The founder of Blackboard, the virtual learning management system, has launched ClassEDU, which is designed to improve learning delivered via the popular video-conferencing platform Zoom.

The add-on, Class for Zoom, is “designed, not just marketed, for the classroom”, the founder and chief executive of ClassEDU, Michael Chasen told TechCrunch.

It enables teachers to create more engaging, live-synchronous learning, with instruction and management tools in one place. This includes the option of launching live assignments, quizzes and tests, which can be completed by students in real-time.

While Class for Zoom is an add-on to the video-conferencing platform, it’s an entirely independent company.

Class for Zoom has raised $16 million in its seed round, co-led by Deborah Quazzo of GSV Ventures, Santi Subotovsky of Emergence Capital and a current Zoom board member. The business is also backed by Zoom’s early investors Jim Scheinman of Maven Partners and Bill Tai, who was Zoom’s first committed backer.

During the pandemic, Zoom has become a well-known phenomenon, used by workers and students worldwide. Schools have used Zoom as a way of delivering learning online, which has proven less successful in the long-term.

Chasen said he got the idea just weeks after the pandemic closed schools and his children were studying from home. He said that remote education on Zoom did not give teachers the ability to engage a classroom through activities, mini-group projects and one-on-one discussions, but were instead “stuck to one screen”.

“If I told you that the majority of classes being held online today, teachers couldn’t take attendance, hand out assignments, give a test or a quiz, grade anything or talk one on one with students, you would say how is teaching and learning even happening?” he told TechCrunch.

Chasen, who founded Blackboard when he was in college, said Zoom had become the “de facto industry standard in education” during the pandemic.

He would not disclose the exact cost of using the platform, but said it is a work in progress to find an affordable price point. The founder said it will charge a subscription fee.

Date published: 24 September 2020

Continue reading

Subscribe to get unlimited digital access.


Already a subscriber? Login