The Higher Edge
The Higher Edge

Episode · 3 weeks ago

EDUCAUSE 2022: Taking a Stroll Down Startup Alley

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Technology and new platforms are one of the most exciting parts of any convention, and Educause 2022 was no different.

In our second episode of coverage, direct from the Educause show floor, we take a stroll down Startup Alley, and meet a fantastic cast of talented characters that each have a platform you should know about for your institution.

From engaging students more deeply to eliminating grading biases — these are just some of the glimpses of the Higher Ed future we’ll hear from today.

Join us as stop by the booths for:

We had a great time chatting with all of this episode’s interviewees and cannot thank them enough for the time they gave us to share their insights and platforms!

To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website or search for The Higher Edge in your favorite podcast player.

Welcome to the Higher Edge, a podcast for the brightest minds and higher education to hear from the change makers and rule breakers that are driving meaningful, impactful change for colleges and universities across the country. From improving operations to supporting student success. These are the stories that give you the Higher Edge. And now direct from edge Acause Convention, your host Brendan Aldrich. Hey everyone, and welcome to the Higher Edge. I'm Brendan Aldrich, and welcome to the second of two special episodes recorded from the floor of the annual Edge of Caause conference in Denver, Colorado. As i shared last week, Edge of Cause is a nonprofit association here in the United States dedicated to advancing higher education through the use of information technology. It's a fantastic organization with tens of thousands of active members representing more than higher education institutions, educational organizations, and companies across the country. I'm super excited this week because today's episode will focus on a featured area of the exhibit whole floor called start Up Alley. It's where all of the new small companies that are creating the next generation of higher education technologies have an opportunity to introduce themselves to the higher education community. So I took our mobile podcast RIG down to the floor and this week I'm thrilled to share a series of quick conversations with a number of these innovative, up and coming individuals, including a look at just why they were inspired to do the work that they're doing. Recorded live from the Florida Edgecause. In today's episode, we're going to do rapid fire conversations with the leaders and representatives of just ten of the Edgecause startup alley startups that are creating the future and higher education technology. Fasten your seat belts and let's dive in. First, let's meet Joe Burgess, co founder of Ribbon Education. Ribbon Education is a student success platform to help online institutions run scaled programs. So we do three things. We help you identify the learners that need attention, We help you intervene in batch and automated ways, and then we help you collaborate across all the different people that are working with that student to make sure you all roun in the same direction. Starting up a company is always kind of a challenge in itself. What was your motivation, what drove you to create Ribbon Education. Last company worked for is a coding boot camp. The first employee there and I for a long time ran all of education delivery and education product We are teaching scaled programs with fairly high student staff ratio, and I was frustrated with the quality of software to run those affordable programs at scale. It was frustrating. We ran everything through a leaning tower of spreadsheets. We hired operations person to kind of manage that leading tower of spreadsheets, and there was a better way. There was a better way to make stabs lives easier, simpler, and ultimately our students more successful. If people would like to learn more about Ribbon Education or what types of schools or organizations you're working with, can you tell us a little bit about that. Absolutely. So. We are an integration with the Canvas l m s and Zoom, so get degrades data from Canvas, attendance data from Zoom, and we also integrate with the a G suite set of tools, so all the communications right now happening via Gmail and data information through Google Sheets, making it really easy to get started because you pretty much already know how to use our software. If you are an institution that does distance learning, especially kind of focus on adult distance learning. Then you should reach out to us. We're Ribbon E d U dot com. That's Ribbon r I B B O N E d u dot com. You can connect with Joe and follow Ribbon Education on linked In. Next is the co founder and CEO of a company called Read. Let's be David Jim. David, thanks...

