How to tailor online courses to today’s tech-discerning students

New WordPress-like platform for creating online courses aims to allow educators to be the designers of their online content—easily.

online-creation-VersalAs an educator, it’s hard to please today’s tech-savvy students with PowerPoints and lecture-on-video—but those are exactly the kinds of tools available for educators who don’t have time to learn online learning design 101.

That is, until now.

Coming out of beta today (March 4th), an online content creation platform called Versal is quickly gaining traction with educators in 59 countries interested in creating online lessons to support dynamic teaching methods, such as flipped learning, blended learning, MOOC creation, and fully online learning.

“My school is very interested in flipped learning classrooms, but I didn’t feel comfortable making videos myself or taking over PowerPoints,” said Steven Iannuccilli, a science and technology teacher at Xavier High School. “Versal gave me the idea to reinvent myself and get away from the typical PowerPoint lesson that I normally do, and to make it more organized and academic then, say, a blog. Without Versal, I probably wouldn’t have tried flipped learning because of the uncomfortableness of hearing and seeing myself on a podcast.”

“We’re trying to solve a real dilemma,” said Gregor Freund, co-founder and CEO at Versal. “Every day, millions of teachers stand in front of 30-40 students, students from the ‘app generation.’ They’re incredibly tech-savvy and demand information at their fingertips. Educators tend to think that online learning should be left to a production designer, because they don’t have the time or skills to use complicated software—and they wouldn’t be wrong! Most educators also don’t have the budget to hire an online content designer.”

Freund continued, saying the he wants Versal’s capabilities to inspire a “cultural shift in thinking,” allowing teachers and professors to view themselves as online learning designers thanks to this “intuitive” platform for creating online curricula as they see fit. “Videos and slide decks no longer make the grade. Online assignments have to be interactive. Versal empowers any teacher, trainer or online expert—without any coding skills—to easily create and customize incredibly dynamic and effective lessons.”

“Versal is not the only tool I use, nor is the Internet,” explained Iannuccilli. “I don’t know if I would give myself the moniker of ‘Online Learning Designer,’ [but] I do feel that Versal is an online tool that allows me to communicate information to my students in such a way that will excite their interest in science as well as better their understanding of science, and that is my job. If that makes me an ‘Online Learning Designer’ then so be it.”

(Next page: How Versal works; an open platform for integration)