YourAgora

Questions & Answers

What is Your Agora?
Your Agora is an online platform that lets teachers of English as a second language quickly and easily find, create, share and organize all sorts of multimedia educational material and then and assign it to their students.

What does 'agora' mean?
'Agora' is a Greek word that literally means 'gathering place' and was used to denote the central square of a city where people would meet to do business, socialize and share ideas. Socrates famously spent a great deal of time in the agora of Athens challenging the wise and inspiring the youth. The Roman equivalent was called a forum.

How is 'agora' pronounced properly?
We pronounce it much the same way one would pronounce 'a door' with the emphasis on 'door' since this is the more typical English way of pronouncing the word and since it sounds better with 'your' that way. The more classical pronunciation sounds more like 'apple' with the emphasis on the 'a'. You can pronounce it either way. We won't hold it against you.

What's with the logo?
The symbol is a 'Y' and an 'A' together. The graphic is meant to evoke a compass changing color as it spins providing direction and orientation in an open field full of possibility.

Who is Your Agora for?
Your Agora is presently designed for teachers of English as a second language and their students. If you are an educator in another discipline and think Your Agora would be great for you, let us know.

Can anyone use Your Agora?
Your Agora offers two 'panels'. Only teachers can use and access the teacher's panel and only their students can access the student panel. Teacher's must fill out an application to gain access and students are invited to specific courses by their teachers. There is no platform for the general public.

Can Your Agora be used without a teacher?
Nope. You need a teacher to use the system.

Can Your Agora be used without access to the internet?
At the very minimum, teachers will need access to the internet. If students are lacking internet access, teachers can print material out for them.

Why does It say 'Your Agora (Beta)' on the teacher/student panel?
This is our first fully-operational version of the teacher and student panels. There are still a lot of features we'd like to add and some kinks to iron out. Consequently, if you encounter some problem, think we could be better or would like to see an additional feature, please let us know by clicking here: Contact Us.

How much does this cost?
Nothing! It's Free!

Free, eh? What's your angle?
Well, there are a number of angles we are exploring, actually. What we decide on depends on the public reception we get. What we can promise though is that we will not place ads on the platforms and it will always be free for teachers to use.

It’s a lot to take in. Could you explain what Your Agora does in ten words or less?
We’re doing for teachers what Photoshop does for photographers.

This is a great idea. I think I'll steal it and make my own version.
Hey man/lady, thanks, but that's not cool and not a good idea. Aside from whatever legal measures we might decide to take, you will also have to contend with the many new features we already have in the works and will be rolling out in the future. It'll be tough to keep up. Besides, why work against us when you can work with us? Drop us a line at collaborate@youragora.com. I'm sure there is something we and an ambitious go-getter such as yourself could arrange to our mutual benefit.

I'm a copyright holder. Is there a way to add my content to Your Agora and is there any benefit to me if I do?
There is no way to make or encourage teachers use your content but you can make it available to them by putting it in our catalog. You may want to do this to make your material known to a wider, non-commercial audience, to support education or for other reasons. Whatever the case, you will retain all rights and are free to change your mind later on. To add your material to Your Agora, contact us at collaborate@youragora.com. For more information on our terms and conditions see Legal.

Who are the people behind Your Agora?
Your Agora is a U.S. startup run by two Americans and a Brazilian. You can learn more about us on the About Us page.

Where are you based?
We are currently both in Moscow, Russia. We have chosen Moscow as our test market due to our experience with living in Russia and because of the size of the ESL educational market there. Of course everyone is welcome to join Your Agora, but if you work in Moscow, let us know. We'll be holding events and would be happy to come do a demo at your school.

Can I invest in Your Agora?
Well.. We are a growing company with ambitious goals building on an innovative platform. If you feel you can bring something to the table, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at collaborate@youragora.com.

What does Your Agora offer to teachers?

  • Complete integration of multimedia into the classroom and homework. Audio, videos and pictures can all be used in abundance with our powerful yet user-friendly platform.
  • Total control of the content that students see. Use it just to share links or to do final exams. It's all up to you, the teacher.
  • Modification and customization of existing material. Target your student's interests and needs more effectively and efficiently.
  • Creation of your own material. Make your own material quickly and easily.
  • A powerful organizational tool. Teachers can find things they have done in the past quickly and easily. Teachers and students can easily print out material at any time.
  • The ability to share and exchange material with a dynamic online community of teachers from across the world.
  • Less time grading. Results are auto-graded instantly, saving you valuable time and eliminating the monotonous grading of homework, classwork, tests, and other material.

