Archive for the ‘support’ tag
In the past, online courses and degree programs were viewed as low quality or financially unsustainable, but a variety of factors are now allowing online programs to flourish. Universities throughout the country are adopting School as a Service (SaaS) programs, which offer a way to build, market, and manage online degree programs. A number of technological advancements—as well as a new generation of tech-savvy students—have made it easier for professors and students to work together online.
These programs are attractive because they allow students to access higher education in a more affordable, convenient way. Online learning makes it possible for professors and students to share information and work together via collaborative workspaces, chat features, social networking, and mobile devices.
In the last decade, the online education market has grown significantly and actually outpaced university enrollment. The Babson survey found 6.1 million students—or 31 percent of total post-secondary enrollment—were taking at least one online college course in Fall 2010. In addition, data from Eduventures suggests that in 2010, nearly 14 percent of college students took more than 80 percent of their college courses online, and nearly 30 percent of graduate students are enrolled in online classes.
These numbers show the growing popularity of school-as-a-service programs. But which companies are leading the pack? While some have been offering online educational services for years, most have sprung up only recently. Check out a few of the top organizations making waves in SaaS:
This startup is the first of its kind to offer full degree programs online at top-tier universities, and it comes highly funded. In April, 2tor’s total investments were just under $97 million. The service partners with universities to help them build, market, and manage their own online degree programs.
2tor creates programs only for top-tier universities and has partnered with just four universities to date — the University of Southern California, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Washington University in St. Louis, and Georgetown University. So far, 2tor has built six online master’s degree programs in business, nursing, social work, law, public administration, and education. 2tor’s exclusivity is allowing it to lead the way as a top-tier SaaS provider.
2. Academic Partnerships
Academic Partnerships works with post-secondary institutions to develop and market online programs, much like other SaaS startups. But this company is distinguished by the fact that it focuses exclusively on public institutions. In the past, public universities weren’t apt to adopt the online model, but in recent years, they’ve been using SaaS to reach a higher number of learners.
Since 2008, Academic Partnerships has partnered with nearly 25 public universities across the country, including Arkansas State University and Ohio University. Its web-based, public model stands to play a significant role in increasing access to higher education for all in the coming years.
3. Altius Education
Many American students enrolled at community colleges intend to transfer eventually to a larger institution to earn a bachelor’s degree, but only 20 percent ever actually do. Altius Education serves to address this problem. The institution is the co-owner (with Tiffin University) of a for-profit online degree program, Ivy Bridge College, which grants associate degrees in the hope that students will ultimately complete their education.
The company is filling the gaps in the community college model and was designed specifically to provide the necessary support structures to help students meet their goal of completing a four-year program. Altius currently graduates or transfers about 60 percent of its students, significantly higher than levels at community colleges. The organization’s online model, along with its counseling and support services, are allowing it to truly stand out in the SaaS space.
4. Deltak Edu
Founded 15 years ago, Deltak remains a long-standing provider of online education. The company offers its services to both public and private nonprofit universities. It uses market research to identify programs with a strong student demand that also meet the goals of partner institutions.
Since its founding, Deltak has partnered with 24 institutions and developed more than 90 online programs. The company has recently employed social media marketing tactics to draw in students, who then work with Deltak program managers to make an informed decision about which program fits their needs. The company’s 24-hour support services and overall commitment to efficiency show this SaaS company will likely enjoy continued growth in the years to come.
As higher education becomes increasingly expensive, school-as-a-service opportunities are projected to grow significantly. Though they were scarce only a decade ago, these online opportunities are transforming the way students learn and progress.
Would you consider earning a degree online? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in a comment below.
Zev Gotkin is an entrepreneur and founder of L’Mala, a writing firm specializing in website content development, blogs, branding and social media promotion. He can be reached at email@example.com.
