Creating an online course is monumental specially to small websites like MATHalino. Despite being manned by one person from ground up, the development of this functionality is actually progressing by degrees. I've been conceiving this feature as far as I can recall, way before online courses became a common thing in the Philippines. What makes me unable to implement it before comes from three factors.
- Lack of technical expertise
I don't actually hire anyone to do any task in this site, I don't have a budget for that, and to develop this kind of functionality comes with a premium cost. Instead, I do my usual route which is "do it myself " by first learning the ins-and-outs of it. It may not be noticeable by users of this site, but all features here are solidly implemented even those that are highly-technical in nature.
- Not enough time to do it
I work full time as a review instructor for Civil Engineering, and I have my own family to care (yes I have a life apart from coding, hahaha). I only do MATHalino during my spare time, although it consistently brought-in modest ad revenues, I just consider this as a secondary source of income. With today's pandemic though, I have much time to burn than usual, and my way of making it productive is to engage with the more technical aspects in web technologies.
- Not enough drive
No matter how dedicated you are in your craft, there are other areas that don't get much of your passionate attention. I am more of a review instructor than web developer. I enjoy more in teaching than banging my keyboards for a functionality which no one from my circle can appreciate, hahaha. My drive is actually more on helping my students pass the board exam rather than to make MATHalino more awesome, lol.
Although I am not in par to those with proper trainings, I have my own ways of learning stuff which makes me ahead to those who only dive deeper when compensated. From system administration, to website development, and to authoring contents. All of these together are actually taxing if you don't have enough heart to do it.
Deployed in Scalable Cloud Environment
MATHalino is running on a Linux distro of my choice with no fancy interface and expensive control panel. I made all administrative tasks from the command line and it felt awesome. One of the problems, albeit a good one, of a successful website (yes I consider MATHalino a successful website) is to handle the volume of incoming traffic and user activities. When it is time to upgrade servers, high monthly cost will also come with it. System emails alone was enough to piss off my host when I was at their shared environment. I've also outgrown VPS, hence, dedicated server is the way to go.
Anyone with long running website knows how much a dedicated server will cost, specially if you let your host manage it. If you have enough budget then you can deploy your site with them to free yourself from the hassle of administering the system. My goals though is not compatible with that. I always have this desire to learn and do system administration myself. Aside from saving bucks, I am like enrolling in a university if I do it myself, minus the authoritative certificate though. The savings is enormous because you don't have to pay tuitions.
With all things in place, I deploy MATHalino in a cluster of machines which will allow me to scale it horizontally when the present setup can't handle the beating anymore.
Now For The MATHalino Courses
With the above rants, I am actually away from the real battle which is creating contents. But this is the advantage of all independent content creators, we don't have any rule to follow other than our own. Someone may not understand why I made all the hassles of setting up servers if I can just hire a team of professionals to do it for me and use a portion of ad-revenues to pay them. Why not focused on creating contents to bring-in more ad-revenues? Well, this is my rule, and I do what I enjoyed most at a particular time. When it is time to do contents, then I do it, and when it is time to do server administration and/or web development, then I do it. When to do which is solely up to me.
Free courses will be gradually deployed, and if you want to test the waters, you can enroll yourself to one of our free offers. As of the writing of this post, we have one course available at no cost, just click Courses in the main menu to explore it.
VIP Learner Role is Fully Actrivated
All users enrolled to a course are assigned to "VIP Learner" role. A badge is attached to their profile to distinguished them from the rest of the users. This role bypass the point system enforced to users. We do it in purpose to allow diligent learners to promptly gain access to locked contents.
- All access privileges of a Trusted user.
- Downloadable .pdf handouts
- Online and offline examinations
- Videos that are available only inside the course and cannot be found elsewhere.
- VIP Lounge in the forum section for students and mentors to engage.
- Solution to problems posted inside the course.
- And much more...