...for being on the show. Tell me a little bit about Read your company. Yeah, So, what Read does is we apply analytics and AI to video conferencing and the output of that is one of virtual teaching assistant and the second is really meeting optimization meaning wellness. So for every teacher that's out there where you're teaching a virtual classroom today, it's hard to actually see all your students and see how they respond to the conversation, how they respond to the curriculum. And so what we do is we give you a second pair of eyes to go in and say, hey, is engagement higher low across your students while you're teaching, Because if you think about it, a four teenage monitor with the PowerPoint presentation, you see maybe three people on top with zoom or WebEx or teams. And so what we want to do is really enable teach us to catch that moment where they lose their audience, where they lose their classroom, and try to pull them back in. And are there specific kinds of schools or education programs that you work with, community colleges, four year graduate schools. Yeah, so we work with higher edge ation and the focus. It breaks out about eight percent of our users are actually students, so they want to be able to optimize their schedules. They want to be able to actually have people take notes during the meeting automatically. So what happens is when read joins the call, it joins as a participant. When it joins as a participant, it pulls down the analytics during that call, and things include transcription and how did people respond to certain parts of the meeting, And so gives them the ability to go back and say, what are the areas that I should focus in on. And we do this all without like storing the audio or video because we deleted after the call. The other that we see is really from professors, So they're going in and saying, hey, I'm teaching a class. I would love to actually be able to see as I go through different agenda items where's the level of engagement? Where do I see the drop off? You know what I just noticed, like once I speak for ten minutes or more, I see the class drops off. Now that actually helped me adjust my classroom kind of schedule. And how that's how I talk about different topics, how long I speak with things? What was the inspiration behind read Why was this the idea that you decided needed to be its own company? Yeah, so early during the pandemic, lots of meetings are happening, and I was getting invited to a bunch of meetings, and I wasn't paying attention. And when you don't pay attention to go to sites that you like, I want to ESPN and ESPN has very distinct colors and the headline is pretty much the same for everybody else. And during a call where there are thirty people, I was like, oh, this is kind of boring on money ESPN and I looked at other people's screens and what I actually noticed was one person at glasses on and it had ESPN reflected back. And I was like, Okay, this is actually a good experiment to go in and say you can identify when people aren't paying attention and then when you are able to do that, don't police them, but actually give them back their time. So be able to say, like, hey, if you're spending thirty minutes on ESPN, you probably shouldn't have been on this call, so let me give you back thirty minutes a week. When when you combine all those efforts together, it really does make for a more healthy meeting schedule. And do you have a favorite success story something you've heard from one of your customers about their experiences using your product. Yeah. So the best one that we had was really early on when a venture capitalists was using our solution and they were talking with They were using it on a number of their calls and they still do today, and they found, like for the intro call where you meet to start it for the first time, they looked at the analytics and at first they're like, this is wrong, and then they thought about it and the metric was talk time. They were spending about eighty five percent of the time talking and the other startup was only on the nature call, and that immediately corrected his behavior. He actually took a step back and said, Okay, I need to ask more questions, I need to listen more and that's where measurability comes in. Think of it like a fit bit today, where you walk around, you look at it, you say, any two thousand more steps, so you're gonna walk a little bit more. There isn't that level of measurability around the classroom or meetings, and that's where we want to be able to go out and do is actually give people access to those analytics. And that's why where we made it free for any user that wants to utilize it today up to about an organization of ten. And if people want to learn more about read where they where can they go? Yeah, So if you want to learn more about read, go to www. Dot read dot ai, so it's read and then dot ai. And if you go to read AI's website you'll also find some intriguing metrics, including their findings. Thatt one percent of meetings start late. Those were probably...

