Edtech Insiders

This Week in Edtech with Ben Kornell, 9/9/22

September 09, 2022 Season 2 Episode 9
Edtech Insiders
This Week in Edtech with Ben Kornell, 9/9/22
Show Notes Transcript

Alexander Sarlin  0:05  
Welcome to Season Two of Edtech Insiders, where we talk to the most interesting thought leaders, founders, entrepreneurs, educators and investors driving the future of education technology. I'm your host, Alex Sarlin, an edtech veteran with over 10 years of experience at top edtech companies.

Ben Kornell  0:28  
Hi, everyone, it is the weekend ed tech. We're so excited to have you with us for the week of September 7. Got a lot of exciting news to cover today, including cyber attacks around the world metaverse. It's going to be a potpourri of attack joy. Before we dive into the headlines, Alex, what's going on with a tech insiders this week?

Alexander Sarlin  0:51  
Oh, wow, we've had some really great guests on Ed Tech insiders. On our interview podcast, we just spoke to Lisa Jiang and Joe Burgess, who are Flatiron School alums who are creating a tool for students success managers, which is a very under underappreciated part of online learning, but something that is a big and very fast growing one. Next week, we have an interview with shovin goalie who's the Chief Product Officer of Coursera, about everything Coursera has been doing for years and where they're going. It's been a lot of fun. And we've been thinking a lot about this learning loss stuff, which we'll cover later in the episode. So we can wait on that.

Ben Kornell  1:27  
Yeah, well, please check out the newsletter and sign up there. And also, when you go to stream this week in ed tech, make sure you check out some of those long form interviews. Also, just for our listeners know out tonight, we'll be in New York for New York ed tech week, we'd love to see you feel free to reach out to us, tweet us or mentioned us at LinkedIn. We'd love to talk to you. We'll be doing postcards from New York ad tech week like we did ASU GSB.

And without further ado, we're gonna jump into the headlines and I've got the first one. LA Unified had a huge cyber attack over the weekend. And for Alberto Carvalho, it's deja vu Carvalho was famously the superintendent of Miami schools when they were under attack about two years ago. 10:30pm on Saturday night, basically 600,000 students, and let's see how many employees something like 50,000 employees had their accounts hacked. No social security numbers or medical information was stolen, but the password resets are off the chain 5000 to 50,000 passwords that need to be reset in minutes. I'm sure there are directors of technology's been banging their heads against the wall thinking how are we going to do this, on our follow has been pretty decisive and setting up an independent information technology Task Force, and deploying technical staff across the school district. Remember, this is this in New York City are the two largest school districts in the US. But this is an alarming trend. Something like 65% of schools in last two years have experienced some sort of cyber attack. This one is called ransomware, where they're asking for payment in order to restore the the account information. And current reports show that it's coming from one of three countries from abroad. So it is hard enough to run quality schools, like running like tech forward organizations that are responsive to hackers. What's your take on all of this?

Alexander Sarlin  3:48  
It's pretty shocking. This is Ed Tech crossover news. This is something that is being covered in mainstream media outlets in tech outlets. It's on Engadget, because this is the kind of attack that you see for large companies for all sorts of government agencies for countries. The New York Times was attacked a few years ago. And I think the idea that the second largest school district in the US would be a target for a ransomware attack from overseas is both sort of like shocking. And I think it's going to be a wake up call for a lot of people who just would never have thought that's even an option. And also maybe a little bit of a validation for all of the it and you know, that basically the school infrastructure, technologists who over the years have been, you know, raising the flags about they might not have the safest system and they need to keep investing in cutting edge cyber security programs. You know, cyber security is not my strongest suit, I really tend to focus on, you know, learning technologies, but it is probably going to mean that the investments in just as as after the school shootings in Uvalde, we said that the investments in physical security are definitely going to go up and a lot of money's going to be channeled there. After this, you're gonna see a lot of money and a lot of manpower focused on keeping school systems safer. And that's important and necessary. I just hope it doesn't take away, you know too much from other solutions. And from a, you know, technologies that support learning. It's my sort of bias takeaway, but it is pretty intense. They also, you know, mentioned that 26 school districts had been hit with a ransomware attack in the US so far this year. And it's like, this is becoming a common occurrence. And I just think it's, hopefully this one, we'll put it on everybody's radar, and there'll be some kind of sort of the FBI is getting involved. That'd be some kind of solution from above, that doesn't just force every school and district to keep trying to keep up with international cyber attacks. It seems like a fool's errand and pretty much impossible to do a loan.

