Suburban-Chicago Startup Is Giving Teachers Free Tech, and Saving Students Hundreds In The Process


Suburban-Chicago Startup Is Giving Teachers Free Tech, and Saving Students Hundreds In The Process

CourseCard Integrated Learning Solutions, an EdTech startup based in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton, believes that the key to ensuring a bright and profitable future for higher education as an industry, will depend heavily upon individual educators adopting new and affordable technologies in their classrooms.

A move, they say, will help reverse the trend of soaring costs and subsequently lagging enrolment.

“CourseCard is predicated on a fairly well-established concept in colleges and universities,” says CourseCard COO Andrew Schmidt, “Academic freedom is essentially the idea that, as an educator, you are entitled to adopt, curate, and require any materials which you feel best communicate the concepts and methodologies relevant to teaching in a given field --that’s where CourseCard comes in.”

“We want to put educators back in the driver’s seat, and provide a way for them to profit from their materials and experience, as well as bring down the cost to students.” Says CourseCard CEO Kevin Schiller, who started the company nearly two years ago. “Our team believes that CourseCard achieves this goal.”

Providing the best of existing learning technologies such as Learning Management Systems (LMSs), access codes, and digital labs, all integrated into a single, cloud-based system, CourseCard will change the way educators and students should view required course materials. “Once an educator sets up their free account and becomes a partner, they can select materials then organize and publish their course however they like; just as they do now.”And educators aren’t limited in the type of content they can utilize either, “[Educators] have the option to use

open-source and creative commons licensed works, or simply draw from the countless quiz, handout, and resource files they have accumulated… even those perpetually unfinished manuscript drafts are fair game.” Schmidt jokes. “And of course, educators retain full ownership of their produced works as well; everything an educator needs to teach effectively is at their -- and their students’ fingertips. All for a reasonable price which is set by the educator.”

CourseCard’s course marketplace makes obtaining these materials easier than ever for students. They simply log in on the first day of class, purchase access to the indicated course bundle and start learning. Schmidt explains that the educators’ payout process is equally simple, “After the last day for refunds and withdrawals has passed, we cut the authoring teacher a check for 50% of the net sale.” “It's a simple concept, but we’re definitely seeing a lot of enthusiasm for this program.”

On the subject of content, Schiller and Schmidt also announced the company’s recent partnership with content distribution giant, Ingram Learning. “Digital texts are a huge focal point for us as a company… We see Ingram’s VitalSource program as an invaluable resource for our clients and their courses.” An agreement, they explain, which gives educators who have partnered with CourseCard the ability to adopt and offer digital textbooks from a library of over one million titles, at no cost to them.

“At the end of the day,” says Schmidt, “CourseCard exists to give educators an outlet to teach in exactly the way they want, with exactly the materials they want ... and what we are seeing, is that when educators are given the power to curate and distill what is required down to just the essentials, the cost to students is lowered significantly.” A fact, which he points out, is reflected in CourseCard’s average course price; something which should cause cash-strapped college students everywhere to rejoice.

You can learn more about how CourseCard is improving online course publishing, by visiting: www.coursecard.com

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