Am I going to lose my job/clients to this platform?
No way! Unlike so many online programs, Your Agora seeks to empower teachers and put them in the driver’s seat. The only danger is not using it and losing a job or students to teachers who are.

Is this going to make my job harder?
Just the opposite. It may take a bit of time to learn, but once you get the hang of it, Your Agora makes many elements of teaching so much easier than anything else out there.

I'm already an experienced, capable teacher and I have my own methods that I am quite comfortable with. Why should I use Your Agora?
Well, if you've already got a system down pat, maybe you don't need Your Agora. Before you go though, let me ask you a few questions:

  • How much time do you spend grading papers?
  • Do you give less homework than you should because it means grading fewer papers?
  • Do you incorporate audio and video into your assignments?
  • Are you meeting all the needs of your students or presenting everyone with the same generic material?
  • How creative are your lessons?
  • How do you know your stuff is so good? Do you get much feedback from students or other teachers?
  • What will happen to all the great material you have made after you retire or move on to another career?
Depending on how you answered these questions, perhaps you should give Your Agora a try after all.

How is this any different from any other educational site/program/platform/book?
Firstly, Your Agora is a teacher-oriented system. We don't have a fixed curriculum or program that a teacher must follow. The content assigned is whatever the teacher wants it to be. This means that everything a student sees is curated for them by their teacher for their specific course.

Secondly, Your Agora focuses more on delivering the tools for creating and sharing material than it does on the material itself. Much like Wikipedia, we believe that given the opportunity, a large community of dedicated teachers coming together will do a much better job of providing material than a small group of experts and their publishers.

Thirdly, we are not ad-based. There are no distracting popups or advertisements masquerading as material.

It seems kind of complicated. Why bother?
Anything new can seem daunting at first. Think of how your students trying to learn English feel! However, the payoff is huge and it's much easier to master than a language. We also have a number of video tutorials that will walk you through the system which you can find here: Video Tutorials. Once you really get into it, we're certain you'll begin to wonder how you ever did without it.

Will Your Agora work for Skype/online teachers?
Most definitely! Since your students are already at their computers, using Your Agora is a perfect way to organize and structure your class and homework assignments.

Can I still use Your Agora if my students don't have regular access to the internet?
Yes you can. As long as you have access to the internet and a printer, you can always print out whatever you like. This means you won't get to use the auto-grade feature but you can still use our system to find, create and organize great course material.

Can I use Your Agora with my younger students?
Certainly. The Student Panel is very simple to use and the content is entirely controlled by you. If the parental concern of 'too much time on the computer' is an issue, materials can be printed out and used the old-fashioned way while still taking advantage of the organizational and creation tools Your Agora offers.

Can Your Agora be used with other programs or teaching material?
Absolutely, the material is all customizable, the platform is flexible, and able to be integrated into any course program.

Can I keep my content to myself or do I have to share it with other teachers?
We encourage teachers to share their work with the YA community because feedback and input is an important part of developing quality material. Anything you save to the catalog will be shared with all other teachers. If you want though, you can keep your changes to your self by assigning material directly to your course while in edit mode. See our Video tutorials for more information.

Can I upload copyrighted content?
The short answer is no. The longer answer is maybe. Excerpts of texts and articles may fall under fair use terms and many sources of material protected by copyright will allow you to use their material as long as you give them credit and link back to their site. For video, we only support Youtube embeds which means we follow Youtube's rules. Most ESL sources, printed or digital, will be much less happy to see their material on Your Agora. We advise you avoid directly copying exercises or activities from other sites or books. You may certainly find inspiration in the work of others but please don't copy and paste someone else's quizzes or tests unless you know they are ok with it. If you are uncertain of the whether you can add a particular piece of content, the best thing to do is ask the source. Here is a form letter you can use:

Dear (name of copyright holder).