Ben Kornell  5:55  
Yeah, I would say one thing people think about on this podcast is what's the impact on kids, what you also have to remember is that in LA County, La Public Schools is the number two employer behind the county of Los Angeles. So they've got something like 78,000 total employees, who are fundamentally impacted from doing their jobs, and potentially having sensitive work information stolen or hacked. One thing on the strategic front is, you know, should districts pay money? Or should they not? And you see, San Francisco actually paid $1.2 million last year to resolve similar things. You know, what should someone do? Alex, do you think they should pay the ransom? Or should they not pay the ransom? Or, like, what do you do when you've been hacked?

Alexander Sarlin  6:47  
This is probably a cop out have an answer. But I don't think that school districts should have to pay out of their own budgets. I think that it basically this should be elevated to a national issue. This is based I mean, when you attack a school district that serves 500,000 students like LA, that's basically a national security attack. I think that's like the NSA and the FBI. I don't I think this is way beyond schools, and even beyond regular corporate attacks, you know, when they hacked Adobe, then Adobe has to decide whether to pay, but if they're hacking the school system, I think the federal government should have to pay if anybody,

Ben Kornell  7:23  
ultimately, you know, whether it's have to pay or whether there's a fund to cover these things, or that fund covers, you know, payments, but also prevention, there's a real need for us as education sector to look at our security infrastructure, and invest in it. And you know, people don't realize that many of these school districts are the largest employers, they're some of the largest organizations, LA Unified has revenues of $20 billion, that we put them in the Fortune 500. So just thinking about like a fortune 500 company getting a hack of this magnitude, and not really having the sophistication to navigate all of it. I think that that, you know, answers a lot of questions around why are our schools struggling to meet the needs of all the kids, it's because there's so many other things on their plate that they're being required to do. And by the way, again, this is another opportunity for tech folks that can sell security systems to schools and school districts. There's a guardian securely, there's a bunch of organizations that protect student data, but you know, probably an area that needs even more investment and potentially more opportunity for Ed Tech. And stepping even further back, tell us a little bit about some of the new data coming up out about learning loss and post pandemic recovery for

Alexander Sarlin  8:47  
some pretty shocking and somewhat disappointing data came out this week from the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is a study they do every other year to check math and reading scores across the I think they do fourth grade is where it's mostly head. It's about nine, nine year olds. So basically, what they're finding out is that between 2020 and 2022, it was the largest drop in math and reading scores in 50 years in the US, humongous drops across the board, they dropped for pretty much every population. But of course, as we always hear in education, it dropped more for the low income students. It dropped more for the lowest performing schools dropped more for black students in math, they were went down 13% Compared to 5% for white students in math. And so you're just seeing inequalities grow and huge drops. And what's particularly disappointing to me is that this is it sort of proportional in some ways to the schools that had longer closures and more remote learning. So, you know, schools that are in states that have, you know, policies to keep the schools closed was for a longer time to stay remote and online longer saw larger decreases. And when you look across the world, you know, the US had 77 weeks of school closure, compared to you know, the second most country was Canada with 52. And countries like Japan and France had 11 or 12 weeks of school clothes. So the US basically had four to five times as much school loss as other countries. And now we're seeing the results of that. And it's pretty painful, lots of inequalities, that are enormously exacerbated by these issues. So it's pretty depressing. And I think that, you know, for the EdTech world, I really hope that we don't sort of collectively circle the wagons and say, Hold on, hold on, this wasn't real remote learning that teachers weren't didn't get any professional development. And, you know, there weren't enough parents involved and all this stuff. Yes, all of that is true. 100% all true. But, you know, the metaphor I sort of like to think of it this is that, you know, we were the understudy, we were sort of standing in the wings, that if something were to ever happen to the traditional in person school system, we've been trying as an industry to create high quality learning alternatives, many of which are free, many of which are proven, they usually involve professional development, there's lots of money that's gone into them in every different way. And seeing that basically, without in person school, there were enormous, enormous, you know, losses, I think, should be a wake up call for our whole industry. And we should really think about if this were to ever happen again, or some other version of it, how could ed tech come across as the hero rather than, you know, the goat? You know, in this particular scenario,

