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New Course-Management Software Promises Facebook-Like Experience

Three University of Pennsylvania students who recently dropped out to start an upstart course-management system today unveiled their software, called Coursekit, after having raised more than $1-million in venture capital.

The trio, frustrated with the systems offered by universities, such as Blackboard, decided to team up and design their own online course platform, which emphasizes social networking and an easy-to-use interface. By May, the founders, Joesph Cohen, Dan Getelman, and Jim Grandpre, had raised so much start-up cash, from sources including the Founder Collective and IA Ventures, that they decided to quit school to focus on developing Coursekit.

Thirty universities tested Coursekit this fall, including Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania.

Coursekit offers a platform for hosting discussions, posting grades and syllabi, sharing calendars and links, and creating student profiles. The company has hired 80 student ambassadors to introduce the new course-management system to students at colleges across the country.

The software is one of several new challengers to Blackboard, which is used by a majority of U.S. colleges. In October, Pearson announced OpenClass, a free course-management system, and last year a Utah company called Instructure unveiled Canvas, which is available under an open-source license.

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