November 18, 2009

eduFire expands its tech curriculum

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Learn about social media, PHP & WordPress on the Web

Guest post by Katrina Heppler

We met up with Jon Bischke, founder of eduFire, in San Francisco to learn about the launch of eduFire’s new Tech Channel, an online video learning platform that provides live, interactive video classes in social media, PHP, WordPress and other tech areas.

In this video interview, Jon describes the new Tech Channel’s offerings and tells us how eduFire is using social media throughout the company’s platform. Continue after the jump for a full transcript of the conversation.

Full transcript

Katrina: So here we are in San Francisco. I’m with Jon, the founder of eduFire.

First of all, what is eduFire?

Jon: Sure, eduFire is a platform for people to teach and take live classes over the internet. So we’ve got thousands of teachers and thousands of students who are conducting live classes online using video, text chat, and audio, and other types of technologies.

Can you tell us about the new classes you’re launching now?

Jon: Sure. We feel one of the biggest things that are in demand right now are technology skills. And it’s an opportunity for people to learn something and find a new job or directly apply it to their existing job. So, we’re launching a tech channel where we’ve got dozens of teachers who are teaching classes in things like PHP, how to effectively use social media, how to implement WordPress, skills that a lot of employers are looking for right now.

We think that learning online is great for people because they can do it in their own time, they can do it from home, it’s very flexible. And we’re really excited for the potential for the Tech Channel, and are looking forward to bringing onboard lots of good teachers and people interested in learning those skills.

How are the teachers vetted? How do these teachers qualify to be teachers?

Jon: Yeah, so what we do is we have the community basically vet who’s a good teacher and who’s not using some crowdsourced techniques. So, teachers come on eduFire they post a profile, it’s kind of similar to a LinkedIn profile where they state their credentials and other things they’ve done in their past. And as students take classes from those teachers they rate those teachers. And what we do is we use an algorithm to have the top teachers rise to the top teachers rise to the top of our list and the not-so-good teachers kind of fall off. So over time you’re only seeing the best teachers on eduFire.

What classes will you be offering related to technology?

Jon: You know we’re really excited by a wide range of things. So we have programming classes, things like PHP and Ruby on Rails, classes around things like social media marketing have been popular -– some things like Facebook and Twitter and how you can effectively use those in your business. Other skills, like implementation of things like WordPress. And then other things too –- more casual learning, Photoshop, how to optimize your Macintosh, or whatever. So it’s a really wide range of things, but all related to technology.

How are you getting the word out using social media?

Jon: That’s a great question. We get a lot of our visitors who come from Facebook, who come from Twitter. A lot of our teachers will post messages when they’re teaching a class. Our students will often post messages to Twitter as well that they’re taking a class on eduFire. So we feel that social media is kind of a key component of next-generation education because people want to learn with their friends, they want to see what their friends are doing. If people are following a certain person and they find that that person is teaching a class that would be very interesting to them… So, social media has been very effective for us and we feel it’s only going to grow over time.

How much do these classes cost?

Jon: It’s all over the board. We have a lot of classes which are free, which is a great way if you want to dip your toe in  the water and experience what eduFire has to offer. We also have classes that range anywhere from five dollars to anywhere up to fifty dollars. We also have a subscription service too, so you can pay thirty dollars a month and for that price you can really get access to almost all of the classes on our site. And that’s unlimited access. So if you really want to ramp up your tech skills in a quick amount of time, that’s probably your best value.

Do you find that the teachers are coming from all over the world or are they mostly here in the Bay Area or in the U.S.?

Jon:We have over 200 countries represented on the site. So it definitely is a global audience. The majority of our audience is in the U.S., certainly with technology, a lot of people in the Bay Area [as well]. But yeah, we get people from all over and that’s really interesting because you can learn how to program PHP from a guy in Germany. And when have you had a chance to do that before in the past?

Where can everyone find you on the Web?

Jon: It’s

And on Twitter?

Jon: Twitter is

Reposted from the site.


eduFire: Real-time Web learning (Socialbrite)

MindBites: The how-to video marketplace (

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