Ben Kornell  11:46  
I mean, there's plenty of blame to go around. And obviously, there was a political failure here around, you know, stopping or limiting the spread of pin the pandemic, creating schools that were safe, there was kind of a Republican versus Democrat debate with organized labor saying, we're not going back to schools and with, you know, Republican leadership cross, you know, White House and Congress saying, you know, there is no pandemic or mass don't work or blah, blah, blah. But I agree that the this is a body blow to online learning as a construct. And, you know, basically, any educator now feels like they have definitive proof that see, like online work, learning doesn't work as well as what I do. And, you know, it's hard to debate that, given the data that we see. So then the question, you know, for, for some, it will be, you know, what, like, k 12, online learning that's just not an investable space, or that's not like, that's never going to be core, let's move on to workforce learning, etc. And others are going to continue to dive deeper into okay, how could we make it better not all online learning or remote learning is created equal? I think the glimmer of hope is that parents don't have the same perception of kids performance, as the surveys do. And as this Nate data does, and some of that data was basically only 9% of parents of K 12 students only 9% were somewhat concerned their child would ever catch up. In fact, 53 or 43%, said their kids experienced no learning loss at all. And then we also another survey, California found that 54% of parents think their kids academic performance is better than before COVID versus just 23%. Who think it's worse. You know, why that disconnect? It could be that, you know, grade inflation accelerated. So hey, my kids are getting A's. What's wrong, could also be fundamental questions around these tape tests actually measuring what really matters in terms of academic outcomes. You know, the LSAT and standardized tests have been under assault for a long time, by folks from many different angles, saying it doesn't adequately man and measure student progress. So all in all, I think the data is definitive, those who were behind, were hurt the most. As you disaggregate the data, some states came back sooner, and some cane states came back later. And when we see the states came back sooner, the data suggests that those most vulnerable kids did better in the states that came back sooner. And I think there's that takeaway that you mentioned, which is, you know, Ed Tech was really ascendant during the pandemic, it was a period of optimism. I think we've got to look in the mirror and figure out how do we do better going forward? Yeah, and by the way, Alex, I just want to shout out the newsletter that you sent out. You can read a lot about this. There's a lot of links in there a lot of the charts and data that kind of is behind it, as well as some like fun giffy type stuff. It's just a great way to kind of dive deep in into this data, make meaning of it, and then share it with your colleagues, friends, or even as parent, you know, navigate this stuff.

Alexander Sarlin  15:07  
Thanks for the shout out. I mean, it's a pretty crazy time. And the stats are really all over the place. I mean, you have things saying that only 30% of parents have faith in the school system. But more than half of parents think that their kids are doing better than before COVID How does that come together? Very few parents are concerned about the amount that children are learning, but they're really worried about what's being taught in schools. So there's a lot of very contradictory and confusing, you know, messaging going around. And I think parents don't know what to think. But this data is basically saying, hey, closing the schools did not do our kids a favor. And I really do hope we sort of don't apologize too much for it and say, Yeah, you know, online learning can do better. And instead, just make it do better. Because we're all here to do.

