.; this would be in addition to the final written report that successful grant recipients will be expected to deliver to CC at the conclusion of the project).

paukr provides rich content e-learning courses with exactly the information you need to achieve your personal learning goals. How do we get high quality content? It’s easy: The more people work together, the better the courses get. We want our users to share, reuse, and remix the existing content to create something new or improve the stuff they find. We truly believe in the wisdom of the crowd. And we encourage every member to be part of it. paukr is more than just content from the textbook - it’s video, it’s pictures, it’s charts. Why miss out on the great possibilities the internet offers? Thus Creative Commons is so important to us: if everybody would pigeonhole pics, videos, graphics and written words – paukr could not be as collaborative as it is today. Creating courses is only one part of our efficient learning system: paukr helps you study with numerous learning questions. Our intelligent system retains your answering behavior, shows your weaknesses and helps you succesfully get over them. And if your have questions yourself – just ask the community and you will get the answer you need. By the way: if you have had enough of staring at your computer – just let paukr create a pdf-file with all the information you need and learn wherever you want.

As a result of the funding by the Catalyst Grant, we will complete a set of e-learning courses tailored to the curricula of ... Due to the modular structure of the courses, the modules, diagrams, etc. created for those courses can easily be included in and reused for other courses.

Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?

Basically everyone can use paukr to learn and work with other people. But mainly we are targeting pupils and college students. We like the idea of seeding the spirit of collaboration into young minds. paukr is an easy and fun way to accomplish personal learning goals. Every member benefits from the learning community. It’s like sports: if you are alone it is hard to motivate yourself, but with a strong group your are able to outdo yourself. Pupils and college students in particular benefit from the customized content: because people with the same learning background help creating the courses, everybody finds the exact information that is needed. Wikipedia does the same? Not quite! In our eyes the encyclopedia is not fully suitable for the demands of students: it’s a great way to glance over a topic – but try to remember the stuff for your next exam just by reading the article. paukr is the one central place for all study needs that aggregates freely accessible courses on all subjects taught in school – and a plethora of other interesting />

What is your relationship with the community you are targeting? Why are you the best individual/organization to lead this project? Do you have prior experience in related projects?

We are a young team and we deeply understand the problems students are dealing with today: sometimes it can be frustrating and boring working alone – it is so much easier in a group of people facing the same situation. We’ve been there! With paukr we developed a platform where people can easily learn together. We provide the most useful tools to get the work properly done: communicate via mail and chat, manage team meetings with our calender system, share your screen via video-based online conference. You’ll see – it’s almost fun instead of work! We are using all channels to get in touch with our target commnity: facebook and twitter of course, as well as our blog and newsletter. We truly understand the community because we are a part of it. That makes it so much easier for us to meet the needs of students today. The idea of collaboration is not only showing in the way we created paukr – it is in fact a significant part of our whole corporate culture. Every member of the team brings in own ideas, every opinion is appreciated. Dominik is the CEO of paukr. After studying business administration and innovation management he has been working as a strategy consultant, where he e.g. replaced the company's knowledge management system by a semantic mediawiki, which stressed the link between data and people in order to increase collaboration and knowledge exchange. Because of his family background – both of his parents are teachers – he grew up in a very educational environment, experiencing quite early what it is like to sharpen young minds and prepare them for all the future as got. Wolfram is silent partner of paukr. He has been working with Dominik quite a while at the strategy consultancy where he still is CEO. Having six children going to school Wolfram knows very well how this generation can be inspired to work and learn. And just like Dominik Wolfram grew up in an all teacher household (talk about meant to be in the study platform business...). Wolfram brings in all his experience and helps wherever an important decision has to be taken.

How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?

We are always concentrating on our users – because for a community that’s really what matters. And the fact that over the last six months the number of paukr users tripled to currently 18,000, shows us that we are on the right track. But it’s not only the number of people that counts but also how involved they are: until today our community compiled over 4,500 chapters and about 15,000 study questions. There is a multitude of indicators we routinely measure that illustrate the impact of our efforts. The most interesting measure with regard to the larger community is certainly the growth rate of our platform. For registered users there are other indicators for their involvement: users enrolled to a course, number of edits, number of created study questions, time studied, number of earned study points... you name it!

How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?

