Dropping out of university to launch a start-up is old hat. The twist with Joseph Cohen, Dan Getelman and Jim Grandpre is that their start-up aims to improve how universities work. In May 2011 the three founders quit the University of Pennsvlvania. to launch Coursekit,soon renamed as Lore.whichhas already raised $ 6m to develop what Mr. Cohen, its 21-year-old chief executive, describes as a social-learning network for the classroom".
Lore is part of a trend that builds on the familiarity with social networking that has come with the success of Facebook. It customizes the rules of a network to meet the specific needs of students. Anyone teaching a class would reasonably worry that students using Facebook were gossiping rather than learning useful information from their network of friends. Lore allows teachers to control exactly who is in the network by issuing a class-membership code and to see how they are using it. They can also distribute course materials, contact students, manage tests and grades, and decide what to make public and what to keep private. Students can also interact with each other.
In the academic year after launching its first version last November, Lore was used in at least one class in 600 diversities and colleges. Its goal for its second year, about to begin, is to spread rapidly within those 600 institutions, not least to see what the effects of scale are from having lots of classes signed up within the same institution.
The firm has a fast-growing army of fans in the faculty common room. Lore, says Edward Boches, who uses it for his advertising classes at Boston University, makes teaching "more interactive, extends it beyond the classroom and stimulates students to learn from each other rather than just the professor. "
Among other challenges for the company, there remains the small matter of figuring out a business model. For the moment it has none. Mr. Cohen hopes that eventually Lore could become the primary marketplace for everything from courses to textbooks, but so far the service is free and carries no advertising. Blackboard, the industry incumbent (占有者), charges users for its course-management software. It remains to be seen how it will respond to the upstart(新贵).
The lack of a plan does not appear to bother Lore’s founders or investors, -who seem content to learn a lesson from another university drop-out, Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook: achieve critical mass in your network and the profits will follow. And after that perhaps they can expect an honorary degree from the a/ma mater(母校).
1. What do we learn from the first paragraph about Lore?
A. It specializes in producing old hats.
B. It aims to improve the way universities work.
C. It invests $ 6m in the development of social network.
D. It promotes the communication among classmates.
2. What does Lore enable teachers to do?
A. Meet specific needs of students.
B. Learn useful information from friends.
C. Control the online class membership.
D. Monitor students’ personal privacy.
3. For its second-year goal, Lore is to __
A. increase fans in the faculty common room
B. launch its second version in 600 universities
C. make more classes from 600 institutions signed up
D. spread its influence within the same institution
4. Concerning the prospect of Lore, Mr. Cohen expects it to
A. confront with Blackboard as an equal
B. offer free service to the advertisers
C. cover businesses from courses to textbooks
D. Develop its own come-management software
5. What do we learn about Lore’s founders?
A. They can’t be bothered to design a business model.
B. They learn a lesson from the success of Facebook.
C. They will not make profits without drawing mass users.
D. They desire to receive an honorary degree from the alma mater.