Ben Kornell  15:55  
Well, speaking of like, helping kids get better, we'd love to take you in headline number three around the world. We've been pretty us focused with our back to school coverage here in August and early September, and a lot is going on abroad, all of which, you know, suggests that some of the trends that existed pre pandemic that were accelerated, continue to be valid. Let's start with China, which was really the Darling pre pandemic, and then experienced an incredible crackdown on private enterprise in education. We're starting to see new investments, especially in college, career training, and workforce development. China, liberal education holdings, acquired Wen Huang, investment limited for 60 million USD, this is a education services provider that is really gobbling up three and four year colleges in China. And so what we're kind of seeing is there's a ring fence around k 12. But there's some innovation in early childhood. And then post secondary, we also go to Brazil, where V true limited, acquired red Nm. And basically, this is a distance learning company that is focused on post secondary, and this is a content plus platform play. Brazil is one of those unique markets where it's very large, it also has a language barrier that prevents, you know, a lot of the Spanish speaking or English speaking companies to fully penetrate. And so this idea of, you know, native language content going with a platform to power upskilling. It's a really incredible formula. And it's probably one of those markets where a native player can really roll that all up. Coming back around, we go to Africa, where 8 billion and education investments have happened over the last 12 to 16 months, 8 billion seems like a lot. But compared to what we've seen invested in India, 42 billion. It's really interesting, as we see that kind of numbers of the population. You know, in Africa, there's 1.2 billion people, but only four startups have achieved unicorn status in India, which has 1.4 billion people 105 Unicorn status companies. It will be interesting to watch the African continent and then also individual companies within Africa and particularly bullish on Nigeria, given the kind of use of mobile across all parts of life there, they projected to have almost a billion in population in the next 20 years. You also look at the average age 70% of people are below the age of 30. So we're really seeing a bunch of new activity in Africa. Another report had 141 and tech startups in Africa, having raised 435 million USD in the past 12 months. So that 8 billion number that's overall then you've got a growing at tech startup community. And then kind of completing our journey. We're going to the Middle East, where our big player in India by juice is in talks with Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund and Qatar's Investment Authority to raise another 503 100 50 million respectively. So we're talking like 850 million, potentially, at a $23 billion valuation to fund their roll up strategy and acquisitions. What this tells us is one buy juice is doubling down on roll ups and acquisitions and integrations, despite some of the things that we've heard about, you know, the mid success that they've had in terms of integrating, but this is really about their path to IPO. And if they raise this money, they roll up even more LTV underneath what is already us Study CAC, they could actually be the largest edtech company and the largest ed tech IPO in history. So a round robin, we basically hit all the continents, except for we didn't hit Europe, we didn't hit North America and we didn't hit Antarctica, but you know, kind of going around the world, there's a lot to be excited about in terms of edtech. What kind of themes are you seeing?

Alexander Sarlin  20:24  
I love this global edtech landscape, it's really, you know, I was mentioned on the podcast how hold on IQ, who, which does, like a really amazing job of tracking tech investments sort of has this rest of world category that includes all of South America, all of Africa. And I think getting a little more specific and looking at what's happening in Brazil, which, as you say, Ben is really unique, even within South Africa, within South America. And then looking at the excitement that's happening in Africa is it's promising, I think, you know, because edtech landscape, you have many different solutions to every different problem, but then they tend to sort of aggregate and synergize and, and build up and work together, it just is so promising to see, you know, hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars in African edtech. Because you know, that that's going to then, sort of grow the pool of online learners grow the pool of people who are believed that Ed Tech and education technology is actually a real solution, which then serves the entire global, you know, global ed tech world. So I think that's really exciting. By Jews, I'm just, I'm almost giving up on knowing what's going on with by Jews, the headlines are always so complex, and sort of in the weeds, about the finances, they're getting in trouble with the Ministry of corporate affairs in India, I really do hope because by Jesus, this huge standard bearer for the industry, I hope that it goes the direction that you just said, Ben and becomes, you know, the biggest IPO and this big reason to celebrate, and not sort of mired in strange financial conflict and start something that people start to sort of whisper. I don't know which way it'll go. i It feels like every week we get, you know, conflicting ideas there, but I'm excited. And then, you know, just in terms of Europe, had the privilege of being on the bright eye education, sort of ed tech events that are happening this week. bright eye education is a terrific investment group in Europe. And they've been putting together a bunch of really interesting events. And I'll tell you that, you know, the European ed tech scene is just exploding, the money continues to roll in. There's so many hungry, excited, super smart startup founders in Europe, in all different countries doing really innovative things. So we didn't cover it this week. But I am extremely bullish on European edtech. As well, we're seeing more and more sort of unicorns and see unicorns coming out of that.

Ben Kornell  22:47  
Yeah. And overall, it does often suggest that like for an investor to really be successful in that tech space, you almost have to come with a global lens. Now, it's really hard even for the smaller investors to just play in the US market, for example, because there is so much opportunity elsewhere. But also, as the global edtech ecosystem grows and is populated, there's just going to be way more crossover country to country then there has been before obviously my juices doing that, you know, we're just seeing innovation come from, you know, different places than where it's come before where the funding system has primarily been US based.

