ClevrU offers an adaptable multimedia content-delivery platform with advanced tools to assist in interactive teaching, learning, and collaboration that allow institutions and instructors to deliver programs and courses to students around the world. ClevrU provides the technology and support for educators to reach beyond local markets to offer online learning opportunities on an international level.
The World Class Learning Platform™: The platform is simple for instructors to use for presenting courses incorporating video lectures, PowerPoint slides, online chats, animations, images, news feeds, and other related content, as well as quizzes and assignments. Classes can be taught both synchronously and asynchronously, using the instructor’s preferred teaching strategies, including supports for student interaction. ClevrU assists faculty in uploading content and manages the process that attunes the material to platform delivery.
International Access: The provision of educational opportunities to students on an international basis faces two major challenges – language and technological access – for which ClevrU has devised solutions.
- Language: As a first step, the ClevrU platform adapts navigation tools, user interfaces, and discussion profile to that of the user’s browser language. In addition, printed course content can be presented in English, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Thai, Russian, French, and Japanese, with ClevrU helping connect content partners with translation services to help them translate their materials for local needs. A recent development permits the subtitling of videos into any language the instructor chooses. As an additional service, ClevrU can help with the international marketing for courses, often working with local social media leaders.
- Technological Access: ClevrU provides learning opportunities anywhere, on any device, at any time. To accomplish this, the platform adapts the content based on the operating system of the user’s device and browser speed; content is reconfigured for best possible display on the specific mobile device. To ensure best reception, ClevrU operates server environments in each region in which they operate to supply high-definition quality streaming at maximum download speed. In markets with filters on Internet content, ClevrU operates servers behind in the firewalls, in China for example, so that content can be delivered. The company emphasizes mobile device access, but also serves desktops and tablets. The platform is scalable to accommodate very large classes.
Support for Students: In addition to access to educational content from around the world in their own language, students are also able to interact with each other and with instructors in real-time or through discussion boards. They can add notes to the content and receive notices when others have replied to their discussion points. The system can also deliver interactive learning objects that are linked to a specific student’s needs.
Support for Instructors and Institutions: To supplement the teaching effectiveness of instructors, ClevrU offers analytics of student activity through ClevrDNA™. Analytics reports detail which online resources students are using and how, the pathways students take through course materials, the topics of student discussions, and their pace of learning. Instructors can effectively monitor progress, challenges, and outcomes, providing what Tushar Singh, Chief Technology Officer of ClevrU, describes as “a pulse on the classroom in real time.”
The Partners: ClevrU has set up a number of strategic partnerships with Canadian educational institutions for provision of content. Georgian College, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Conestoga College were among the early partners. In January 2014, Canadore College launched its graduate certificate program in Mobile Application Development on the ClevrU China platform, with the additional learning aid of full Chinese and English transcripts of all videos. Mark Arnason, ClevrU’s CEO, sees great potential in this type of program: “Technology is an important area of skills development for China and is a strength of the Canadian higher education system”.
Dana Fox, the Founder and Vice Chair, created ClevrU to provide technology that would make it simpler for educators and educational institutions to develop and support courses. His initial inspiration came while he was teaching at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU). With support from WLU, Mr. Fox teamed up with Tushar Singh, a University of Waterloo student at the time, to develop the technology. The company was incorporated in 2010. In an interview with PitchBook, Mr. Fox described his vision as helping “people around the world get a great education for less on a platform they already have that delivers the best in-class education North America has to offer.”
ClevrU’s market focus is in developing countries, with a strong presence in China supported by numerous strategic relationships with telecom providers China Telecom and China Unicom, as well as social media network RenRen where they met with instant success as the most popular external education source.
Dana Fox accompanied the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, on the October 2013 state visit to China and Mongolia. During a presentation at Sichuan University, Mr. Fox said: “Innovation and bilateral relationships can be fostered through education to create better prosperity between the two countries.” These relationships can beneficially include more online education programs to give opportunities to those who may not be able to study abroad.
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