Distance Learning | News

New Service Lets Teams Build Online Courses

A software-as-a-service application that allows teams of users to create online courses has gone into open beta. The courses built with Versal for Teams from Versal can include text, video, quizzes, charts, diagrams, and customizable interactive simulations. The courses can be published and shared directly with learners or embedded into a Web site or blog.

This is a follow-on product to the company's initial release, which is also called Versal. The team edition adds administrative features such as a dashboard for managing author activity and access, course progress and settings, and learner success tracking.

Currently, the tool is intended for non-programmers. They drag and drop "gadgets" into the course to set it up. Eventually, the company expects to add a JavaScript application programming interface; it has already begun signing up early adopters to test the API.

"The importance of Versal for Teams was evident within weeks after we launched the company in July," said Versal founder and CEO Gregor Freund. "We instantly started hearing feedback from companies and universities that they loved the ability to create and publish courses, but needed tools to manage everything internally. This is only our first step in building out a platform that is flexible for anyone — individual instructors and organizations alike."

The "base" program is free to users and includes a gigabyte of storage for content, development of three courses and the ability for up to 100 people to access the course. For teams with more than three courses, 100 expected learners, or courses with high-bandwidth needs, the pricing starts at $250 per month. Custom solutions and professional services are also available.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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