Alexander Sarlin  23:32  
We've been covering Kahoot for many months on the podcast, but this company quizzes, which is, you know, shares a lot of the DNA of Kahoot. It's also sort of a engagement quizzing platform, but it's out of India has been growing like crazy, and they're sort of headed on a little bit of a collision course I think. But it's good. It's good for the space for there to be multiple players in that world. So it's exciting. Let's talk briefly about the metaverse, we haven't talked about it a couple of weeks, I believe even though we do a lot. So meta versity that concept of meta versity is starting to grow meta and they're sort of VR or extended reality vendor victory. VR just opened 10 virtual campuses this week, Morehouse College, Cal State Alabama a&m, New Mexico State a whole bunch of them University of Maryland Global Campus. It's an interesting move. I think we've talked on the podcast before about how it may be feels a little bit skeuomorphic a little bit maybe silly to build you know, online virtual campuses that are mirror your in person campuses, it feels like a little like a small step. But I've had the privilege of talking to one of the immersive education leads at meta recently. And one of the things that they're really excited about is how these med adversities can serve as a sort of home base, but then can launch into all sorts of different really compelling and wacky experiences. So for example, a lot of these these schools can have cadaver labs that you can use as part of your learning, even if the school itself might not have a real cadaver lab, or you can, you know, do all sorts of virtual travels and go back in time and all this stuff. So I think the thinking here is that the meta versity becomes a little bit of a home and it sort of shares the brand of an existing university, but it can serve as a launchpad for all of these different interesting, you know, Metaverse specific experiences. And victory XR I think is a is a VR vendor or XR vendor. So quick primer here XR extended reality vr Virtual Reality AR augmented reality and Mr is mixed reality. XR is the umbrella term for all of them. So victory XR does this sort of subscription fee for students to access virtual spaces and they becoming sort of a lead vendor for the university metaverse? You know, model. So interesting to see where it goes. And you know, we're also seeing some dental education going into Metaverse, which is kind of neat use the Oxford University Press is partnering with immersify education to create immersify Dental, which is interactive learning modules that are augmented reality. And for dental learners, you can sort of imagine that that would be pretty useful. We've seen moving in surgical for a while. So you know, I don't know if any of this news entirely groundbreaking about the sort of Metaverse, but I think someday we may look back and say, oh, yeah, that funny moment where all the schools started building. Metaverse campuses, actually was a little bit of a tipping point where it became easy to imagine what the launchpad of the metaverse would look like. So we'll see if that comes true or not. What do you think, Ben, you're sometimes a little more skeptical than I am about the metaverse?

Ben Kornell  26:49  
Well, I think that this set of articles, one lets us know that there's a degree to which virtual reality is happening. And it's inevitable. And to there are really good specific use cases of where virtual reality is better than what we're doing today. Because it either grants amazing accessibility, where it allows you to do things that you couldn't do or would be incredibly expensive or high risk in real life, like surgery or dental, you know, dental work, I don't want any dental student learning on my teeth. So I think that like any good product when it has a great use case, it can be really successful. But I do think that the open question, as we talked about in the earlier segment is will the metaverse supplant, you know, in person learning meaningfully. And, you know, what I would say is I see them living side by side and I see dosage of virtual reality being paired well with a much higher dose, you know, 8020 kind of thing of in person learning, or even just flat zoom learning. Because really, what you need virtual reality for is a very specific set of hands on capabilities. Now where Metaverse is going, I think has more of an entertainment and social interactive, you know, feel to it. But the learning applications are probably still going to be much more niche and, you know, embedded in curriculum. So that's my take on it. But I will say like, you know, when we look back, you know, 20 years from now, one of the themes we will probably talk about is the emergence of virtual reality as a technology and the emergence of AI. And I think we might be more skeptical about, you know, web three blockchain architecture as fundamentally transformed. Four minutes. That's just one where you know where I am today. We've certainly had guests on who would argue both sides of that Bitcoin.

Alexander Sarlin  29:05  
I see what you did there.

Ben Kornell  29:06  
Thank you. You're welcome. I'll be here.

Alexander Sarlin  29:09  
Then do you want to tell us about some of the funding rounds that happened in a deck this week?

