Team:TU Darmstadt/Engagement





Since the advent of the digital age more and more people discovered the assets of the internet. Whilst services such as instant messaging, social media, video on demand etc. already found entry to the lives of many people, a new zeitgeist is evolving. In a time, where there is too much knowledge to know it all, experts resort to sharing their expertise with others. Thus a number of online interactive learning platforms emerged. But as we took interest in them, we discovered that there are few platforms teaching either biotechnology in general nor synthetic biology in particular. So we decided to take up this opportunity and develop our own platform:
CloneCademy. An online learning platform from experts for experts or those who want to become one.

We think Education is a big part of Human Practices therefore we decided to take it to another level and start developing CloneCademy. There are few channels inside the iGEM-Community in which knowledge can be spread besides the Webinars, which requires the hosting team to be present. An interactive platform like CloneCademy can teach thousands of people interactivly, only by uploading a series of questions, which can be accompanied by a video or other Features. Since it is possible in bioengineering to get very experienced in cloning (or other disciplines) with only few prerequisites our central ideas became Interactivity and Simplicity.

In the next section we will walk you through most of the features relevant for users spreading knowledge on CloneCademy. First of all, you need to become a moderator in order to create content on CloneCademy. Therefore you need to convince us of your intention to join the moderators and have an understanding of the basic structure of a Course. In a nutshell a course on CloneCademy is comprised of an opener, a main part and a quiz to wrap it up.



What is an Opener? In our understanding an Opener should explain the motivation of the course in some way. Either you show what can be done with the knowledge accuired in the course, give a great overview of the course or even make a video explaining a laboratory method covered by the course. As Mark Victor Hansen said so fittingly: "In Imagination, there's no Limitation"


It is possible to embed Youtube Videos in order to support or introduce the topic of the course.

Information Text

With the Information Text you decide to i.e. explain a picture you uploaded thoroughly, without asking any questions in the first place. One teaching strategy could start with an Information Text showing a picture that is only shown partially in the following questions to challange your users to fill in any gaps.

Main Part

The Main Part is the bulk of every course in CloneCademy. It can either be used to explain something new and check immediately if it is understood or you ask questions to the Video you posted earlier.

Multiple Choice Questions

The main mode for questioning are Mulitple Choice Questions. That means, you can expect multiple right answers from a user or ask multiple questions simultaneously.

Picture Support

Not only can Pictures be uploaded to a question, it is also possible to add a Feedback Picture and Pictogramms to each possible answer, which makes a sort of "Drag'n'Drop"-Setup feasible. Additionally you get help from a Cropping Tool, if the picture is too big or has the wrong aspect ratio.

Custom Feedback

If you as a moderator want to add a little consequence to the lesson you tought, you can add a Custom Feedback. This way you can expand the meaning of the question you asked.

Progress Overview

As a user you get access to different Progress Indicators. On the bottom is a Progress Bar and in the bottom left corner you can gain access to a Course Overview, which shows a list all questions titles in this course.

Profiles and Rankings

Every User gets a Profile Page. It grants access to your Statistics and the overall Rankings. It is also the place, where you can upload a Profile Picture and request Moderator Rights. Every question is equipped with a set amount of points that contribute to your Ranking Score. More difficult courses are more rewarding. Quizzes, which are more challanging than single questions offer points for surpassing certain accuracy thresholds (40%, 70%, 90%).


As a user you have access to your weekly and overall Activity Overview, that distinguishes between categories and right/wrong answers. As a Moderator you additionally get access to Course Statistics, that will dispense a right/wrong-quotient for each of your questions. This should be helpful information, if you're trying to improve your exisiting courses.


Quizzes should be the target of most courses. It is a place, where every moderator can really challange his users to review their newly gained knowledge. It is especially a place where No Mistakes are taken easily and No Information is given. In other words, a user needs to repeat the whole Quiz to improve upon his past mistakes. A suggested strategy is to ask about lessons you tought but never checked if they were understood.

Minimal Layout

There is No Navigation, just a Submit-Button. There should be no information given, just questions asked. There is a posibility for Pictures, but none for videos or blocktexts.

Randomiziation counters
Learning by Heart

To prevent plain Memorization of sequence and place, all questions and answers are Randomized. In addition you need to make a completely new attempt to improve your result, which will increase the chance you comprehend what you were asked about. We are aware, that just writing down the answers to the question is a feasible method, but we don't consider it cheating. In fact the Memorization Process improves all the more if more senses are involved.

The Future

Clonecademy has originated from our idea of creating a public learning tool for synthetic biology. Fed with our perceptions, it is a well-usable service. But there is potential to become an extraordinary instrument! It needs to be filled with more content, therefore we invite you to create content, use --> link? and become smarter every day. Also, the development is not completed. We are open for ideas, thoughts and inspiration. We want to give clonecademy to the public. We hope, that we can convince you to participate in development and content creating. It shall not longer be an iGEM TU Darmstadt project. It is a gift from us to you, to everyone. Sharing it with the public, it shall remain open-source and free for all who are interested.

How can I participate?

  • Open Issues on our GitHub Repository
  • Solve assigned tasks
  • Feel free to add suggestions
  • Create content by becoming a moderator
  • Use it, share it, like it.


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