I am an English teacher who is interested in using your (article/music/book/video/exercise/quiz/etc.) as part of an assignment for one of my classes. I would like to use it to (way you plan to use the material). I will make the assignment on the online teacher's platform www.youragora.com where other teachers will also be able to find and use my assignment and your (material) for their classes. Only my students, other teachers and their students will be able to access the assignment. Your work will be used for educational purposes only, and will not be shown with or used for advertisements. You will also be cited as the author of the (material) and a link will be provided back to your site. You can also change your mind for any reason in the future and your (material) will be removed. You can learn more about Your Agora by going to http://www.youragora.com/faq.

Thank you for the amazing (material). I await your response and hope you can oblige,

Sincerely,

(Your Name)

For more information see Legal.

How much does Your Agora cost?
Your Agora is completely free for teachers.

How do I sign up?
To join Your Agora, please fill out the application form here: Apply as a Teacher Once you're approved, you can create a course, invite students and add assignments.

There's a feature I'd really like to have. Can you make it?
Sure we can! Let us know what it is by clicking here: Contact Us and we'll get on it. It may take us some time, but we're always looking to improve.

What does Your Agora offer to my institution?
With the tremendous benefit to both teachers and students, schools using Your Agora will have a substantial competitive advantage over those who don't. More multimedia integration in and after class with more responsive feedback and less time grading means less stressed, more effective teachers and happier students. You can be at the vanguard now, attract better teachers and more students or risk trying to play catch-up later.

Why should I encourage my teachers to use Your Agora in their courses?

  • Our system conforms to the needs of the teacher and program. Rather than having to train your teachers to teach using our methodology, Your Agora is designed to fit into the curriculum and goals you and your teachers have already established.
  • Your Agora encourages lazy teachers to do more and be better by making their work easier.
  • We help hard-working teachers better organize and find their material.
  • Our catalog of material is open to all teachers to add to and improve upon giving an unprecedented level of freedom, feedback and creative license to every teacher equally.
  • Our catalog seamlessly integrates assessment activities with audio, video, images and texts
  • For most material, students get their results back instantly rather than having to wait for their teachers to grade it.
  • Students can redo their assignments as many times as they like making each assignment of greater educational value.

My teachers weren't super excited about this. What gives?
Teachers are used to online systems favored by school administrators that make their work more difficult and give them less control. I’m sure you’re a great guy/gal but they’re probably suspicious. If you need some help just let us know. We might be able to come to your school to do a demo and we are certainly available for online presentations.

Are you trying to steal our teachers and students away? Is this a Trojan Horse?
No way. Unlike many other online resources, we’re not designed to compete with or replace schools or teachers but rather to make them better.

How is this any different from any other educational site/program/platform/book?
Firstly, Your Agora is a teacher-oriented system. We don't have a fixed curriculum or program that a teacher must follow. The content assigned is whatever the teacher wants it to be. This means that everything a student sees is curated for them by their teacher for their specific course.

Secondly, Your Agora focuses more on delivering the tools for creating and sharing material than it does on the material itself. Much like Wikipedia, we believe that given the opportunity, a large community of dedicated teachers coming together will do a much better job of providing material than a small group of experts and their publishers.

Thirdly, we’re not ad-based. There are no distracting popups or advertisements masquerading as material.

Can we integrate Your Agora with our particular program/curriculum?
Yes, Your Agora is designed to be integrated with any program because the platform is highly customizable. Teachers can easily tailor their courses to their and your needs.

What educational standards does Your Agora have?
The content of Your Agora is open to any and all teachers to do with as they wish. This means it is the responsibility of the teacher to choose and create material that meets the standards of their institutions.

How much is this going to cost me?
Nothing! It's Free!

Is Your Agora appropriate for young learners?
Yes. The student app is very easy to use with only a few easy-to-learn buttons. And like every other course, the content can be tailored specifically to young learners of any age. If the parental concern of 'too much time on the computer' is an issue, materials can be printed out and used the old-fashioned way.

Come on. What's the catch? If it's free, how do you plan on making money?
Our business model depends on the growth and support of a large and open community of teachers. We will not do anything to jeopardize that. As we grow, we hope to offer premium services that provide even more value to teachers and schools.

Now that you mention it, I have some ideas on things Your Agora could do that would make my life a lot easier.
Yeah. We were thinking the same thing. Let us know at Contact Us and we’ll prioritize those features.