“Chasing Interesting, Disruptive Movements” – Raise the Line Podcast Features Echo360 CEO Fred Singer
In a wide-ranging interview with Osmosis co-founder, Shiv Gaglani, Singer talked about what makes Echo360 different, describing it as a “learning company” not just an education technology company. Other key takeaways from their conversation include:
- The emergency shift to online learning using technology such as Zoom lacked the features that encourage teacher-student engagement to make it truly effective for learning.
- Higher education’s emergency response to COVID “unbundled” the on-campus university experience and exposed the relative value of classroom instruction.
- Higher education was already ripe for disruption and the pandemic accelerated trends that already existed.
- The future of higher education will not only include more hybrid and online learning, but colleges and universities will be able to create, deliver, and syndicate content to reach new audiences more cost-effectively.
Finally, Singer stated that he believes that the technology to create and deliver a better, economical, and more convenient learning experience for students already exists, and when properly designed and delivered, online and hybrid learning can be as good or better than the traditional classroom experience.
Here are some excerpts from the Q&A between Gaglani and Singer.
What makes Echo360 different?
“ . . . every school has what is called an LMS or learning management system . . . but they are administrative tools. So, what we began to think through was . . . when a teacher and student interact, what do you need to do? So, the first thing is it has to be video. The second thing is you’ve got to start focusing on the data and understanding what are those interactions? Do you understand them? And the third thing is you’ve got to get engagement up. You have to find a way when a student and a teacher are either in class or out of class for them to interact more and it turns out technology does that.”
“What makes us different is that we amalgamated all the core tools of learning into one place. Most schools have five, six, seven, eight tools out there, technologies to try to help them. They might have a clicker. They might have a transcript thing. They might have a place to store video. They might have something to record lectures. And we concluded about four or five years ago that you needed this platform that did it all-in-one, because it is too hard to train professors, and students don’t want to bounce between technologies. If you think about big data, you can’t capture interesting data if they’re from different sources because it never normalizes.”
“. . . we’re [Echo360] the only ones to really put it together and then think not as a technology company but as a learning company. How does this actually make students learn better and teachers teach more easily? That’s what made it special, and the results particularly during COVID have been outstanding just in terms of how the student learnings occurred.”
How will higher education transform in a post-COVID world?
“My view is that COVID accelerated trends that already existed. Online was already on its way. What we’ve seen in phase one is called emergency remote learning. Schools didn’t know what to do. Video conferencing was a way to replicate the class. And so, what we know about “Zoom University” is that [Zoom] is a really good communication method, but not necessarily better learning. So that’s the number one lesson we’ve learned.”
“ . . . what COVID also exposed is the relative value of the classroom. That’s where higher education’s facing a lot of trouble, because the truth is students have been having a hard time getting to class for a long time . . . A lot of times, people can’t get to class because they have work, they have jobs, they get sick, they have sports . . . everything. So, what we’re seeing for the first time is schools have to figure out how to deliver a better education when the student or the teacher is not in class. It’s not always going to be what it is today where it’s remote. What you’re going to see is, oh, some of the kids are in class, some of the kids aren’t in class. Or it’s a large lecture class with 300 people because that’s cost-effective. But 300 people on a video conferencing system doesn’t really work. How do we think about that? How do we think about learning differently?”
How has the pandemic affected your outlook at Echo360?
“I think we’ve had a number of schools start to completely outfit their entire campus [with video and classroom-capture technology] on a scale that we haven’t seen. We do online learning, so we do a lot of that as well. We’ve had a lot of customers that have had budget cuts, so they’re really desperate. But I think going forward, we’re going to see budget cuts and schools are going to have to deliver better education, they’re going to have to get their international students to be able to participate and they’re not going to get them all into class. They’re going to have to figure out a way to do remote and hybrid learning, and this is where we’re going to get to phase two.”
“We’re accelerating investment in online and hybrid learning. . . . We view content as a critical ability in enabling our [customers] not just deliver their own content, but now to begin to syndicate it and deliver it in other places. You’ll be seeing a lot of activity there.”
Does the technology and infrastructure exist to deliver effective online or hybrid learning?
“What I want everyone to understand is the gap between where education is today and where it will be. Unlike a lot of industries, all the technology and tools exist to deliver much cheaper education, much more convenient education . . . The classroom online and hybrid teaching can be as good or better than traditional classrooms. You can teach in multiple ways. You can allow people to participate.”
Listen to the Raise the Line podcast, “Chasing Interesting, Disruptive Movements,” featuring Echo360 CEO Fred Singer.
Learn more: From campus video management, lecture capture, online and hybrid learning and more, contact us to discover how Echo360 can help transform the teaching and learning experience at your institution.