Our “By Way of Introduction” guest this week is:
Dr. Maria Andersen, principal consultant at Edge of Learning and the CEO and Cofounder of Coursetune, an edtech company that builds curriculum design, management, visualization, and collaboration software.
Some of her experiences leading up to this “self-imposed break from a full-time job to pursue a few passion projects (like writing a book and building a software company),” have included serving as the Director of Learning Design at Western Governor’s University, Director of Innovation and Learning at Area9, and Director of Learning and Research at Instructure,
13. What was the ah ha moment that led to the creation of the Coursetune and the tool?
At some point I realized that everyone in the digital learning space (and especially in CBE) was asking everyone else what tools they used to “blueprint” their curriculum. Nobody had anything good. Everyone was hacking it together with spreadsheets, documents, and occasionally a home-grown database. One day it suddenly seemed that this was a niche that no software company had filled, and we could do it.
12. What is the genesis of the Coursetune name?
We believe in the continuous improvement of curriculum, or the fine-tuning of that curriculum over time. Coursetune was born from that idea, and then our tagline “Harmonize Your Curriculum” was suggested when a friend saw the company name.
11. What round of funding are you in?
We are bootstrapped (self-funded) and have completed a small friends and family round. We have a planned path to company sustainability and want to maintain control over our vision and execution as much as possible.
10. How many clients do you currently have?
Today we hit 27 institutions in our 8th month on the market.
9. What type of clients are drawn to Coursetune?
Interestingly enough, anyone who wants to better visualize curriculum design. The reality is that regardless of where you are in the education field, we find curriculum designers all face similar challenges. Our most common type of client is large public research universities, but we now have clients that are online institutions, community colleges, private universities, Online Program Management companies, course development companies, EdTech companies (and even an LMS provider).
8. What do current clients find most compelling about this Coursetune?
We have had an incredibly positive response from customers. For the folks who have been doing curriculum design work out of software just not designed for them, Coursetune is like a breath of fresh air. The first thing we always hear is about the interface - it’s unusual and it’s built specifically for this curriculum design work. Instructional designers and curriculum designers immediately grok why we’ve gone and built this new way of visualizing curriculum. Many tell us that we’ve managed to visualize what they’ve always had in their heads but have never been able to articulate.
7. Any idea what they were doing to address this need before your Coursetune?
What we are hearing directly reflects my experience as a learning designer: spreadsheets, Google docs, project management tools (not meant for curriculum design), by memory, stickie notes, and white boards.
6. Is Coursetune provided as a SaaS and/or self-hosted?
Coursetune is provided as a SaaS and we also offer additional speaking opportunities and consulting services associated with active learning and digital learning design.
5. Are there any integrations possible/required for Coursetune (i.e. ERP, LMS)
The question of integration is one of the most frequent we receive but integration with enterprise systems isn’t crucial to being more intentional with your design and alignment of courses. Much of this relevant course data tends to exist in disparate places so the first step is getting all of that information into a centralized system like Coursetune. That said, integration is a main focus of 2018 as we aim to meet the IMS Global standards and create a seamless way for our clients to design, align, and then continuously improve the delivery of their courses and programs.
4. How long does it typically take to implement Coursetune?
Implementation typically takes a week to get all core team members in a place where they feel comfortable with the system and we have formatted their course data to be imported into Coursetune.
3. What type of services are available to implement Coursetune?
After doing the initial team trainings, we offer one-on-one training, monthly check-ins, on-site visits, and additional consulting around learning design processes on campus.
2. Is there a roadmap for Coursetune? If so, can you share?
There is a roadmap that we share with customers and partners. What I can tell you are some exciting milestones we are working toward in 2018: More reports, enhanced project management features, accessibility improvements, work on IMSGlobal CASE Standard, LMS integrations, and some mind-blowing (yet practical) 3D visualizations of the learning blueprints users build within Coursetune.
1. Is there another service or product that is “flying under the radar,” that we should interview next?
Not sure how under-the-radar these folks are, but here are some emerging tech we admire: SkillsEngine, Core Learning Exchange, Intellify Learning, Seventh Generation Games, and Cidi Labs.
For more information regarding Coursetune:
Phone number: (866) 860-8863
Since my entry into higher education and before the term “edtech” became a cliché for the evolution of all things technology needed or not needed in education, I was smitten. From the first time I had a chat session on BITnet with someone overseas until today, I have not been able extricate myself from pondering the missed possibilities and growing opportunities that exist in applying technology to support the needed transformation of education.
Yet with the growth of edtech investments, which according to Forbes reached $9.52 billion to 813 different companies globally in 2017, it was extremely difficult to even nibble at the edges of what is taking place in this market sector as a whole, let along touch a few of the organizations that define this sector.
So it was, I began spit balling ideas for creating a process where I could lay a foundation for opening up a broader base of information. The idea that ultimately stuck was “By Way of Introduction,” the edtech equivalent of speed dating! That is, initially, there is not a large time commitment for anyone involved, as there are 13 questions. It is easy to replicate, as largely the questions are replicated from interviewee to interviewee. But at the end, it likely will provide enough information to know whether or not we’ll want to undertake a deeper review.
I am extremely grateful that Dr. Maria Andersen, co-founder and CEO of Coursetune, as well as a friend of a few years, who agreed to help launch “By Way of Introduction.” From this beginning, we look forward to any comments or suggestions from you for improving the final product and seeing where this concept leads us!