At universities, educational software largely means enterprise-scale, expensive, feature-stuffed “learning management systems.” Blackboard has the majority of the market, but professors and students are about as enthusiastic about its various updates, crashes, and bugs as people are with the latest version of Windows (Blackboard scores a whopping 93% “hated” rating on website Amplicate).
Last week, a new alternative was launched–built by students–that looks and works a lot more like the social platforms people actually choose to use in their spare time. The core of the site is a constantly updated social Stream where instructors and students can conduct discussions or easily post rich media. Picture a cleaner-looking Facebook news feed, centered on a single academic theme, or a group Tumblr blog where each picture, question, or video can accumulate its own discussion in the attached comment thread.
“We wanted to create a simple, elegant LMS that covers 95% of instructors’ needs, like grading, file management, calendaring, submitting assignments, and emailing with the class,” says Joseph Cohen, 19, who left Wharton after his sophomore year when he scored $1 million in seed funding this past June to start Coursekit. “Blackboard covers 100%– that’s why it’s such a cluttered platform.”