Teacher Dashboard Release & New Landing Pages

Hey everyone! :bunprogold:

Over the years the team has come up with lots of ideas for new features, types of content and even small side-projects.

After discussing those ideas and exploring any interesting aspects of them further, we either earmark them for further consideration or put them into cold storage to maybe be reexplored again one day. As is natural in most companies, very, very few of the ideas see the light of day.


One idea that emerged and took shape was Bunpro for Teachers.

The idea behind this project was built around a couple key factors:

  • Users have asked us both publicly and privately how they could share their Bunpro progress with their teacher/tutor to get the best in-class experience.

  • Our own shared experience taking language classes in college/university and feeling that there was room for improvement.

  • Lastly, many teachers have told us that they recommend Bunpro to their students. While simply having students use Bunpro is good, the insights the teacher dashboard can give makes the learning process so much better.

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While learning languages has evolved as technology has progressed, we understand that physical textbooks still play a large and crucial role for students all across the world. This is why we’ve always put emphasis on supporting users in choosing to learn in any way the want.

Our goal isn’t to replace textbooks, but to make it easy to use Bunpro alongside a textbook to help reinforce what you are learning. For those of you who currently use your preferred textbook and Bunpro at the same time, you already understand how powerful this synergy is.

Let’s take a look at the project!


Background

We initially released the secret teacher dashboard alpha almost 2 years ago, to test if it was feasible as well as whether or not the insights were actionable and relevant. At that juncture, we realized we still had a lot we wanted to do content wise (both in terms of quality and quantity) before we officially released something for teachers.

We ended up putting this project on the back burner, collecting feedback and data before eventually overhauling it completely. Bunpro for Teachers is certainly still in its infancy but we’re really excited about the potential it has to help both teachers and students. :tada:


Teacher Dashboard 2.0

Teachers get access to a new Teacher Dashboard where they can create, manage and monitor their courses/classes. They are provided with a link to their course that they can then send to students in their class.

Each course can have a deck that it follows (textbook or Bunpro based). However, students still have the ability to freely learn anything they like on Bunpro.

Insights

While the course level dashboard gives instructors real time insights for all the students in the class, teachers also have the ability to quickly see how individual students are holding up.

This information on their students’ progress can be a powerful tool for teachers, allowing them to more accurately access what material needs extra focus, making it possible for the teacher to speed up or slow down their lesson plans depending on how their students are doing.

There are many more aspects of the project that we are proud of and feel will be very beneficial to teachers but since they don’t particularly pertain to those reading this right now, we’ll leave them aside.


More Info

If you would like to see more about it, including a walk through video you can checkout the

Landing page we put together specifically for teachers.

If you are currently enrolled in a class of any type and feel like your teacher could benefit from this project, we would love it if you would please share the teacher landing page with your instructor! Alternatively, you can send us a private message here on the forums or shoot us an email. :heart:


New marketing pages

While the teacher landing page really put our teeny tiny marketing brains to their limit, we also used this opportunity to redo the static pages of our website with the latest Bunpro branding and colors.

Introducing the revamped Landing, About, Pricing, News, Contact and Careers pages!

Lastly, a big, big special thanks to all our lovely users that answered the call and provided us with testimonials! They have been converted into HTML, and are now on the new Testimonials page.

We greatly appreciate all the responses, and whether your testimonial was used on the new landing pages or not, know that we will be using your kind words as pure inspiration to make a big dent in 2024 too! :muscle:


That’s all, thanks for reading!

TL;DR - Bunpro will be (eventually) coming to a physical/online classroom near you!

62 Likes

Wow! This is a great idea.

I wished it was available sooner, but it will be such a great way for teachers and students to be on the same page. Very nice!

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I want to have a teacher, just to have someone using the new super cool dashboard :rofl:

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I want to be a teacher, just so I can use the new super cool dashboard. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

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wait

Wait a minute

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:eyes:

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I like the general concept of having a site/tool to support teachers. And I haven’t looked at any of the linked stuff yet, in particular the page for teachers and the intro video.

