Coursera Couple Returns to Higher Ed With $14.5M to Recreate In-Person Learning, Online

Pandemic closes school. Students go home. Remote classes falter. Child is disengaged. Parent builds edtech.

So goes the origin story of many education startups born this year, like ClassEDU, which raised $16 million to put some oomph in Zoom classrooms. It was started by one of the co-founders of Blackboard, now a household name in education technology.

Now, a couple with similar industry cred has a similar vision—along with plenty of funding.

“We want to build from the ground up an inclusive learning system for students and faculty, one that can recreate engaging, live learning experiences online,” says Dan Avida.

Avida is the husband of Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller, and one of the first board members of the company that helped put the spotlight on massive online open courses, or MOOCs. The couple is no longer with Coursera, which is now valued at $2.5 billion. But they are not done

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Teachers Struggle To Recreate Language-Rich Classes For English Learners Online

When schools across California canceled in-person classes in the spring, some students lost crucial opportunities to learn and practice their new language – English.

About one-fifth of students in California are learning English as a second language, and most of their classes are only in English. In order to learn to speak, read and write fluently, they need additional language classes and many opportunities to practice speaking and interacting with peers and teachers, which can be difficult remotely.

Researchers and advocates for English learners say during distance learning, schools need to prioritize live instruction and small groups. They also need to work with families in their native languages to support learning at home and provide social-emotional support to ease anxiety and stress caused by the pandemic.

But many researchers, parents and teachers are worried that students learning English are not getting the help or the language instruction they need.


“As

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