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Online Education

Thought Leaders in Online Education: Cheryl Vedoe, CEO of Apex Learning (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Mar 13th 2017


Online education in K-12 has had very few ventures survive or scale. Apex Learning is one of those rare birds. We first covered their story eight years back. This is a catch up conversation with their CEO Cheryl Vedoe that steps us through the ongoing evolution of the K-12 online education sector.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with giving our audience a little bit of an update on where you are and where Apex is. We did an Entrepreneur Journeys story on you and the company about eight years ago. A lot of things have happened in the industry and in your company since. Give us a bit of an update.

Cheryl Vedoe: I think there is a lot that is very much the same when you compare with where we were eight years ago. There is also a great deal that is very different. Our focus remains digital curriculum with an orientation towards personalizing learning and increasing the quality of educational options available to >>>

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Thought Leaders in Online Education: Executive Director of Academic Innovation at University of Pennsylvania, Bobbi Kurshnan (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Feb 27th 2017

Bobbi Kurshan photo

UPenn has both an incubator for EdTech ventures, and an entrepreneurship education program for EdTech. This discussion delves into both programs and more.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as to UPenn’s online education activities.

Bobbi Kurshnan: I am the Executive Director of Academic Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. I run a variety of programs including all our online initiatives. I also run our incubator program for educational startups. That is both virtual as well as in-person. We just concluded our fourth and fifth cohorts this week. We also run the largest business competition for education entrepreneurs. >>>

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Building Multiple Bootstrapped Education Software Companies: Lane Rankin, CEO of Illuminate Education (Part 1)

Posted on Friday, Feb 10th 2017


Lane was first a teacher, then a school and school district administrator. His background is not of a typical tech entrepreneur. However, his deep domain knowledge and relationships in the education field have propelled him to become a very successful EdTech entrepreneur. Great story!

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your entrepreneurial journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Lane Rankin: I’m currently in California. I was born in Seattle, Washington. I have a Bachelors degree in Applied Mathematics and went on to get a Masters in Leadership. I started my first company back in 1999. >>>

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Thought Leaders in Online Education: Becky Takeda-Tinker, President of Colorado State University Global Campus (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Dec 26th 2016

This discussion is about CSU’s online program that caters to 17,000 students. Many online higher education trends are discussed at length.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as your activities at Colorado State.

Becky Takeda-Tinker: I’m the President of Colorado State University Global Campus. We are the nation’s only 100% online fully-accredited state institution. We serve non-traditional students between the ages of 18 to 65. Our average student is 35 years old. Our mission is very unique in that it is driven for workplace success in a global marketplace through education.

We are always looking to address what will prepare our students for workplace success in a global market. We have a very different approach in how we look at >>>

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Thought Leaders in Online Education: Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Dec 12th 2016

Curriculum Associates executive head shots.  Rob Waldron,

Rob and I discuss the evolution of personalized learning, skill gap analysis, curriculum design, and much more in this excellent interview.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as to Curriculum Associates.

Rob Waldron: I’m the CEO of Curriculum Associates. We’re a K-12 ed tech company. We’ve actually been in business for a long time. We became a tech company five or six years ago but we continue to have a healthy print business as well. The pencil and paper still works in education, but increasingly a majority of our business comes from technology. >>>

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5 Thought Leaders in Online Education

Posted on Thursday, Oct 20th 2016


Online education and training continue to grow in popularity. It costs less for students to get bachelor’s and master’s degrees online. Employers, too, save money by arranging for employees to take training courses online and on their own time. Through the following interviews with five leaders in online education, you will find a synthesis of the various trends and opportunities that I see at this point.

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Thought Leaders in Online Education: Adrian Ridner, CEO of (Part 1)

Posted on Tuesday, Sep 6th 2016

Adrian started in 2002. Read how the trends in online education have impacted the evolution of a very interesting business. Excellent story.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to What do you do? Where is the company located?

Adrian Ridner: What we try to do is develop the simplest way to learn. We’ve created over 20,000 short, animated video lessons. We’ve organized them all in courses covering major subject areas, all the way from elementary school to college. We’re currently helping over 25 million students and teachers every month to improve their grades and even earn low-cost college credit. We’re located in Mountain View, California and have been bootstrapped since 2002.

Sramana Mitra: How does what you do fit into the context of all the other things that are happening in the online education segment, especially K-12 and college? For example, how does what you offer compare with Khan Academy? >>>

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Thought Leaders in Online Education: Felix Odigie, CEO of Inspired eLearning (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jun 20th 2016

Inspired eLearning is doing something very effective in Cyber Security education. Read on to learn more.

Sramana Mitra: Give us a little bit of introduction to yourself as well as to the company.

Felix Odigie: I have a background in Computer Engineering. I went to Northeastern University and did my Masters at the Wharton School. The company I run is actually Inspired eLearning. We’re into security awareness and compliance e-learning space. We provide education for the enterprise.

To make that a little simpler for everyone, what we stumbled upon is, it became very difficult for hackers and network intruders to attack network infrastructure because there was a lot of investment in securing networks. The natural place for them to gravitate towards was to hack the individuals who are already inside infrastructure. That was easy. We are susceptible to phishing scams. That was our mission. >>>

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