...my meetings and as many as two of attendees and virtual meetings aren't engaged. Hopefully I'm not in those meetings. Really great stuff. Next up is Dan Quig, CEO of a company called Public Insight. Dan, tell me a little bit, so what does what does public Insight do? So Public Insight is really all about market intelligence job market intelligence as people and institutions are trying to react to the kind of the new reality in our post COVID world. We know that the job and labor market is just not the same as it was. You know, there's all sorts of different factors. You know, things like remote work, um, things like high turnover, high difficult to fill jobs. UM. You know, longer term career paths that are changing dynamically. That all requires market intelligence and that's a critical part of the puzzle. Fantastic And so I understand you don't work directly with institutions, but you work with a lot of technology companies that work with institutions. Is that right, Yeah, that's our primary I mean, we do have some institution direct subscribers, but i'd say of our businesses through technology companies, you know, as partners that whether it's licensing our data, whether it's using our applications, that those are primary customers. What was the inspiration that told you that Public Insight was the company that you wanted to create. Yeah, By the way, Public Insight is my eighth early stage company. I'm a little older, but um, a CPA by background. So I'm a kind of a data nerd to begin with, um so, and I've had a background in analytics software. So kind of this opportunity to I like to say, make lemonade out of lemons. You know, so a lot of the market and public data is is lemons, and you know it's hard to use, it's difficult to get at, you know. So our job of turning lemonade out of lemons is just an attractive proposition to me being kind of a being counter by background. So that's how we got into this particular space. And do you have a favorite success story something you've heard back from your client about how your your information was used that that you like to share? The the analogy I like to use. Did you see the movie Jurassic Park? Sure of course everybody has right. So what a lot of people tell us is if you remember that when they're in the lab and they're talking about, you know, making the dinosaur and they said, well, how did you you know? What did you have to make that dinosaur complete? And he said, well, we had to ing the frog DNA to make it work well without market data. You know, market data is the frog DNA that makes the dinosaur complete. So you know a lot of what people tell us in using our data is it? It really fills in a lot of knowledge gaps that they did not have. Um uh say, as an example, we have like recruiting technologies that say, you know a lot of the data that we have fills in those gaps very nicely and effectively. And for people that want to learn more about public insight, is there somewhere they can go? Sure? You know, best bet is to start as our website uh www dot public insight dot io or kind of one of the ones that have adopted io is kind of a new data domain from so public insight dot io. Honestly, I love the idea of going beyond traditional academic information and leveraging public data when it comes to seeing a more complete picture of what students need at all of those key momentum points in their journey. Our next startup is actually quite a sizeable company, but their work in education is still a smaller but growing part of their portfolio. Let's meet John McLeod, account manager at press Books. So John, tell me a little bit about press books and what you do. So, uh, yeah, press books has been around for about ten years. It was originally a I would say a labor of love from our founder and CEO. He was looking for a way to improve the publishing process and include digital and make software tool that could easily produce digital web books that with easily be converted to a different file format. And so that what press...

Books does is at our heart we're an open source software that enables users to do just that. And um we we currently have close to two hundred different institutions or consortiums that use press Books to handle their publishing needs. It became a very big tool probably three to five years ago with the open education community and they were able to use press Books to support their growth of open educational material. And do you have a like a favorite customer success story? I know that opened global awards just We're announced last week and the winner of the Best O e R was a product that was produced on the Campus Ontario Network. Uh so a press Books client and one of our biggest users. So they won that. But it was really gratifying to see there was eight finalists for that award and five of the finalists used a press Books network to publish their their resource. Wow, that's fantastic. Yeah, I was really excited to see that. And so if people want to learn more about press books, where might they go to learn that? Press books dot com. If individual authors want to use press books, we have a network that's available for individual authors. It's free to sign up and you can start with a free trial, and if the free trial runs out and you like it, you can subscribe. Press Books is a great platform that's used to create open textbooks and also used by self publishers to get their content out into the world. Hey, for everyone listening, hang tight. We're going to take a quick break to hear from our sponsor and we'll be back in just one minute. All colleges and universities face challenges in advancing the mission of higher education. Some problems impeding your progress are known, but others are invisible, hidden, impossible to address. Invoke learning changes. Everything built on revolutionary tech analogy that's light years beyond anything you've seen yet. Our leading edge data platforms and deep analytic solutions give institutions of higher education some real life superpowers to support the entire student journey. Ask questions you never imagine could be answered. Get unprecedented insights that lead to mission impacting action. What's holding you back today from taking your mission further Tomorrow find out and discover just how far you can go. Contact Invoke Learning at www dot invoke learning dot com. Invoke Learning. This is education empowered. Thanks so much for listening to our sponsor. Let's get back to the show. Let's jump from publishing to remote device management with Jason Shavy at level io. So I'm here with Jason from level dot io. Jason, so tell me first of all your role at the company, and then tell me a little bit about what level does. I'm the cheap operations officer at Level and Level is a as a SAS platform that allows I T professionals to manage devices. One of our tenants as a company is and one of our goals is to build to manage a thousand devices as easily as it is to manage a single device. And so we spend a lot of time and effort into making that happen, and do focus on a particular part of higher education community colleges, for year schools, graduate schools. Really our focus is I T professionals and so they exist in all of those uh those areas, and so anybody who is managing a device level would be a good fit for and then do you have a favorite success story. One of the things that that Level helps do is really the life cycle of a device. So when you set up a device, you have to provision it, you have to keep it up to date patches and security updates, you have to install software, and then you have to manage and maintain it, and so we're able to help across all aspects of that. One of the things that we found that...

