Skillshare was built around the idea that people should be able to teach each other things, and has created a marketplace whereby anyone can create or attend a class of their choosing. Like an Eventbrite for peer-to-peer learning. But until today, it lacked a lot of the collaborative learning tools that teachers and students need to facilitate that process. So it’s rolling out The Classroom, a new place where teachers and students can exchange notes, ask questions, and share resources.
The idea for the Classroom came about after Skillshare saw how its students and teachers were interacting with each ever since launching last year, according to founder and CEO Mike Karnjanaprakorn. While it launched purely as a ticketing system for classes, it saw users interacting with each other on social networks, emailing course materials and sharing links on Facebook. So it decided to bring all of those features onto its site, as a way to aggregate the discussion in a single place and also to increase engagement and the usefulness of its site.
Skillshare is launching the Classroom on its class details page as an online area for key interactions between teachers and students. In the Classroom, users can share notes, get feedback about projects that they’re working on, ask questions of the class, and post additional resources, such as blog posts or awesome instructional videos. It looks like this:
Karnjanaprakorn said Skillshare has been testing the new features internally for sometime, and he’s personally been using them with classes that he teaches. In addition to providing a single place to aggregate the discussion, the Classroom also provides notifications for updates that happen in the platform. The idea is to push forward this idea of collaborative learning, which doesn’t just happen between teacher and student, but between students as well. As a result, starting today, the Classroom will be available for all classes that are created through the platform.
The Classroom is just one piece in a series of new features Skillshare plans to roll out over the coming weeks. The startup has raised $3.65 million in total funding, including a $3.1 million round led by Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital last August. Other investors include the Founder Collective, SV Angel, Collaborative Fund, Jason Finger, David Tisch, Karl Jacob, Rafe Furst, Phil Gordon, and Scott Heiferman. The New York City-based startup now has about 15 full-time employees.