Category Archives: Company Watch

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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.”

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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” …

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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…

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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…

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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…