ViOlympic.vn (ViO) is a well-known multilingual online education platform for all Vietnamese students. With subjects including Vietnamese Mathematics, English Mathematics, and Vietnamese Physics, ViO has attracted more than 28 million registered accounts.

During its ten years of development, ViO has been through multiple improvements to effectively serve students’ needs. However, the old system was built on ASAP.NET webforms, making it difficult to adapt to new technology as well as ViO’s new plan of development. Therefore, in May 2017 a new project team was formed with the purpose of transforming ViO into FPT’s educational flagship, applying the latest technologies to an education platform.

Renew the whole system

ViO team has decided to choose open-sourced technologies. The webserver is run on NodeJs/Express, one of the leading open-source platforms with room for further development. On the client side, ReactJS and Flux are used to build the system. With the ability to effectively form modules, expand and reuse codes, React (developed by Facebook) has become popular and been used in the development of many popular websites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Airbnb. Despite being designed in SPA (Single Page Application), the ViO website is able to display its content during loading. This feature makes the system fast, effective and stable, bringing out the best user experience.

All APIs have been redesigned using GraphQL instead of the traditional RESTful API. GraphQL solves many of Restful API’s shortcomings, for examples the ability to customize queries to reduce bandwidth or to suit different platforms (web, mobile, server), reducing system complexity during development and maintenance.

The new ViOlympic is deployed using Docker, a tool to combine, deliver and run applications in independent containers. These containers run concurrently on the operating system kernel and share system resources, thus operations are smoother and faster than the traditional virtual network. With the advantages of easy packaging and deployment, Docker saves the development team a lot of time and resources.

The layer diagram.

Moreover, the team also applied other modern tools, technologies, and processes such as Jest, Webpack, pm2, NewRelic, etc. After the first phase of redevelopment, the new Violympic has solved many problems from the old one.

Monitoring the system workload and performance in real-time.

Improve user experiences

By consolidating all of its applications on violympic.vn instead of having them on separate sites, the ViO team can manage the system effectively and expansion to other subjects is easy. Having all three subjects on the same website not only helps the maintenance process but also optimizes server usage. It is also more convenient for parents and students to have a single point of access to all ViO subjects.

The new ViOlympic features improved security as well as storage and automatic checking of all questions and answers submitted to the server side, which prevents cheating and provides easy support for student complaints.

On the administrative side, the question database is restructured into different question banks, filtered by school year and game types. Creating and managing questions can be done on the website instead of a desktop application, which enables educational crowdsourcing in the future. Teachers from different places can create and submit questions, making the question banks plentiful and diverse.

Transform to Smart EdTech Platform

In 2018 and the following years, the project team will continue adding new features to ViOlympic such as a knowledge graph, Big data and Artificial Intelligence applications to personalize learning and assessment, providing the student with a tailored self-improvement roadmap.

Knowledge management and assessment of the knowledge graph.

ViOlympic still commits to the mission to ViOlympic’s long-term goal is to become a Smart Edtech platform, provide a better online education platform for millions of Vietnamese students. Additionally, the ViO team is determined to continue pioneering with new features and offers effective solutions for the improvement of national education.

About ViOlympic’s technical team:

ViOlympic is a project under FPT Technology Innovation Department, focusing on research, developing and applying technologies in the education industry. The mission of ViOlympic is to connect technology and education researchers, bring the latest technologies to educational activities. Currently, team project focus on Big Data, Analytics, Adaptive Learning.

(Published on the FPT Technology Magazine, FPT TechInsight No.2)

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