...is um has really helped our our customers with our platform is the real time nature of what we do. For instance, we had the last zero day of vulnerability from Microsoft on their exchange servers. I T professionals kind of getting patch all my my servers. And so with Level we're very quickly able to create a filter, push out the update and the patch, and see that it was actually applied successfully in real time, and so a matter of twenty minutes we were able to have entire organizations patched and up to date, whereas other platforms can take hours days. Even what was the inspiration behind level dot io and and why was this the company that you felt was this was the time to do it? I come from the MSP space and I T services and I've used um varying tools throughout my career UM for the last years or so, and there's always something lacking, uh and and a tool and so. And as these tools have aged, they're starting to show their their age a little bit. And so we decided, you know, there's there's newer technology, newer security standards, and we had some pretty pretty interesting ideas that we could use to help make I T A departments more efficient at what they're doing. And if people want to learn more about level, where should they go? They can go to our website at level dot io and uh so, you know, we have got a lot of information there or they're they're welcome to email us at at sales at level dot io. One of the hot topics over the last few years has been how to really better engage students. The team at Wildflower Education believe that institutions have an opportunity to do this by combining the classroom experience with what's going on outside the classroom. Let's learn more. Okay, I'm with Alicia Sepulvida, who is the vice president of Partnerships and Research at Wildflow. Our education Hi, Alicia, Hello, thanks for having me. So tell me a little bit about who is Wildflower Education and what do you do? Sure, So we are working to increase student engagement in the classroom and also outside of the classroom. So really we're trying to connect the academic and the student life experience, and it's really rooted in the student experience. So the way it works is that students are provided a code from their faculty member or from the student club or organization. Students get connected to all of the people who are affiliated with that club, group or class and so think about it as LinkedIn for one classroom and students are able to connect one on one with students based on their interest. Um, we have profiles that our students absolutely love using. And then we also create study groups, so students can create their own study groups, or faculty can create study groups for students to join, or they can use it for a team projects or team collaborations. So we're really trying to increase collaboration in the classroom connection and really students discover new opportunities that are aligned with their interests. And there are there specific parts of the education market that you tend to work in we're starting more so in the classroom and the faculty. UM. We have uh eight different universities who are piloting this in different classrooms across the country. And then we also have three different partners that are partnering within clubs and organizations UM as well. And so really what we're doing is focused on the user experience and that user feedback to make sure that we're really designing something that students love and then also as useful for faculty and administrators to really better support students. And so what was the inspiration behind Wildflower Education? Why was now the time to sort of build this company and put it together. Sure, Wildflower Education really is trying to solve the problem of student engagement. Since the COVID nineteen pandemic, it's been really difficult for students to connect and engage. And I actually recently transition to Wildflower Education. So I worked in hier Ed for twelve years as an academic life coach for students. I've coached over a thousands...

