Codecademy, the startup that makes an interactive and social web application aimed at teaching people how to write computer code, has gone the platform route.
On Monday, the company debuted Course Creator, a platform that allows anyone to make educational courses to teach programming techniques. Up until now, Codecademy, which launched in the summer 2011 class of Y Combinator, has developed all of its programming courses in-house.
Codecademy Course Creator screenshot (click to enlarge)
Codecademy co-founder and CEO Zach Sims tells me that the company has received thousands of requests from users keen to build their own coursework on the site, and views the launch of Course Creator as a major step in the company’s growth. “This is probably the biggest announcement we’ve made yet,” Sims said in an email Monday. “We’re going from being a content company (creating courses) to becoming a platform for others to create courses.”
With the huge amount of user demand that Codecademy has seen since its launch only five months ago — the site has one million users and counting — the shift to become a platform play is a very smart one. Codecademy has just six full-time staff members, so its in-house ability to build courses was naturally limited. Now the company can become a full on ecosystem to facilitate education between its own users.
The financial implications here are interesting, too. Codecademy hasn’t started making any money yet, but down the line, the company has said it could charge for premium courses and services. Now, there’s potential for user-created courses to be part of a future Codecademy premium section. It would be nice to see Codecademy’s Course Creator evolve to become a revenue sharing platform — a place where people can teach others an increasingly important skill, and make some money while doing it.
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