Ben Kornell  29:13  
Oh, yeah. So you know, you might have heard all the doom and gloom, but there are still a lot of chats being written. And what we know is that when things aren't announced in September, they probably happened in 2022. So this is, you know, post economy meltdown. A couple highlights glint raised $50 million. It's a recruiting platform with 3 million professionals that help over 50,000 companies in Southeast Asia source tech talent in the Philippines for remote roles. I wanted to do a segment sometime on offshoring and this move from outsourced to offshore. What's clear is that tech labor is totally you know, crossing borders. and people are getting way more smart about how to recruit and retain, you know, high capability tech people in lower cost environments. So I'm very bullish on glint, learn soft has raised 17 million. It's a San Diego based startup. And they do compliance focus LMS that grew from a long standing founded in 1987. Technology Training business. Learn softens interesting. There's actually kind of a I know that called Silicon Beach is Venice Beach. But there's like a San Diego ed tech crew that's really starting to grow and learn soft is an OG and pretty cool that they're diving in to really, you know, provide data for LMS systems and schools and learning groups. Similar to glint, Astro raised 13 million, it's Austin based. And instead of connecting people with folks in the Philippines, Astro connects people to engineering talent in Latin America, very bullish on this one too, because of the time difference, you know, if you're outsourcing or offshoring to Europe, or Asia, and you're in the US, that's pretty hard to navigate the time difference. But you know, if you're doing it in Latin, you're, you know, same timezone. And then two more looming, you raised 5 million Canadian dollars. So I don't know 3.5 million US dollars. They host a podcast that provides continuing education programming to CPAs. In the US, this is I think, a growing world of niche edutainment providers, and the idea that the company could connect with CPAs. This professional category is really interesting. Also, the company's already profitable. And so you really love people who are raising rounds, and doubling down on rd profitable business. And then last early day, a New York based staffing marketplace for early childhood educators. So not only do we need to staff engineering role roles, we need early childhood educators. You know, Alex, you've written about this before, we basically have this geographic crisis where certain geographies are just impossible to find childcare, and early day is solving that problem. Lots of funding rounds really exciting to see things pick back up here in the fall. How about on the m&a front? Yeah, a

Alexander Sarlin  32:25  
few different acquisitions this week, as well, we saw Discovery Education, which is private equity, backed by an already bought doodle, which is a math and ELA company earlier this month, and it just acquired pivot interactives, which provides science activities for K 12 students. So Discovery Education is a giant mostly content, you know, business with a lot of different arms and they're continuing to grow and grow as they have a major footprint in classrooms. We saw a tech unicorn unicorn Atomy out of india buy test prep firm gate Academy, which is a Bangalore based test prep startups. So that's sort of a, you know, a pretty clear acquisition, probably to get the users at least, you know Academy is one of a handful of really big test prep unicorns in India, k 12. technology company, Elio, which is a Betta S company that provides technology solutions to 16,000 schools acquire school info, which is a app creator for schools has created mobile apps for over 2500 schools. So another pretty natural fit where you have typed you can sort of package the ability to give schools the ability to have mobile apps for their learners and and certainly parents, we saw scholastic by learning ovations which is a creator of a literary literacy assessment and instructional system that is scholastics bread and butter. We saw a company called ZAN. Edu, that's x an edu, acquire PLC associates, which is a training, measurement and advisory material, basically a professional development and measurement firm for K 12 leaders out of Chicago. And then edu, which provides content and curriculum services bought together form a new company called scholar learning a little bit a little bit of a complicated one, but Zanni do u forms a new company and acquires a PLC Associates is a little bit inside baseball for some of the ad tech acquisitions for this week. So we're seeing big companies like discovery and Scholastic continue to grow and youth academy and test prep. And that's all she wrote for this week.

Ben Kornell  34:45  
Incredible. Well, it's been a really interesting week across the global, local and national landscapes. We're so glad that you joined us here this week for Ed Tech insiders. If it happens in ed tech, you'll hear about it here. are on this weekend

Alexander Sarlin  35:14  
Welcome to our deep dive section of the tech insiders week in edtech. podcast we have a really exciting guest and a really exciting announcement to talk through in this episode. I'd love to welcome Anjali Gupta, the head of academic partnerships@outlier.org.

Anjuli Gupta  35:31  
Thank you so much, Alex. It's great to be here. And great to see you again.

Alexander Sarlin  35:35  
Yeah, you too. So Anjali, big news coming out of outlier this week, the announcement of the degrees plus program, outlier has been shaking up, you know, the higher ed system for a while. Tell us about what degrees plus is.

Anjuli Gupta  35:50  
Yeah. Thank you. And thanks for the kind words. Yeah, so the basic idea is that we need to evolve the way we think about associate's degrees. And specifically, we need to think about them as as a two fold credential one piece as a stepping stone into a bachelor's degree. And they also need to have a career enhancing option. So when we say degrees plus it's an associate degree that paths to a bachelor degree and we can talk about that a little bit more in a minute. But we also mean a career credential that gets students into a living wage, family sustaining job and career track.