However, I’m still going to just give my first impression, for whatever it’s worth. And that is, that I’m skeptical.

I’m having a hard time imagining the actual use case(s) of it, especially when considering the current state of things, and how much effort it might take to get from [You are here] ~~ - - - To - - - ~~>> [The Promised Land!]. It all seems very vague and ‘marketing speak’ to me at this point.

As a concrete example of what I’m skeptical of: The screenshot of the ‘course page’ shows things like “Highest Progress: SoAndSo” and “Lowest Progress: SomeoneElse”. But would an actual teacher really be strongly interested in these particular metrics? To me, that screenshot looks like it’s just some concept-designer’s hypothetical idea of what might be presented on such a page, like a pre-prototype storyboard graphic just to give a visual layout of the page and some ‘sample’ statistics that could be provided (assuming they would be useful at all).

It seems like the equivalent of some pre-packaged blog software with like ‘Themes’ available. I mean, it might as well contain “Lorem ipsum …” boiler-plate text, etc.

Is this real? Or is this just a mock-up at this point?

Has anyone actually tried to use the proposed interface? Is the UI then designed based on actual user/teacher feedback and what a teacher actually needs in order to organize some sort of class?

I don’t know the answers there. Maybe it is. Maybe it has been. But just my first gut-impression is that it has not been.

And from that uncertainty over the scope of what such a tool might entail, comes an even larger uncertainty about how much time and how many resources might be needed to develop such a tool to the point that it is actually usable and beneficial to actual teachers in the real world. Is Team Bunpro ready and able to take on what could potentially balloon into a massive project involving entirely new site capabilities such as group-level communications systems (messaging between students and teachers), course-level structure and organization (maintaining records of who’s enrolled in what courses, histories of interactions between users and the course (like ‘tests’ and/or ‘grades’ and/or ‘completion’, etc.)?

I mean, it doesn’t have to be so all-encompassing and huge, but if there’s no like ‘vision’ for a basic level of functionality (a kind of ‘core’ use case), then as a development project it could easily go off the rails.

Like many other successful business, Bunpro started out with a basic product that served a core, fundamental need that other sites didn’t. It used that ‘foundation’ to develop a stable business, and gradually improved the core features to the point of being not just ‘useable’ but up to ‘useful’ and ‘competitive’ and then beyond to ‘great value’.

And then recently it has been using that strong niche market to branch out into new, yet still tightly-focused features such as Vocab. Making this shift required quite a lot of work in the background (e.g. developing the Decks features, etc.). This kind of exploratory feature development was made possible because of the ongoing success of the original core features around Grammar SRS.

But this Teacher feature doesn’t seem (at least in this first-impression) to be as tightly-focused. What is the basic, core feature that Team Bunpro is hoping to provide for teachers that they will say to themselves, “Ah! Cool! That’s just what I’ve been missing! If only I could do X on a day to day basis, my Japanese Teaching role would be so much better off, that I would be willing to fork over $Y in order for this website to manage X for me.”

What is this X? I don’t see it right now. (Again, this is purely based on reading this forum post alone, so maybe it’s made clear elsewhere… but as of right now, I don’t see it.)

It’s always nice to dream, “Yeah! Wouldn’t it be great if – some day, who knows when? – we had a website that really just made the job of teaching Japanese so easy and effortless? It could do everything you would want: A, B, C, D, … . Ah! What a great idea! We should build that!”

But how do you get there? You have to start somewhere, and the place you start from has to be able to sustain itself long enough, doing the core function X, that eventually, you’ll be able to build up additional features A, B, C, D, etc.