...students over the past twelve years, and we've done some research in that area and just this is something that I wish students had my entire career. I went to Florida State, went there for six years. It was first in in my family to go to college. I graduated, started working for the college and found out there were so many amazing opportunities and resources, but I had no idea existed. I had this theory that really there's this hidden college theory where students only see about ten percent of what is available to them, and we just don't do a great job in higher ad of really helping students connect to their interest and also explore new opportunities and resources. We do have some programs that are doing amazing things, so I don't want to say that, but really we work with students um in that middle ground, So not the students who are really struggling academically, and not our leaders who are amazing, right, they're the go getters. Those are the five or ten percent of students. But we have nine of our students who aren't getting those resources, they're not connecting, and they're not being able to develop as much as we that they can. And I just think we're leading potential on the table. And that's really where Wildflower Education comes in. And do you have a favorite success story something you've heard from one of your partner institutions that shows the impact that Wildflowers had for them or for as some of their students. Oh my gosh. We just had the student who reached out to Wildflower Education because we had something about loneliness on our website, and so he reached out to us and he said, um, you know, I'm actually doing a student project on student loneliness. Um, I'm actually experience, you know, lonely. And also I'm doing this project because I'm a first year student having a really hard time connecting with other people. And so we actually did some customer discovery with him of saying, you know, well, we helped him with this class project, but then we also just asked him like what are you experiencing? And you know, he went to the student Involvement fare on campus. Right, there's amazing student clubs and organizations and we really love to highlight that at our colleges. But the student went, he signed up for all of these opportunities and never heard back. And so this student put himself out there, right, he is getting outside of his comfort zone. He's doing all of the things that we encourage our students to do, and nothing is happening. And he's amazing. He's great to talk to, he's easy to talk to, UM, but he's still really struggling to find meaningful connections. And we know that that particular student is more likely to lead university, he's more likely to know potentially drop out transfer UM, and so we really have to do a better job here. Absolutely well. And if people want to learn more about Wildflower Education, where can they go? UM? I would love for you to go to our website at Wildflower dot education and you can join our mailing list and also connect with us on LinkedIn. Honestly, I love how the stories of even individual students like we just heard can influence the focus and direction of startup companies working within higher education. Keeping within the theme of student engagement, our next company, Interact one to three, has created a solution that was developed by educators using clear Course as sign which will learn about in a minute and helps instructors balance curriculum requirements and student engagement in ways that support optimal learning. Let's get to know the team and Interact one to three. So I'm with Kristen Betts, who is the principle and founder of Interact one to three. Kristin high wonderful to be here, So Kristen tell me a little bit. What does Interact one to three do? Interact one two three is a learning science based application that allows instructional designers and faculty members to easily map any course across any LMS in terms of what we call clear course design, alignment with the credit, our licensure, engagement accreditation, and regular in substitive interaction. And is there a part of the education market that you focus on. We work with all higher education institutions. Our clients include two year, four year, public, private, We also have international clients,...

...so it's an easy application. Is mentioned to help instructural designers and faculty members actually see what's in their course in terms of content, student workload, in cognitive load, no content goes in there. It is certainly not an LMS, but allows them to look at their courses to find out do they have too much content which could impact student engagement retention, particularly cognitive overload, or do they have too little content which could affect alignment with federal regulations entitle for funding. What was the inspiration behind Interact one to three? Why was now the time to do? The company? July one, two thousand twenty one there were a number of federal regulations that were put into place, particularly looking at regular and substitive interaction. So we decided to create an application where as I mentioned in a structural designer of faculty, then or could easily map out and align their courses with their accreditor licensure as well as regular and substitive interaction. Great, and I wonder if you have a favorite success story, maybe something you've heard from your institutions about a particular student that sort of demonstrates the partnership you've had with your your client. Some of our faculty members have reached out and shared that their students are actually sharing on evaluations how much more they're engaged, enabled to actually modify what they're doing in a classroom through the feedback. So through the application you can look at the different types of feedback that you can apply. So often we might run into functional fixedness where we're simply providing text feedback. So through the application you're able to look and identify can you provide voice feedback, video feedback, can you provide different types of multimedia feedback? So students and evaluations are saying that their experience in the classrooms are that much more robust because of the multimodality feedback that they're receiving from faculty. And again it's because when you're mapping out of course and you're able to look at universal design for learning or culturally responsive teaching options, it makes the experience for the students that much more robust to support deeper learning. And where can people go if they want to learn more about Interact one to three, Well, they can go to the Interact one two three website at www. Interact one to three dot com. We encourage you look at the resources. There are extensive resources that are available to learn about the brain, to learn about neuro plasticity. We also have a monograph series that provides wonderful publications that are open access that you can share with your peers. As well. From energizing the classroom with Interact one to three, we're now going to jump into some cutting edge AI technology j that's been designed to support agile continuous learning. This is the team at Guillon. They are leaning into modular courses and credentials that are in high demand by lifelong learners with the use of a patented AI that assists in, among other things, building a holistic learning experience for students. I'm here with Valerie Higgins, who is a product manager for Guion. Valeriates and welcome on the show. Thank you for having me. So, first of all, tell us a little bit about Guion. What is it that Guion does. So we're an AI company that works with higher education institutions in a couple of different areas. We can do automated grading of assessments, open text essays, we have a course authoring platform, and then we also have a personalized skills pathway for students. And is there a particular part of the higher education market you're working with or do you work with schools that are a two year four year graduate schools? So we work with a variety of...

