Lore Repor: Our latest name to go live, Lore, launched this week, and the reception has been tremendous. Students now have a first-rate tool with an inspired and inspiring name to help them create and manage the 21st Century education experience, in college and beyond.
Here is a round-up of Lore reviews with excerpts.
The concept of the social network has revolutionized the job search, personal photography, and the way people share music. The founders of Lore, formerly known as Coursekit, are hoping that the way that students interact, with teachers and among themselves, is social networking's latest disruptive innovation.
...Lore is a social network, and as such, its aim is to facilitate a conversation that goes beyond the classroom. With a course "stream" similar to a Facebook "wall", Lore encourages students to share information related to the course that might not fit into a lecture. More specifically, students can post videos, articles, and study tips to the stream so that educators can capitalize on the sharing that is so deeply embedded in social networks. Lore imagines that these contributions would then be recorded to comprise one's online profile, which they hope would follow students throughout their academic careers.
In an era when qualifying academic progress has gripped the educational community, a Lore profile could become a method by which both students and institutions measure progress in a substantive way. Academic achievements such as research papers and lab reports could likewise be made available to the public as potential credentials for graduate programs or potential employers. Lore, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other recent Internet sensations, is thus branding itself as a platform that gives individuals the opportunity to build their own brand.
Coursekit is dead; long live Lore.
Launched in the middle of the Fall semester last year, academic social network Coursekit is already in use at more than 600 colleges. And even in its early days, Coursekit co-founder Joseph Cohen noticed adoption wasn't limited to just college classes.
Belly dancing instructors use Coursekit. Bible study groups use Coursekit. General Assembly uses Coursekit. NYU professor Aswath Damodaran used Coursekit to teach his class to 3,000 people around the world. College students use Coursekit to continue engaging with classmates over the course material after the semester ends. People have thrown together hacks to use the site for things it wasn't designed for.
Any smart founder knows what to do when that happens. You embrace it.
In a brief phone conversation, Mr. Cohen told Betabeat that his team had come to feel the name "Coursekit" was too confining. He and his cofounders started the company while in school, as a way for professors to better manage their courses and for students to connect outside of the classroom. But since then, they've covered a lot of ground–they've dropped out, they're at $6 million in venture funding and in 600 institutions–and along the way, their thinking has evolved. "Our vision is to be a platform for learning in whatever form," whether a course-specific study group or broader school community, Cohen explained.
"We don't think there are many inspiring brands in the area, and we want to be that," he explained. "We're looking to build a big company here, and we felt that our name was limiting."
So why Lore? Well, there are the practical aspects: "It's short, simple, sweet, but we could also fill it with meaning because not that many people use the word very often." But the term also has bigger implications: "Lore means knowledge shared between people, which is what we do."
Despite the name change and the seeming broadening of focus, Cohen refused to reveal any upcoming alterations to the offering itself: "As of today, we're not announcing any product changes." That said, "you should expect things to get better and bigger and evolve over time."
Joseph Cohen, Lore's co-founder and CEO, said "As a name, Lore gives us freedom to grow, and reflects our belief that learning is about connecting people. We aim to build a lasting brand that inspires a spirit of learning."
...According to Thiel's statement, "The Internet is reshaping how people learn, and Lore is one of the companies making that happen. My course at Stanford is using Lore and we can see dynamics changing already."
In an interview with Cohen, I learned that Thiel has about 250 to 300 students in his class and Lore lets students submit their assignments, lets Thiel see what students are discussing, and helps him with grading.
Its new logo consists of the product name arranged in a square formation within a red circle. "We love this mark because it has power through combining fundamental elements and represents our belief in changing norms — a square peg in a round hole," the website reads.
..."We want to build a company that inspires the spirit of learning," Cohen said, adding that the name change is "a long-term move."
Cohen also noted the word Lore was "more abstract" and "it is not commonly used, so we get to inject our own meaning into it."
See also our original Lore announcement post and the Lore Case Study.