Onecore is an educational website I created with a small team in 2020 with the aim of making coding more accessible to high school students.
I created a robotics club at my high school in Year 11 because I wanted to teach coding and thought there was an interest amongst students to learn the skill. It was immensely popular and at one point in the year, we had over 10% of all junior students at school in the program. I realised how important and useful coding classes are to students and was surprised that there weren’t any readily available and beginner-friendly ways for them to get started.
Onecore was a website I created with a small team. We made several courses aimed at beginners and offered them online.
It took months to create the website, mainly because I wasn’t great with web dev and it took a while to learn everything needed. Additionally, all the courses were written and reviewed before being published because we wanted to make sure everything was accurate.
We have 3 completed courses, 2 courses available for preview and one more course which I will work on in the future.
Each course is intuitive and comes with downloadable examples, code snippets and diagrams.
Initially, we wanted to hold in-person lessons in the holidays rather than an online medium. We had developed some of the course content beforehand and planned for how the event would run. Additionally, we contacted multiple venues and were deciding where to hold our event.
COVID was extremely unexpected and with the onset of new restrictions, we had to cancel all our plans. This was one of the first hurdles because at that time, creating online content wasn’t one of our goals and shifting our entire project online was difficult.
One of the biggest challenges I faced throughout the whole process was keeping the team engaged. Because most of the team was in Year 12, everyone was already super busy with exams and volunteering their time to this project was a big ask.
I realised how important communication was because the times when everyone was most productive was when they all knew what task to do and when it was due by. Initially, I thought it was a good idea to be really flexible and didn’t set clear deadlines or dedicate action items to every member, however, this was definitely a bad idea. Setting clear and measurable goals are so much more motivating for the entire team and actually result in a lower workload because everyone has one small piece of the puzzle which they can focus on each week.
Developing the Website
The first iteration of the website was created purely in HTML by a friend of mine was who was really keen on shifting the project online. Although the entire design slowly changed, there are so many elements he developed still visible like the general structure of the website.
There were so many elements I didn’t know well and couldn’t properly implement and the design is neither modern nor responsive. If I could go back and redevelop the website, I would probably use something like Jekyll with the Moonwalk theme rather than write all the HTML and CSS line by line.
Nonetheless, the main focus of the website was the actual content on it. This is evident every course on the website because each one is structured and incrementally increases in difficulty to ensure students start off with all the tools they need to learn but finish as independent learners. This approach works really well and allows teachers to use the website as a reference tool for their students to revise specific concepts.
I was really excited when someone came up with the idea of weekly puzzles to help students stay motivated and present interesting solutions to difficult problems. We uploaded weekly puzzles for the first month but the difficulty and time consuming nature of finding inspiration, writing the problem, generating test cases and creating the solutions proved to be too much. In the future, if someone is keen to continue writing puzzles, I will definitely work with them to bring them to the Onecore platform!
Our courses are actually really popular and with a little bit of advertising throughout the school with posters and in coding communities via apps like Discord, we were able to see the success of what we created.
I hope students continue using our website to learn how to code. You can visit it here and email us from the contacts page on the website if you have any further questions!