Tell me what that X is, and maybe I’ll begin to see the potentiality. In the mean time, I’ll take a look at the links and video and whatnot, and maybe I’ll discover that you’ve already identified X, and I just wasn’t patient enough to read/watch everything before posting this skeptical comment. :sweat_smile:

Anyway, I know that Team Bunpro is talented, capable, and open-minded, so I have no fear that this first-impression critique will cause any unintended offence or anything like that. At the end of the day, if this vision for a kind of ‘Teacher Portal’ (or whatever you want to call it) is to succeed, it will inevitably have to be able to prove itself to many more skeptically-minded folks anyway. Perhaps it’s just a matter of communication/marketing, and my worries about the potential technical pitfalls are unfounded. I dunno.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Just my 2¥. YMMV. Yadda yadda yadda. :sweat_smile:

6 Likes

I could see homework assignments to have chapter blank vocab and grammar reach adept by date. And as a teacher, you would need a dashboard to determine if students have done so.

The biggest perk of bunpro over a Textbook is it’s an srs. If a particular grammar has more mistakes, you can review it. This would be even more helpful if you can see all of the wrong answers [including backspaced] so you have a better idea of what’s wrong.

Bunpro would help alot in designing review lessons.

Could do a khan Academy style: watch cure Dolly for homework, then practice in class with the teacher watching to explain the difference for common mistakes.

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A lot of the functionalities you mentioned already exist, and are explained further in this video as mentioned by @Jake :blush: (There is also a Japanese version available)

As for who would benefit from it, rather than a whole class, which is certainly also doable with the courses page, I think the example of a teacher on iTalki etc is a really good one.

When an iTalki teacher is talking to a student, they may be struggling using certain grammar, and then that teacher can instantly assign that student that grammar point as homework for their next lesson. They’d also both be able to look up and read example sentences together while in the class and figure out the nuances/where the student is getting confused together. Additionally, it would allow that iTalki teacher to instantly see the level of their student and what they have been studying recently, which would be a way they could gauge that student’s level, and maybe even encourage them to use some of the structures they’ve been learning recently rather than waste half of the student’s speaking opportunity just trying to probe out their ability.

We have also enabled a new feedback channel that will come through to us directly from teachers. We are hoping that the more teachers that use the platform, especially native speakers, the more feedback we can get about not just improving the teacher interface, but improving Bunpro as a whole. We’re basically inviting ourselves to be scrutinized by native speakers, which I think is a great chance to grow in terms of both quality and credibility. :partying_face:

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I actually feel this sort of information would be tremendously valuable for teachers coaching students to get through JLPT exams in particular. Even aside from that, as a teacher it would help you spend MUCH less time on grammar that students find easy, and be able to focus on the points that your students find hard.

Being able to view how your class is going (%correct) broken down by grammar point would be particularly helpful.

I guess what I’m saying is, I don’t buy the skepticism here. I’ve worked as a trainer in a very different field, and in course management, and if my students are mucking things up I really do want to know about it (and preferably without me begging them for screencaps of their progress).

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Thank you for your 2¥! Although considering the length, it feels more like one of the shiny new 500円 coins :smiley:

In trying to keep our post from turning into a light novel, we did leave out some details. Here is my own 500円 coin of thoughts :stuck_out_tongue:


Just to be upfront about it, this is live on the site as of the end of last year. A teacher could right now signup, create a course, have students join and see the data as it changes as students study/learn exactly as it is show in the screenshots/video walkthroughs. Also, we did indeed design this UI off of feedback and ideation from a much uglier, less functional alpha version of the teacher dashboard that we had teachers use. That alpha version was tested in secret (semi secrecy anyway as I believe it was mentioned on the forums here sometime last year :eyes: )

What you mentioned about scope is very true. We have a long list of things we tagged as “cool idea but no need to implement until teachers actually ask for it”. There are a ton of things we could do but what we are aiming to do with this is quite simple and straight forward and that is to give teachers/tutors real-time insight into their students’ progress.