With the Catalyst Grant we will fund nine students over a total of four months to generate seeds of quality e-learning content for some specific high interest topics. And the crowd will do the rest, that we are sure of. As our revenue model is partly based on a tuition portal we have to incite our tutors to generate suitable content as well. Therefore we developed a system with awards and gratifications to commit the tutors to the project. The prospect to land lucrative jobs (tutors are totally free to set their prices for tuition) should sustain their involvement as well. Furthermore there are special content contests with tempting prizes for the best contributors. And finally we have our internal reward system: members of the community get special points by generating content or improving the existing courses.

Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".

In our eyes Creative Commons epitomize the idea of collaboration: the commons enable people all over the world to share, reuse and remix their creative efforts. paukr fully supports this approach bringing the collaborative spirit in an educational context. We believe in open education and the success of the many. We want students to work together, share their wisdom and help others to reach their learning goals. Especially for young people it is highly important to unterstand that you can achieve so much more working in a group and collaborate. We are just not made to bumble through life’s challenges alone.

Describe what technologies and tools your project will use. What kinds of technical skills and expertise do you bring to the project? What are your technical needs?

paukr is from the ground up developed by us as the ideal study platform. It is based on open source technologies such as PHP, MySQL, the PHP framework symfony, and jQuery, but to name a few. We have taken all these technologies and strongly adapted them to our users needs in order to create both the most powerful and easy to use study platform. Our application is built around a powerful wysiwyg editor featuring a very focused interface that provides optimal usability and editing speed. We possess all required technical skills and have no immediate technical needs.

What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?

One challenge we anticipate is managing the quality of the content. We plan to overcome this by a combined approach of optimistic editing (free editing with versioning), pessimistic editing (a built-in patrolling system), and editing requirements tied to the evolution of the content (the more mature a module gets, the higher the requirements for a author to edit it, e.g. 20 prior edits in this module). Another potential issue is the community-driven growth of the content base and activity on our study platform. In this case, we will try to enhance the communication of the associated benefits, increase the amount and attractiveness of competitions, and boost our partnering activities.

How do you plan to sustain your project after the Creative Commons funding has ended? Detail specific plans. How do you plan to raise revenue to continue your efforts in the future?

Our revenue model is built on services provided on top of our study platform. The first model we introduce to the market is a tuition portal. Tuition has become a significant part of the German school system as curricula become more and more packed. Our tuition portal aggregates the complete supply side, i.e. not only professional tutors, but also students and pupils. It supports the entire tutor-pupil lifecycle, from selecting the ideal tutor (supported by comprehensive and meaningful quality indicators), to enhancing the actual learning process by collaborative blended learning, and reporting and billing. The revenue model itself works like this: The customer deposits money in order to hire a tutor and receive tuition. The tutor provides personal lessons and compiles short reports on problems and progresses. Each month we pay out his approved earnings to the tutor. This way we can retain a share of the ongoing tuition revenues for our services. The approach to offer premium services based on our study platform can easily be extended to other areas such as management coaching and professional trainings.

How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?

We developed paukr basically to enable people to work and learn together. The platform is fully internationalized and can easily be offered in any language. For the start we focus on school content, but in the future we want paukr to be the universal tool for acquiring and sharing knowledge of all kind. That’s why we recently started another subproject with the working title „entrepreneurs curriculum“: a platform with courses for and by entrepreneurs, where founders and founders to be can discuss all those important things and all those odds and ends one has to consider building up a company from scratch. For this subproject we are currently looking for sponsors and content / media partners. And that’s only one step into an „open“ and vibrant future.

What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?

The funding by the Catalyst Grant would allow us to finance qualified students to work on the content – especially in subjects that are not sufficiently covered yet. We would also use the money to itensify our efforts to spread the word about our project. After all, what’s the point of crowdsourcing if the crowd doesn’t have a clue? In a start-up business like paukr there is always the need for more marketing and PR. paukr would greatly benefit from any inclusion into marketing or PR activities of Creative Commons. Backlinking as well would be helpful in order to popularize the project.

Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)

We are using all the suitable channels to get in touch with our targeting community and network partners. We are part of social networks like facebook and twitter using our mascot „Jonny“ (a cute meerkat) to communicate. Furthermore there is our company blog and the weekly newsletter with the latest news in the matter of education and e-learning. In addition we are using conventional marketing tools such as PR and advertising. The main focus always lies on speaking the language of the target customers and using all the ways of communication they are using. That’s really it.