...higher education institutions. We work in kind of the continuous learning space kind of asked to do with the assessments and the course authoring that I mentioned, as well as market based skilling. So those can apply to a variety of different areas within that vertical. And how long has gian been an operation? So our company has been around for about four years, but the tech predates us, So the tech was established around nine years ago. So tell me if you know because we're always fascinated with with new company, especially in the startup world. You know what was the inspiration? Why was now the time for Guion to to sort of come together as a company to serve higher end So, you know, years and years we've we've had these search engines that have performed, you know, the one function you put in your query, you get the results back. But what was lacking, what we saw lacking in the market was this space for auto discovery and auto curation of information. So taking what you get from those search results and then building something meaningful out of that, like a structure based specifically on what you're looking for. Um. So we figured, you know, with the right technology, we could fill that space. And we feel like we're the people for the job. And do you have a favorite success story? Absolutely? Um So our clients prefer to remain anonymous. But right now what we're doing is we're working with a digital innovation program, so we're helping them in a variety of facets, so they're learning designers right now are using our core throp course authoring platform to build out pre existing or brand new courses and kind of populate that with the auto curated information that I mentioned and then they're using the assessment platform that's built right in, so it's kind of a whole suite there as well as the skilling to get their students towards their future desired career paths, so that you're using, you know, the whole spectrum of our project. It just went into production, so we're very proud of that. Fantastic and if anybody wants to learn more about gan where should they go? Absolutely, you can go to jan Ai dot com backslash higher at that's g y a n It's the Sanskrit word for knowledge. If you're a fan of higher education podcasts, you may have heard our next guest when he appeared this last May on the Starter Stories podcast with Zach Boozy Cruz, which is part of the enroll of Fine Network. For our next to last segment, I was thrilled to have a few minutes to catch up with Cooper Jones, co founder and CEO at ra RA. Well, Cooper, thank you so much for coming on the Higher Edge. Yeah, thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. Brendan. So, Cooper, tell me a little bit about you and your role with ra Ra. Yeah, Well, my role is fairly straightforward. It's to bring on people that are smarter than I am UH and support them as a CEO. But we started Raw Raw mainly to simplify student life. We saw when we started four years ago that there's this massive missed after to opportunity when it comes to mobile applications and the student experience and Higher ED. And when we started INEN, we didn't realize how disruptive it was to build a product that was student first. And so fast forward to two all of the institutions that we serve and those that we don't are really focused on being more student centric and really providing an amplified student experience. And so we're thankful to be in a position to help. And so tell me what was starting a new company is always a challenge, and when you're in that start up phase, what was the inspiration behind ra Ron? Was there a particular moment where you said, yeah, this is this is what needs to happen now. You know, I used to be in strategy consulting and UH got staffed on a quick engagement with a university system and realized they're just the opportunity to make change and innovation happen in the Higher ED space, and so I started thinking about that in my own experience where I went to school and I was a kid that grew up in Chicago and ended up going to Oklahoma State only because my big sister was there, and so I didn't know anyone or really anything about os U. But my sister was a senior when I was the first year, and so the first day that I arrived, she set me up for success. She said, this is where this is, this is how...