Here is how we think about the problem:

If you take a normal classroom as an example, traditionally, you have the following flow:

Start a new chapter → cover the material → give homework → practice with in class activities → take a test → go to a new chapter

* The underlying assumption for the teacher is of course that the student is reviewing the chapter appropriately over the course of their studies (including reviewing old material from previous chapters) in their own free time.

Assuming that simplified class flow, the opportunities for a teacher to access how students are doing is generally limited to the following (in-class, through homework and through tests). Breaking down the challenges with each:

In-Class Assessment: it is impossible to know for every individual student where they are struggling simply because it is impractical/unlikely that you can cover everything for every student during the time you have in-class. Additionally the activities, choice of student to present, etc. all reduce the odds you stumble upon each student’s weakness.

Homework: allows you to get a broader sense of progress, however knowing the deeper reason why they got any particular answer wrong or right is almost impossible. They may know one specific context really well but all the questions were on different contexts, they may not be studying adequately enough in their free time, they might be struggling with lower level material which is hindering their progress, they might have just Googled the answers etc resulting in a false positive.

Tests: these are better metrics than homework but a test will fail to cover all given contexts and many of the issues above like what questions show up impacting test percentage figure in here too. Furthermore, a big downside is that more often than not tests are a lagging metric. You do the chapter, then test, then see who is behind.

What the Teacher Dashboard lets you do is tap into data at any point in the [Start New Chapter → … → Test] flow to see who is not doing their reviews, who is struggling despite reviewing, what content seems to be giving portions of your class trouble and more.

In the above three assessment metrics, Bunpro can help a teacher in the following ways (and more):

In-Class Assessment: A teacher essentially have a behind the scenes view of how each student is doing so they don’t need to reply on their gut feeling or take into consideration the variety of factors that play into how a particular student does on a given day. Additionally, if they know a big chunk of their class is struggling with a specific grammar point, they can adjust their activities/lesson plan to go over it.

Homework: They can make doing Bunpro reviews one part of the “homework” for the course. They can then trust that as long as students are doing their reviews they are getting exposure not only to a variety of contexts but also continuing with their previously learned material which is important and often forgotten about.

Tests: The data on the dashboard is available in real-time. A teacher can see how well or how poorly their students are doing right now. This can help inform any decision about spending extra time on a chapter before the test, not after.


All of that is a long winded way of saying we have indeed thought about, tested and built a tool that we know provides value for both teachers and tutors.

I just threw this together to help paint a broader picture of what we see/think about. It is by no means well edited or comprehensive in nature, but I hope that it helps address some of the questions you had.

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Yeah that’s the problem I had when I was doing MNN on my own, I was doing the provided homework but i grew kind of bored of it, because I was always doing a lot of excersises without any mistakes, but then I would find a basic grammar point that I didn’t quite understand. I was kind of always progressing, but without really consolidating anything.

(On top of that, having to grab my notebook and two separate books from the shelf just to do 10-15 minutes… is way easier with an app)

But as I was using Anki, I didn’t forget any of the vocab/kanji, so resuming my studies was easier

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I love the idea! Have you considered reaching out to modern languages departments at universities to see about selling bunpro as a product that could be integrated into classrooms? The reason I ask is because while this feature seems cool, it seems like it would be a hard sell for integration in traditional classroom environments because the impression I have gotten from my own university is that professors are trying to limit the amount of additional costs they require from their students. With that in mind, I doubt my Japanese professor would want to ask their students to use this service in the classroom since it’s a paid one. However, if you were able to establish contracts with the modern languages department to provide a certain number of student accounts or etc etc., I could see this being a real success at a wide scale.

Sorry if that message is a bit of a mess haha, I don’t think I conveyed my idea well, but basically my suggestion is once you’re confident in the product trying to generate large scale contracts with universities could be a huge boon for the bunpro team! :3

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Yeah, paying for a 300$ course in one semester PLUS having to pay 50$ more for materials seems more costly than paying 350$ for a course (or perhaps 330$ because of some discount).

