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Innovators Seek Zoom University 2.0

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Frustrated with Zoom’s instructional limitations, developers and entrepreneurs take matters into their own hands.

Few phrases capture the zeitgeist of higher education in 2020 better than “Zoom University.”

In the space of just a few months, thousands of students joke that they have transferred to Zoom U — some even opting to make it “official” with the purchase of an unofficial sweatshirt.

Zoom’s videoconferencing platform has become synonymous with remote instruction during the pandemic. But Zoom was not designed specifically for educational use. ClassEDU, a start-up created by Michael Chasen, former CEO and co-founder of Blackboard, aims to change that.

ClassEDU announced last week that it has raised $16 million in seed funding to develop Class for Zoom — a Zoom add-on that will give educators new features such as the ability to take class attendance, get data insights into student participation and issue interactive quizzes during class.

Instructors will even be able to monitor the tabs that students open while in exam mode, making the software a potentially powerful proctoring tool. They can also control whether or not students can see each other and have the option to record lectures without showing any student faces. Currently, recording Zoom lectures could violate privacy laws, particularly if institutions record students’ faces without permission.

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