Alexander Sarlin  36:26  
And it sounds like outlier has just announced three degrees plus programs and Associates Degree in Applied Computing in Business Administration's or in liberal studies. So three different associates in partnership with Golden Gate University in San Francisco. So how does the partnership look what part of the degree is created by outlier and what part is created and delivered by Golden Gate?

Anjuli Gupta  36:52  
Absolutely. So Golden Gate University first is absolutely phenomenal partner and these are Golden Gate University degrees. Golden Gate has been serving adult students with a real focus on supporting economic mobility for adult learners for 120 years. So they're really a leader nationally in these kinds of programs. And they've been phenomenal to work with really bold vision and incredible higher ed administrators to work with. So these are fully Golden Gate University degrees, meaning they are led by courses are led by Golden Gate instructors. Golden Gate actually has WASC accreditation for all three of the programs, manages financial aid manages admissions decisions, and selected outlier to power the underlying learning experience. So the course materials used in the programs are gonna look a lot like the open access course materials and look and feel a lot like the open access course materials that students have come to know and love from outlier.

Alexander Sarlin  37:52  
And you know outlier, for I think this is probably known by most of our listeners. But outlier is founded by the creator of masterclass and both companies are designed to really bring very high production quality, very high level of instruction and sort of pizzazz to the instructional materials. So it sounds like outliar will be delivering its standard very high quality level of instruction and bringing great instructors on for the courseware for the online video portion. And Golden Gate. We'll be doing discussions we'll be doing the grading, we'll be doing admissions, office hours, and interactive support. Am I missing anything there?

Anjuli Gupta  38:31  
No, that's exactly right. And just to drill down on the outlier learning experience a little bit more. So outlier is founded by Aaron Rasmussen, who's the co founder of masterclass, our VP of Marketing, Reed Benson also came over from masterclass along with our VP of video. So there are some strong similarities there. What I would say is kind of a secret weapon in terms of outlier versus masterclass is the really deep pedagogical platform that we've built. And for that make us Dollfie our VP of product has a master's degree in game design. And so what we're trying to do is recognize for the for that base layer of learning experience, we're trying to recognize that students are watching Netflix, they're playing video games, they're interacting with websites and trying to build specifically, you know, from scratch for that understanding of what students need.

Alexander Sarlin  39:24  
Yeah, so let's talk a little bit about the cost. It looks like you know, the degrees are going to cost about just under $5,000 a year. So doing full time that's under $10,000. For associate's degree. I wanted to ask about how the associate's degree fits into sort of the lifecycle of a student. How do they get into the degree? How do they do it and how much does it cost and then where can they take it after they finish?

Anjuli Gupta  39:52  
Yeah, so you're kind of asking three questions. One of them is, are are people looking for a degree or a career How much does it cost? And then what are all the Transfer Pathways to power this family? Right? So so let me kind of break this down. So, first of all, what are they looking for? Well, in our research as we prepare to support Golden Gate with these programs, we found that about 85% of students who start an associate's degree, have an aspirational goal of getting a bachelor's degree and, and the reality is that despite amazing leaps and strides in kind of inclusion in in workforce, and hiring, the paper ceiling still exists in many places at the bachelor's degree. So I think it's a smart choice for students to still aspire to that. We are also seeing, though, that historically, about about 15% of students who start an associate's degree actually complete a bachelor's degree in a reasonable period of time. And in recent years, that's dropped to even 13%. So it's not going to be a one shot from the associate degree to the bachelor's degree. And the question is what happens in between? Well, students are going to either toggle between focusing on college or focusing on career, you know, 75, almost 75% of students are either parents or working full times. So the demographics of the typical college student has shifted. And we were really delighted to work with Golden Gate University, which has a pretty bold vision of how you can create a program that gets students to both of those equally important goals. So that was your first question. I think your second question was just around cost. And so for tuition, all intuition is a little bit less than $9,000, for this 60 credit associate degrees plus programs from Golden Gate. And that's no hidden fees, no textbooks, no transportation fees. So this is this is fully funded college for half of America. So about a little more than half of college students qualify for a Pell grant that's big enough to fully cover this tuition. So and that's key for us from an from an outlier perspective, as well, because we have a two fold mission, which is to expand access to high quality education and reduce student debt. So Alex, the second part of your question is about cost. And so the average cost of community college, according to the College Board, is about $7,100 a year and that includes fees, supplies and transportation, I think what's different about these degrees plus programs from Golden Gate University, is that those additional fees don't apply. So the tuition which is a little bit less than $4,500, a year for a full time student is significantly less overall. So that's, I think that's the big differences is no hidden fees, and no additional textbook or transport costs, which really add up for students. And your last question was about transfer. So we're really thrilled with the transfer policies that Golden Gate University has put in place they've been absolutely incredible. So first, if someone has started taking outlier courses already, and they've gotten two classes, or more with a GPA of 2.5, or higher, so a B and a C, they are guaranteed admission into degrees plus programs, they still have to apply. But the application fee is way if they're guaranteed admission. If they finish a degrees plus program with a GPA, again of 2.5 or greater, they're guaranteed admission into bachelors programs at Golden Gate University. So they're really taken care of end to end. And if students ended up in bachelor's degrees programs at Golden Gate University, they've generously offered some tuition discounts, both for students but also for their immediate family. So it's really an incredible package. And really, I think forward thinking package that they Hagerman, who's the Dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies at Golden Gate has put together for students.

