New Online School for Code Offers Mentoring in Real-Time, Live Video Classroom

Dec 19, 2013 | Updated Feb 18, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif - EngineHere, an online education platform for learning code, has gone live.

Positioned between low cost (or free) MOOCs and immersive, high-priced developer bootcamps, the San Francisco start-up is offering introductory and intermediate level programming and web development courses with an emphasis on live mentorship.

Founder Benjamin Plesser says that, while the interest in learning to code is accelerating, the low retention rates and overall performance of MOOCs indicate just how difficult it is for continuing education students to learn to program effectively. Live teacher-to-student engagement is essential for breaking through the conceptual and, in particular, the motivational blocks encountered by many students.

The company provides its labor Intensive instruction at moderate prices through an emphasis on group sessions. Within the EngineHere virtual classroom, groups of ten to twenty students meet bi-weekly with instructors for lectures, Q&A, and problem sets.

To support larger groups and recreate a classic classroom experience online, the company has built a real-time communication platform that merges the standard video and text chat features of a Google Hangout with unique collaborative tools for pair programming and expressing coding concepts.

For the classes, students interact with the teacher in a live video group using Web cams and smart phones. The classes are powered by Tokbox, a group video chat solution. EngineHere uses Tokbox's newly introduced WebRTC solution.

The company launched its first pilot courses in October among business professionals with little background in coding. Pricing for the 20 hours of group instruction is priced under $300.

As part of the launch, EngineHere is reaching out to the developer community as it builds its faculty.

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