“Coursera is basically a platform for online teaching, not online learning,” says Paulo Blikstein, a professor at Columbia University who studies new educational technologies. “I’m surprised there are lots of features that just aren’t there, even after all these years.”
Software like Class addresses these shortcomings by integrating learning and teaching tools into Zoom. The software is aimed at K-12 students, although it can also be used for higher education and vocational training. Earlier this year, the company announced $ 30 million in Series A funding to increase the launch across multiple platforms and to get the software out to 7,500 educational institutions that have shown interest in purchasing it.
Class Manager Michael Chasen (who was the former CEO of Blackboard, another educational engineering learning management firm) consulted education professionals from all grades and across all topics to develop the software. “Their needs seemed pretty universal,”
Perhaps the first and most notable is Podium View. Instead of being buried in a gallery view, the class instructor is now placed on a podium to the side of the class. For younger students like my daughter, who find themselves overwhelmed by speaking in front of a large group of people, the instructor has asymmetrical control over the view – they can dim all students, activate a “privacy view” so other students can not see all other low funny faces , and incorporates external content into the lessons. All of this makes it much easier for parents to “drop off” their younger children at the computer.
For older students, in addition to only instructor tools such as participation, student literacy in the gallery view, and various forms of data analysis, the instructor can also pull students aside for one-on-one interaction, organize breakout room discussions in small groups, and incorporate click quizzes into the lecture.
You can see similar features in Engageli, another online learning platform that gathered approx. $ 15 million in funding last year. Founder and CEO Dan Avida’s platform is intended for university educators rather than K-12, but it has many similar features such as asymmetric control.
Engageli also claims to ease dozens of the instructor’s pain points. For example, course teachers are able to monitor students from multiple screens, making it much easier to organize a large class. Students can download their notes and screenshots directly from Engageli and to collaborative Google Docs. And instead of using eye-tracking software or other potential intrusions into students’ privacy, an engagement meter gives students anonymous self-reporting interest.