A couple weeks ago we talked about Coursekit, a platform for creating a compelling and social way for professors and students to communicate outside of the classroom. This type of platform fosters communications and technology usage that has been lacking in the realm of academia. Iversity is a new cloud-based higher education course-management platform that merges an online workspace and a social network.
With a team of highly decorated advisors, tech and management directors and developed by an interdisciplinary and international team of 20 young graduates, iversity is providing tools for academic collaboration and interaction that standard e-learning systems do not provide (e.g. live pdf-annotation, collaboration across institutions). By bridging the communication gap across institutional boundaries, iversity is reviving the original vision of the Internet: to facilitate communication within academia. Watch the video below to see how it works.
While Coursekit and iversity in many ways are like two peas in a pod, neither of the two companies is a copycat of the other. Instead they spontaneously emerged on both sides of the Atlantic, due to the same motive: frustration with the tools students have access to today. I think that would have been a good story and a fair representation of what’s going on.
With little strong change in the campus life of educational collaboration, iversity is bringing the campus experience online. Iversity has built an online workspace for faculty and students to utilize digital infrastructure to improve teaching and learning. For faculty the platform lets them:
- easily setup a course website, which allows for the upload of teaching materials to engage students away from the classroom,
- share comments and feedback without having to setup a CMS or blog,
- put out announcements.
For Students it allows them to:
- interact with course materials easily and at any time in one place,
- engage other students for social learning,
- build an archive of materials for problem-discussions on the cloud.
Building a social network can be a challenging feat, but iversity and Coursekit are making huge strides toward building an online and easily accessible campus lifestyle. These collaboration networks for academia are making it free and easier to organize courses, research groups and conferences for the betterment of student learning. Since iversity’s inception as a university spin-off, 11,000 faculty members and students have used the beta-version of iversity. Having raised 1.1 million Euros of funding in July of 2011. Education is getting a huge boost from talented developers and entrepreneurs looking to advance academia – as they look to attain their goals of becoming the cutting-edge infrastructures for international research.