Category Archives: Company Watch

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New Social Network Is All College, All the Time

Once upon a time, Facebook was reserved for college students only. A new social network is trying to reboot that idea, with a college-only service called Friendsy.

The service is the creation of two Princeton University undergraduates, Michael Pinsky and Vaidhy Murti, who hope to help facilitate connections among college students who might otherwise never meet.

“It’s kind of nice and reassuring to know that there’s a network of people just like you out there who are trying to meet other pe…

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Meet the New, Self-Appointed MOOC Accreditors: Google and Instagram

Some of the biggest MOOC producers, including Daphne Koller’s Coursera, may have figured out how to get employers to accept free online courses as credentials: Get big-name companies to help design them. (Neilson Barnard, Getty Images, for The New York Times)

A big question for MOOCs, the free online courses that hundreds of colleges now offer, is whether employers will take them seriously as credentials. But some of the biggest MOOC producers may have figured out how to jump-start employer buy-…

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App Gives Students an Incentive to Keep Their Phones Locked in Class

screen568x568Resisting the urge to pull out your phone in class is quite difficult for many students, apparently. There are texts to answer, emails to read, snapchats to send, and rude comments to post on Yik Yak. But two students at California State University at Chico have created something they hope will persuade students to keep their phones tucked firmly in their pockets: An app that rewards them with coupons for local businesses when they exhibit self-control and leave their phones untouched during cla…

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Do ‘Brain Training’ Games Work? It Depends on Which Scientists You Ask

Just two months after a group of neuroscientists criticized commercially available brain games, a different group of scientists released an open letter on Wednesday saying the products do show promise.

In October the Stanford Center on Longevity and nearly 70 scientists issued a statement objecting to claims that such games “offer consumers a scientifically grounded avenue to reduce or reverse cognitive decline.”

In response, more than 120 scientists have now signed an open letter to the Stanfor…

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An App to Make Career Counseling More Like a Video Game

JobVille
Diana Cobbe believes she has a way to help students communicate their skills to potential employers: Make filling out an online résumé feel more like a video game than like paperwork, and use it to connect students looking for jobs with businesses looking for talent. In short, she’s created an app that she describes as a mix of Candy Crush and LinkedIn.

“In college, kids leave the job-search process for the last minute,” Ms. Cobbe says. “They’re in a situation where they don’t find o…

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Coursera Expands Its MOOC Certificate Program

Coursera, the online education company, announced on Wednesday that it was expanding a program that awards special certificates to students who pass multiple MOOCs.

The company unveiled the program, called Specializations, earlier this year. The idea was to create certificates that, while not supplanting traditional degrees, carry more weight than a certificate of completion from a single massive open online course.

The program, which requires learners to take Coursera’s fee-based “Signature Tra…

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3 ‘Game Changing’ Ideas From an Ed-Tech Start-Up Competition

Orlando, Fla. — More than two dozen start-up technology companies exhibited at this week’s Educause conference, making their pitches in a section of the exhibit hall the group calls “start-up alley.” Some of the companies are led by recent graduates, others by professors, and many competed in the group’s Game Changers Business Competition.

Here are three ideas from start-up alley that stood out:

Automate test proctoring: Many colleges with online programs have turned to technology in recent year…

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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…

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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.

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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.”