[Top image credit: jcjgphotography/Shutterstock]
Filed under: VentureBeat
Strong Passwords Aren’t Enough: How to to Ensure the Apple and Amazon Exploit Never Happens to You [Video]
This weekend, former Gizmodo writer Mat Honan lived every tech geeks worst nightmare: he got hacked, with all his accounts compromised and his computers wiped with no backup. The scary part: No “real” hacking was involved—all it took was a few support calls to Apple and Amazon and nearly all his most important accounts were compromised. Here’s everything you need to do now to keep this from happening to you. More »
Tripl’s apps are the cure for the staycation blues: They connect to your Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and other social media accounts to keep you informed of where your friends are traveling through beautiful daily digests. The company also recently added support for Instagram, which has buoyed the amount of geo-tagged data in Tripl’s database.
While there’s a good chance Tripl’s apps will make you seethe with jealousy, the company hopes to inspire users to travel more as well.
Getting started with Tripl’s iPhone and iPad apps is easy: Simply log in with your Facebook account, then connect to your other social media accounts from within the apps. The apps sport a simple and elegant interface — building on the company’s gorgeous web app — allowing you to scroll through your friends’ travel stories. You can comment, bookmark, and like stories on your feed. And since Tripl is pulling information from existing social media sites, your friends don’t have to be signed up to Tripl for their data to show up.
In many ways, Tripl’s data works better on the small screen, since it’s just a swipe away from the apps powering its travel data. Tripl founder and CEO Peter Sullivan tells me the company “relies 100 percent on mobile data,” so it’s paying special attention to its mobile experience. He also hinted that the company is working on new mobile features that will be useful once you’re on a trip.
Founded in 2009 in Stockholm, Sweden, Tripl was initially focused on pairing travelers with locals. Last month, it pivoted to focus on friend travel stories. The company has since learned just how valuable its travel data is, which is enticing travel companies to integrate with its technology, Sullivan said. Tripl boasts that it has analyzed and indexed more than 500,000 trips so far and has filtered through more than 2 million pieces of geo-tagged content.
The company was a member of DreamIt Venture’s NYC summer class and will be on-stage tomorrow at DreamIt’s demo day.
Tripl raised $300,000 from three angel investors in Sweden last year as well as $300,000 in debt financing from High Peak Venture Partners and Quotidian Capital in March. The company has also received a private investment from a pro poker player, as well as a grant from the Swedish government.
There are now numerous crowdfunding platforms helping new and small businesses to find the capital they need, and we’ve seen hyper-local one-project-a-week efforts before in the shape of Lucky Ant. With a similar objective, Smallknot helps neighborhood enterprises to create their own funding projects, with reward packages for pledgers.
Taking its inspiration from the popular Kickstarter crowdfunding site, businesses can upload details about a project they are looking to undertake, as well as set the funding goal and time limit for backers to place a donation. Smallknot aims to help local businesses connect with fans and gain new custom by offering products or services in return for providing financial support. For example, a USD 25 investment in a local bar in Brooklyn currently rewards backers with USD 35 bar tab and a free bowl of pretzels as a thank you, while a USD 250 pledge gains donors a party for eight people. An extra incentive to get involved is provided through the fact that support translates into improvement in their neighborhood. Projects are funded providing they have reached their target by the end date of the campaign.
The site aims to be a nationwide service in the US but currently only features projects in New York and South Carolina. One to replicate in your part of the world?
Spotted by: Hemanth Chandrasekar
Op desktop-pc’s is het de normaalste gang van zaken, maar op smartphones en vooral tablets is er nog geen sprake van om meerdere gebruikers te kunnen laten inloggen op de tablet met allemaal unieke en persoonlijke instellingen. Op smartphones is……
McKinsey Global Institute estimates the business potential from social technologies to be between $900 billion and $1.3 trillion, roughly divided as follows:
- $345 billion of this value potential from product development and operations
- $500 billion from marketing, sales and after-sales support activities;
- $230 billion from improvements in business support activities
The new report is titled The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies. In it, the firm defines social technologies as:
IT products and services that enable the formation and operation of online communities, where participants have distributed access to content and distributed rights to create, add, and/or modify content.