Alexander Sarlin  43:39  
Absolutely. I have one more question. But I just want to sort of summarize because I did ask three questions in one and I just want to put it all together. So it sounds like the degrees cost less than $4,500 a year which is lower than most community college costs, given that most community college costs have additional fees, textbooks, transportation, a lot of external fees, we also have a situation where people can guarantee admission by taking outlier courses or applied directly when they come out of the course they can take the credit and transfer it to a Golden Gate bachelor's degree, and you know really sort of weave right into that pathway, that aspirational pathway for bachelors. And you're really focusing on the sort of 75% You know, so many of the students, parents, they are working professionals, they're they're working people. There's a real focus from both outliers perspective and golden gates, reaching the underserved which have been traditionally really under underserved in in the US system, community college just has not fulfilled its mission of getting people all the way through to to bachelor so it's a really exciting set of options. The last question I want to ask is about Amazon. So outlier.org has already been approved as an Amazon career choice partner but it sounds like with This announcement now there's a really significant offering for all of those Amazon employers. Amazon's, I think the second biggest employer in the US. So tell us about that. You know what the options are for Amazon workers?

Anjuli Gupta  45:13  
Yeah, absolutely. So we are up until yesterday, we were an option for all 750,000 hourly workers at Amazon who are eligible for the Career Choice Program to take a college entry certificate, which was basically a bundle of pick transcripted courses from outlier that enabled them to try College, see what they liked, and then have something that was really transferable when they wanted to start a degree. But I think a lot of Amazon associates are really looking for that degree right off the bat. And so we are absolutely thrilled that Amazon has made us one of five national education providers, and that we are, you know, one of only a couple of associate degrees that are available nationally to career choice associates.

Alexander Sarlin  46:02  
One of the things that really excites me about this announcement, there are a lot of I think, really groundbreaking pieces of it is that it's bringing one of the elements of ed tech that I think has been not gotten as much attention as it as it might have, which is the real dedication to creating high quality video pedagogically sound platforms, sort of really trying to up the experience for an online student. And then combining that with the sort of partnership model that you have been pioneering hair with Golden Gate. Sometimes it feels like that combination is a little bit rare. But it this could be a real pioneering first attempt to do extremely high quality, very engaging, very casting, you know, call beautiful online instruction, but actually for credit and degrees. Does that resonate with some of the one of the many things you're doing?

Anjuli Gupta  46:54  
Yeah, it absolutely does. And I think that that privilege that we have as outlier coming to this, and, you know, launching in 2018 2019, we're four years old is that we came in with the premise that we were building for a certain world. And so we've been able to build for current students expectations. And I think that, you know, community colleges are really rooted in communities and have all sorts of amazing links that are really geographically specific, I think most students go to community college within 10 miles of their home. And so I just think about it as, as perhaps two pretty different value propositions, that we want to be able to serve any student anywhere and serve up the best possible online learning experience that we can imagine that has that Career Link the students need. And so that's how we think about it. And I think you've got it exactly right.

Alexander Sarlin  47:50  
Yeah. And you'll have a lot of data to be able to continually improve, which is another wonderful thing about the Ed Tech fluently. Phenomenal. Thank you so much. This is a really exciting announcement, Anjali Gupta, head of academic partnerships@outlier.org

Anjuli Gupta  48:04  
Thank you, Alex.

Alexander Sarlin  48:07  
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