“Coursera is basically a platform for online teaching, not online learning,” said Paulo Blixtein, a professor at Columbia University who studies new educational technologies. “I’m surprised there are a lot of features that just don’t exist, even after all these years.”
Software such as Class addresses these missing features 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 corporate training. Earlier this year, the company announced $ 30 million in Serie A funding to accelerate its launch on multiple platforms and provide the software to 7,500 educational institutions that have expressed interest in purchasing it.
Class CEO Michael Chassen (who was the former CEO of Blackboard, another educational technology management company) consulted with education professionals of all levels and on all topics to develop the software. “Their needs seemed pretty universal,”
Perhaps the first and most noticeable is Podium View. Instead of being buried in a gallery view, the class instructor is now placed on a podium by the side of the class. For younger students like my daughter, who find themselves too tired to speak in front of a large group of people, the instructor has asymmetrical control over the view – they can mute all students, turn on the “privacy” view so that other students can’t see all left to make funny faces and include external content in the lessons. All this makes it much easier for parents to “leave” their younger children in front of the computer.
For older students, in addition to tools designed only for teachers, such as attendance, students in alphabetical order in the gallery view and various forms of data analysis, the instructor can also withdraw students for individual interactions, organize students in room discussions in small groups and include click tests in the lecture.
You can see similar features in Engageli, another online learning platform that raised about $ 15 million in funding last year. Founder and CEO Dan Avida’s platform is designed for university professors, not K-12, but has many similar features such as asymmetric control.
Engageli also claims to relieve dozens of instructor pain points. For example, course instructors can observe students from multiple screens, which makes it easier to organize a large class. Students can download their notes and screenshots directly from Engageli and in shared Google documents. Instead of using eye-tracking software or other potential intrusions into students’ privacy, the engagement indicator allows students to self-report anonymously.