Increasingly, people use digital media and social technologies to get things done and connect. These exchanges, “likes”, and connections are all ways to express human nature, some of which is manifested through commercial transactions.
Unlocking business opportunity with social
The opportunity for businesses in this environment is to do something that creates real meaning between people, something that actually matters to them. Citing loosely from the report, organizations are starting to use social technologies to:
- identify new forms of consumer insights at lower cost and faster than conventional methods both by interacting directly with them and watching what people do and say to one another on social platforms, which provides unfiltered feedback and behavioral data
- enlist users to “crowdsource” product ideas and even to co-create new features
- social platforms have become a tool for managing procurement and logistics, allowing instant communication between different parties on B2B supply chains
- promise to extend the capabilities of high-skill workers (increasingly in short supply) by streamlining communication and collaboration, lowering barriers between functional silos, and even redrawing the boundaries of the enterprise to bring in additional knowledge and expertise in “extended networked enterprises”
Other ways businesses can drive value with social technologies:
The organizations that can benefit the most are those with one or more of the following characteristics: ?
- a high percentage of knowledge workers
- heavy reliance on brand recognition and consumer perception
- a need to maintain a strong reputation to build credibility and consumer trust
- ?a digital distribution method for products or services
- an experiential (e.g.,hotels) or inspirational (e.g., a popular sports drink) product or service offering
Organizations that have more than one of these characteristics stand to gain the most provided they trade their assets accordingly. Which means this applies to individual corporations rather than whole industries.
With that in mind, McKinsey mapped the potential value and ease of capture across sectors
We’re already seeing significant inroads in some of those sectors where individuals and communities are driving social technology adoption and organizations/institutions are following (or starting to).
As expected, media and entertainment is high on ease of capturing value potential. Some examples that come to mind with individual entertainers who have the ability to go direct to fans as Louis CK did with ticket sales and Lady Gaga with her community.
B2B is still grappling with the adoption of social technologies and since the report highlighted in several places that much of the value potential of social technologies centers around collaboration and specifically professional collaboration among colleagues and with businesses, this is a solid starting place, especially for highly regulated sectors.
There are more opportunities for business than outlined in this space. I will share further thoughts with Premium Newsletter subscribers for the August (21) issue (link below).
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.
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Last week a story appeared in Fortune magazine hypothesizing that Google and Facebook are using cy pres settlements of privacy class actions to improperly channel money to civil liberties groups that reliably support “the tech sector side” in disputes with copyright owners, including my organization, Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. Read more » about No Surprise, CIS Reliably Sides With Users
Apple says that iOS 6 will not be shipping with a built-in YouTube app, Safari ditches Windows support, eBay is launching a same-day shipping service, and AT&T will be launching their shared data plans on August 23. More »
Twitter has today added beta language support for Greek, Basque, and Czech, upping the number of languages the information network supports to 33.
Members can migrate to the settings portion of their accounts to switch their language and tweet in the dialect of their choosing.
The three languages added today were among the top six most-requested languages since Twitter introduced its Translation Center in 2011. Support for Ukrainian and Catalan, two of the other top six, was added in early July.
Each of the translated languages come courtesy of Twitter’s 500,0000-person volunteer community that works to help the company meet the communication needs of its expanding user base.
The new languages are also being introduced mid-Olympic games, which means people of Greece and the citizens of the Czech Republic, along with those Basque-speaking folks in Spain and France, can now cheer on their hometown heroes and favorite athletes in their native tongues.
Photo credit: Paolo Rosa/Flickr
Filed under: social
OS X: CandyBar is a customization tool for OS X that lets you customize the Dock appearance and layout, change the notification icons under running apps, change Finder system icons, and in general really tweak your Mac to look the way you want it. Panic, the developers behind the app, have updated it to support OS X Mountain Lion, dropped support for the app, and they’re giving it away for free. More »