Startup led by UB alums moves traditional classroom into modern age, UBNow

From left:  interactiveX includes Rohan Shah, CEO; Josh Krouse, vice president of research and development; and Vivian Luo, developer. Photo: Douglas Levere.

The online education company called interactiveX seems like something created in the computer labs of Silicon Valley, but it’s launching from UB’s Technology Incubator on Sweet Home Road in Amherst.

The firm, started by two UB alumni, has designed a technology platform for higher education called “Classavo” that gives professors a simple way to convert their “books and paper” courses into online experiences. Class materials like books, 3-D models, schedules, grades, attendance and more can be managed on a cloud-based platform that students can access from their smartphones or computers.

It is also an in-class tool that can display material on classroom computer screens.

The system has click-and-drag tools that teachers use to import and create textbooks, as well as manage documents, images and videos. Professors also can sell their teaching materials on the site. Analytical tools help manage grades and attendance, and produce complex tables and charts. The system is expandable, and Classavo designers add more features as professors suggest them.

The company, which recently was admitted to the START-UP NY economic development program, partners with open-source e-book publishers, and hopes to contract with larger publishers such as Pearson and McGraw-Hill.

It allows for a quick transformation of a traditional classroom into a modern, screen-based learning experience that today’s students may expect.

“The biggest problem today is teachers have too many tools to build,” says Rohan Shah, CEO and co-founder. “There are systems to record grades, a site for homework and attendance clickers in classes. There was a need to pull this all together.”

“Classavo is hosted on the cloud, so you don’t have to download anything,” Shah explains. “If teachers have problems, they can directly reach our help desk.”

The program, available at classavo.com, recently was used by participants at a hackathon at New Era Cap Company.

Published March 9, 2017

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