Original Article: Ed-Tech Vendors Confront Sudden Opportunity and Risk
By Rick Seltzer
As the new coronavirus outbreak prompted college after university to start shifting classes online -- either for a few weeks or for the remainder of the spring semester -- education technology companies lined up to say they could help.
Tech vendors promoting various free services for colleges or their employees included, in no particular order, communications provider Avaya, chat and video messaging provider Pronto, learning platform Top Hat, game-based learning platform Kahoot!, messaging and notifications service Raftr, online program manager Bisk, and publishing giant Wiley. Another publisher, Macmillan, said it was giving its customers free use of its online learning platforms through the end of spring.
It was a good time for others to launch services. The for-profit Foundry College, which focuses on adult education, started offering its learning management software Thursday as a managed service for other institutions to use. Massive open online course platform FutureLearn launched a new product offering unlimited access to short courses online.
Other big players got in on the action. Blackboard launched a self-service portal intended to cut the time it would take institutions to go from purchasing to deploying digital teaching. Online learning platform Coursera announced it will provide universities around the world affected by the coronavirus outbreak with free access to a catalog of courses from different university and industry players. Its competitor, 2U, was planning a “skinny bundle” of products to be offered to customers on a non-revenue-share basis, said Chip Paucek, CEO of the education-technology company...