...this works, this is who you should talk to, this is what you be interested in. And the reality is that's a privilege a majority of students in America, our first generation, and so wanted to build a way to scale what my sister did for me, but for everyone, and then naturally went on the path of mobile apps, and uh, here we are today four years later. That's fantastic. And do you have a favorite success story, maybe something you've heard from an institution or about a student who who really because of the app, had had different experience. Yeah, I mean, Golia, I feel like there's a win and as an entrepreneur, loss every day and so it's always a range of emotions. But probably the best compliment that we've received is from one of our early partners telling us we've helped their institution go from feeling good about all of their experiences and their initiatives and their programs and their offerings to know that they're doing good. And so that was a really good, feel good moment. And then most recently what we're probably almost proud of is going live at University of Michigan. That was a really big win for us, and thankfully we're seeing the students that really really enjoying the product and which we're proud of. But more recently, our I Guess point of contact at Kansas States, the line I came to us and said that they had a few first generation students that have really been relying upon raw Raw to find that sense of belonging, to find that fit. And they actually didn't know about raw Raw until about the second weekend, and it changed the entire trajectory of their university experience that because they didn't even have anyone in their lives that that knew anything about the college experience to help guide them exactly. What a fantastic story. Well, Cooper, thank you so much for coming on the story and telling us a little bit about you and about raw Rock. Yeah, thank you. It's not just me. We have a whole team of really, really good people. And well I didn't ask Cooper where folks could learn more about raw Raw. I'll make up for that lapse now and share with you that you can go to www dot raw raw life dot com. That's ra ra R a h r a h life dot com. Really some great work to help give students that connected experience with their university. Well, our last startup Alley Company is honestly one of my favorites, and it has a lot to do with the personality and charisma of their co founders. And that's right co founders and co CEOs Motion Shaheeny and Karen Marette. You know, we don't see co CEOs that often in the startup world because it can be really difficult to have two captains at the helm. Making sure that they have distinct roles and responsibilities can be challenging to be sure, but Motion and Karin make this look easy. They have a lot of experience and passion that they're bringing to the table with their startup company. Critic I'm here with Motion Shaheny and Karin Marette. Both of you are co founders and co CEO with Critic. Welcome to the show. Thank you. So, first of all, tell me a little bit about what critic is. Clintic is ecalorrated Pierre assessment platform that democraties his grading, remove grading by us, and increases his students critical thinking and soft skills. And I would like to add on top of it, we prepare students for the workforce. We build an inclusive learning ecosystem. We improve attention rate, We boosted an engagement and the student of engagement is uh. Two things. We have a system to identify the students who are far behind, and then we were so to identify the students who with who are more advanced. And we create a system that all students can learn at different pace in the same classroom, because the nd goal is to make sure that all to students get a job post graduation. Fantastic, And I see that you also integrate with all the major LMS platforms including Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard and Desire to Learn. Yes, and so one of the things I've been fascinated by because it's not as common, but to have co founders and co ceo. So tell me a little bit about that. For sure, you would say it's looking great. I think one of the things that is important is that it's helping us to show to our employees, first of all, that there is diversity across across the business,...

...including from the leadership, because we uh first company try to encourage diversity inclusion, but you know, you get you see females coming to a certain level of seniority, but you don't see them at the CEO level, so you know, and and we wanted to show it to our employees that there is no there is nothing that stops them as far as gender goes when they when they want to. And in addition of gender, I think there's also other element to it, which is like the leadership style and the background information. So most of its coming from the educational background. He built top haart before state ten years in your industry and then he basically digital textbooks with multiple choice questions and then um interactive activity in the textbooks on nine and when we met and decided to build Critic together, I came up with another perspective, which is how I step away from multiple choice question I was telling most than that we should build a system where students need to reflect and participants on their their learning in the system that they are on power. So it was very important that CRIC kind of like reverse reverse the power relationship between professors and students. Tell me a little bit, what was the inspiration for critic and and what was it where you said, now is the time that this is important that this company is born. Astre Mention worked for ten years that I've had and closely with the instructors. I noticed that the equasystem is changing. Information technology is becoming more and more available facts, information, memorization of those facts becoming basically membership of those fact pointless in a sense that you can search everything online. Another hand, there is no technology that can assess a students thinking of skills, critical thinking of skills uh and a problem solving skills uh and and and self learning skill things like that, because it's hard to assess them. There's no technology because I'm not as objective, and the only way you could do that was through some level of crowdsourcing. So that's what I found a solution. Queren of course had had an impact on this decision as because she was coming from a students perspective UM and then she wanted received more personalized feedback because she needed That's how she learned, and she needed a lot of feedback in her online courses. She was not very satisfied with the professor's just giving her very quick short feedback, Oh great job, Maybe change this part of your essay that she has spent like two days to prepare. So she was feeling that she's not getting the r O I for the tuition. Tuition feel that she was paid exactly. So when I might when I did my second bashl agree in another language. The first one was in French, the second one was in English. So when I did the second one, I was like, I had a higher expectation for myself. I got B plus for my first Bashel degree, but the second bash Agree is sa, Okay, I'm going to have an air press and I'm going to achieve that no matter what. So I was fighting for it, and I said anytime I had an exam, I was asking feedback to the professor, said, please tell me, how can I be a master expert in a p A format? How can I be a master? I expected whatever Rasalmon was and I never ever received feedback like very litton, and I decided to kind of like um, UM fight for it. So I submitted a claim for that professor to improve their teaching system. Uh. And then and then what I did in parallel is I asked my classmate, okay, let's walk together. I created a Google dog online and I said, let's put all our notes together, learned from peers, and I had a schedule with with them to meet over a zoom called UM on the weekly basis. At the beginning, it worked well, but at at some point they had some resistance and they were afraid to that their professor caught them doing that, and they are afraid of cheating. So I felt that we need to put in place an online pil platform...

