We help Essential Education extend and deploy an adult-focused educational platform that changes lives via personalized approaches to learning.
We help Essential Education to build, extend, and deploy an education platform that changes lives via personalized approaches to learning. Schools, adult-education organizations, and correctional facilities are the direct clients of Essential Education. We’re proud to help them deliver tailored content to help adults without much formal education earn high-school equivalency certificates (GEDs and the like).
- The core application is built on the Laravel PHP framework and uses a MySQL database backend. Laravel was selected because it provides a simple, well-designed framework for MVC applications and many supporting tools for common tasks like database migration, unit testing, and command line scripting.
- The user interface is built on Laravel's Blade template system and uses the Twitter Bootstrap framework to standardize CSS styles across the application and across browsers. Bootstrap’s grid system is also used to implement a responsive design, thereby supporting a variety of different device screen sizes.
- In addition to standard multiple-choice-type questions, Up and Running also built support for more advanced question types, including:
- Questions answered by dragging and dropping images to specific positions; please see the video below:
- Questions requiring the student to mark specific points on a graph
- Short answer questions that accept mathematical expressions and evaluate them to determine correctness
- Essay-type questions requiring manual grading
- Using the MathJAX library, Up and Running implemented support for MathML based formulas on the user interface. These formulas are used on math tests to better present questions and answer choices. Examples of this functionality include:
- Rendering fractions with question prompts:
- Rendering exponents and root operators in question choices:
- Providing the student with a table of standard formulas:
- The application supports integration with third-party authentication systems through use of the SAML protocol and has been integrated with CornerStone OnDemand.
- One of Essential Education's legacy applications was integrated to support shared authentication between the old and new applications. This allows users to log into either application using the same credentials and provides the ability for a user to transfer their active session from the old application to the new application without needing to re-authenticate.
- To improve the overall quality of the application, Up and Running built a tool for synchronizing database content changes between environments. The tool allows content changes to be exported from a database, stored in a version control system, and then loaded into other environments. The design allows any database record to be either locally unique to one environment or shared between multiple remote environments. The tool also supports exporting and importing relationships between database records through the use of GUIDs. This tool allows Essential Education to maintain separate production, staging, and development environments and use those environments to improve their quality-control processes.
- Some customers of Essential Education are unable to connect their facilities to the Internet for security policy reasons, so an offline version of the application was developed to run on isolated servers on local networks at those facilities. The offline version includes a C#-based installer that installs and configures a web server, database server, and the testing platform application code.