Category Archives: Company Watch

by

What’s in an Ed-Tech Name? Here’s All U Need 2Gnō

The name of the company was 2gnōME.

2gnōME is pronounced “to know me,” according to the company’s website (although in my head it sounds more like a vinyl recording of some actual word playing in reverse). It is a pun on the word “gnōme,” which means “thought” in Greek. There’s a “2” in the mix as well because we live in The Future now.

The company’s product is a “feedback platform with novel methodologies that assess ‘soft’ skills and qualities, based on situations and behavior,” according to i…

by

QuickWire: Desire2Learn Rebrands and Adds Partners

The education-technology company Desire2Learn said on Monday that it was renaming its learning-management system, which will now be called Brightspace, and adding assorted features, including game-based learning. The company also said it was teaming up with IBM to improve Desire2Learn’s predictive analytics and with Microsoft to add a Windows 8 mobile app for e-books to Desire2Learn’s offerings.

by

QuickWire: Blackboard Swallows a Small Competitor

The course-management and campus-technology heavyweight Blackboard said on Wednesday that it was acquiring Perceptis, a competitor in the helpdesk and student-services markets. With call centers in South Carolina and Arizona, Perceptis has customers both in higher education and in other sectors. Blackboard said the acquisition would “enhance a service model that the industry needs: one that fully supports students from the first moment they are interested in a school to the day they graduate.”

by

Ed-Tech Companies Oppose U.S. Agency’s Plan to End Net Neutrality

Four educational-technology businesses have filed objections to a Federal Communications Commission plan under which companies could pay extra to have their content delivered more quickly over the Internet.

The companies said in a joint news release that ending the current policy of net neutrality in favor of high-speed toll lanes and slower free lanes would make it possible for “entrenched education players such as for-profit giants in higher education” and “expensive traditional universities” …

by

QuickWire: Deal Adds Campus-Security Features to Blackboard App

Students and campus-security officials alike are increasingly turning to mobile apps to report incidents and disseminate emergency information—in part because students are “mobile-device driven,” as one university police chief puts it, and in part because those devices incorporate features, like GPS and cameras, that can come in handy when reporting a problem.

Now Blackboard, the course-management heavyweight, is setting up a partnership that will incorporate an app called In Case of Crisis into…

by

QuickWire: Chegg Buys Online-Tutoring Site

Chegg Inc., which hopes to become a soup-to-nuts “student hub,” said on Tuesday morning that it would buy InstaEDU for $30-million in cash.

InstaEDU, which was founded in 2011 and has 20 employees, proposes to connect students with “awesome tutors” in 2,500 subjects who are available around the clock for as little as 40 cents a minute. “Upload any assignment and work through it together,” the site promises. In its news release announcing the purchase, Chegg says the tutors “have been individuall…

by

Middlebury Faculty Seeks to Cut Ties With Online-Education Company

The faculty at Middlebury College last week took a stand against the Vermont institution’s partnership with K12, an online-education company that has been helping the college turn its reputation as a language-instruction mecca into a business venture.

The professors voted, 95 to 16, to end the relationship with the company.

“The business practices of K12 Inc. are at odds with the integrity, reputation, and educational mission of the college,” wrote Paula Schwartz, a professor of French, in her r…

by

Coursera Co-Founder Takes a Job at ‘China’s Google’

Coursera, the online-education company, announced on Friday that one of its founders, Andrew Ng, was taking a third job, as chief scientist at Baidu, an Internet giant often called “China’s Google.” The announcement came about a month after Richard C. Levin, the former president of Yale University, became Coursera’s chief executive.

“With a strong executive team in place at Coursera, Andrew is taking this opportunity to pursue other interests in his career,” the company said in a statement.

Mr. …

by

QuickWire: Blackboard Deal Will Make Digital Resources Available

Blackboard, the company that produces a leading learning-management platform, has announced a partnership with Discovery Education Higher Ed, an arm of Discovery Communications, the Discovery Channel’s parent. The two companies aim to engage students and faculty members through the use of digital media.

The collaboration will give professors access to the more than 90,000 digital resources available at Discovery Education, including videos, images, and audio-learning guides, says a news release….

by

Google Disables Scanning of Student Email for Advertising Purposes

Under pressure from privacy advocates, Google announced on Wednesday that it had permanently removed all ads from its Apps for Education, including its email service, so the company can no longer harvest students’ information for advertising purposes.

Google had previously given college administrators the option of allowing the company to scan student Gmail accounts for key words and to deliver targeted advertisements to those students. But since few administrators are likely to have taken advan…