...that professor adopt and not something that students tried to do on the side because it will limit their growth. That's fantastic. And since you've been working with schools, do you have a good success story? Yeah, I would. I would have a certain a good example from the professor at Virginia Tech University. Professor's her name is Valerie. She's teaching analotic chemistry. She really uses critic because she wanted to motivate her female students to succeed in the you know, fairly technical and and mass oriented course where there's there's a little bit of lack of diversity in those courses. What she found with critic was that when she was showing me, she was like, look see that how my student when I went to her, I went to a virginetic on article to campus to just checking with her. How we called. She says, come here, I'm gonna show you something, and she opened her laptop and she said, look do you see these the students feedback that she said to their peers. And I read that feedback and the feedback had like, oh, I may the exact same problem and then explomisition mark, exclamation mark, exclamation mark. And she said that this is the opening for my students because they these are females that day, when they see that their peers are making that mistake, that that's sort of a perception that my having themselves, oh I'm the only one who makes this mistake goal with of a and I've seen them give them confidence that they can create. Imagine a certain sense of embarrassment where the student doesn't want to ask the question because they feel like they might be the only one who has or that problem. Exactly exactly fantastic well, if people would like to learn more about Critic, where's the best place for them to do that? They can go to our homepage at www dot critic dot io or go to our LinkedIn page. I think there was a full of information and that's it. Our second and final episode from the Flora Edge Cause. The start up Alley really is one of my favorite parts of the annual Edge Cause conference, as the passion and commitment of these companies is as inspiring to me as I hope it was for you to hear their stories. I want to give a great big thank you to all of my guests for this episode. Joe Burgess, founder and CEO of Ribbon Education, David Shim, co founder and CEO of read Ai, Dan Quig, CEO for Public Insight, John McLeod, account manager at press Books, Jason Shavy, Chief operating officer for Level Alicia SAPULVTA, Vice Presidents of Partnerships and Research for Wildflower Education. Dr Kristen Bett's principal and founder of Interact one to three, Valerie Higgins, product manager for guian Ai, Cooper Jones, co founder and CEO for Raw Raw, and finally both Mo and Shaheeny and Karin Murette co CEOs at Critic and that's critic k R I T I K critic And thank you everyone for sharing this edgecase experience over the last two episodes with us here at the Higher Edge. Until next time, I'm Brendan Aldridge and we'll talk soon. Thanks for listening to The Higher Edge. For more, subscribe to us on your favorite podcast platform, leave us a review if you loved the show, and be sure to connect with Brendan on LinkedIn. Know someone who's making big changes at their higher at institution that belongs on this podcast, Drop us a line at podcasts at the Higher Edge dot com. The Higher Edge is sponsored by Invoke Learning in partnership with Westport Studios. Using opinions expressed by individuals during the podcast are their own. See how invoke Learning is empowering higher education at invoke learning dot com.

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