When the course ends you should give users a month or two to try using it on their own, and then most of them will keep paying not only because it is easier to use and more efficient than textbooks, it’s also cheaper.

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@Jake I popped a message to the teacher from Ibaraki Daigaku who runs the class that I’ve been using for over 5 years. It’s run by volunteers, but since covid, we’ve been doing a lot online, so it might work out perfectly for us.
Anyway, she said she’d have a look. It might be a non-starter, but I’ll let you know either way.

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Hey,
That seems to be a nice feature !
I am interested to try it with my teacher, but I have some questions :
Is a paid subscription needed for the teacher account ?
→ As I will probably be the only student (at least at first) she will monitor on Bunpro, I don’t think she will accept if she has to pay, especially if this is a request from me.

For my situation, this functionality is the possibility to share my progress to my teacher, but I am afraid that this wil not be tailored to private course, but more for classes of several students in universities, schools, etc. What about this ?

Thanks

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A few questions in general rised up for me:

  • Can teachers also see backspaced reviews? I can easily imagine a dumbass like me highschool student abusing the undo feature and breaking teachers metrics.
  • It’s possible to share your metrics temporarily to a single/multiple person? It should be very useful for quick teaching sessions, or even if you are talking about your Japanese progress to your friends (I would totally abuse this to sell Bunpro to other people :shushing_face:). As a reference, it could be like discord links, that expire after a certain time, or amount of clicks. Or a permanent link, that work with a snapshot of the user progress, maybe.
  • Do teachers need to pay a subscription? Although it’s a valuable tool that could be sold, a single teacher can bring a dozen or dozens of students to the userbase of Bunpro, that can presumably continue their studies here. Also, it can be hard to convince your own teacher to use it, if they have to pay for it; but a free trial can make things better.
  • It’s possible to sell a amount of accounts to a teacher, that will be active during a course? This is probably a MUST for schools and colleges, as the others pointed out before. A student stopping the payment of Bunpro in the middle of the course can be a pain to deal with.
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This is once again just a ‘quick’ (haha, right!) reply based on reading the comments after my initial comment:

Well, you guys have pretty much addressed all my fundamental concerns. I am now pretty excited about this new feature set, and can foresee many ways that it will not just benefit the specific market of teacher-student collaboration, but indeed expand on the general usefulness of Bunpro overall, even for the single-user experience.

Example might be: Because teacher needs to be able to see/visualize the progress of the student, BP will have to implement tools that allow better ‘introspection/reflection’ of the details of any particular account. That means that it would be fairly straightforward for a single-user to be able to examine their own account with the same/similar tools that a teacher could use. This might take the form of, for example, a new and improved Stats page! Just one example of what’s coming to mind.

TL;DR: Thank you for the response! I now have a much clearer sense of what that mysterious X actually is!

Also, I think the comments from other folks with questions and suggestions have really fleshed out the potential that I was having difficulty seeing.

Sounds awesome!
:sunglasses: :+1:

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As a full-time language teacher myself, this really makes me excited that perhaps one day, when my own facility with Japanese has increased to the point that I could teach it, that I might actually be able to!

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@imsamuka It is free for teachers. They don’t need to pay to access any of the teacher dashboard features. Students do need a subscription to be able to use Bunpro though.

That being said, we are so confident that once a teacher tries it, the results they see will make it near impossible for them to not want to use it. To that end, we let teachers trial it with free extended subscriptions for their students for a semester (students don’t need to pay).

After that, if they continue to use it, they will need to include the student subscription fee in their course as lab/materials fees.

However even then, we discount the price of student subscriptions so it would be ~$10-20 per student per semester and the teacher/school will only be invoiced once the course registration deadline has closed for the total number of students in the course.

For smaller groups/individual tutors, they can get access to the tool to see data about their students who are already Bunpro users, in which case, the students themselves just needs to maintain a subscription.

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