One of the many goals we aim to strive towards is to make quality study materials easily accessible. This mission is part of the growing open education movement, which you can read about here in one of our previous blog posts. Currently, our study guides are kept in a separate Learn Portal where anyone around the world can access the resources we created in collaboration with teachers and students. While the page has met our needs for the time being, we are aiming to revamp the site to make it even better for users. Managing this ambitious project is Nikola Pilipovic, who took the time to share a few thoughts.
Hi Nikola, could you briefly explain your role with IB.Academy?
I’m the programmer, tasked with making sure the study content is available online for all and that the operations behind the scenes run smoothly. Basically this means that I fix any problems that come up and work on implementing new ideas.
You are currently working on a new site for our study guides. What sort of things are you looking to implement?
At the moment the goal is to provide a nice experience for students looking for our study guides. This entails all sorts of other goals that the users of our site won’t notice, but are important: streamlining account creation, securing the site, making sure that the site shows correctly across different browsers, etc.
What challenges do you face when creating such a site?
They range from technical issues (like deciding what type of database to use) to user experience issues (like what the best way is to present information). Usually my workflow is to isolate a problem and break it down into smaller tasks which I then finish one by one. If I’m not familiar with a certain aspect of a problem there’s also some preliminary research involved to figure out the best way to handle it.
Students across the globe use our study materials. How are you going to make them more easily accessible?
Right now our study guides are accessible as PDFs, but our goal is to have them available directly on the website so that it’s super easy to look up what you need. In the future it should even be possible to get a profile of what you still need to know and then get custom advice showing you what parts of a subject you still need to work on to master that subject.
Why did you find yourself drawn to working in education?
In high school I had some problems fitting into the education system because I had undiagnosed ADHD. I noticed that the system wasn’t set up to handle students at the fringes. Now I can work in a company that can help the students that regular education can’t fully reach. Next to that it is exciting to be a part of the educational system itself, helping to change it from within.