The enterprise technology company and Boston University affiliate Blackboard Inc. will acquire a smaller online business as a tool for university students, officials announced Wednesday.
The Austin, Texas-based company MyEdu provides students with grading information and professor reviews as well as connects them to employers through online resumes, said Jay Bhatt, the CEO of Blackboard Inc.
“Adding MyEdu into our portfolio allows us to quickly expand the value we are providing to students and be more ‘learner-focused,’” Bhatt said. “Plus, the company has seen an incredible amount of success in a very short amount of time. It is a growth company that is just starting to take off.”
This partnership is a step toward bridging the gap between higher education and the workforce, a gray zone that graduating college students often find themselves in, Bhatt said.
“The free, user-friendly tools are used by millions of students to simplify their paths to degrees and create stronger connections between higher education and the workforce,” he said. “The company is defined by three big areas of focus: helping students succeed, helping students tell their “story,” and helping connect students with potential employers.
Bhatt also said that MyEdu would contribute to Blackboard Inc.’s larger goal of providing students with the resources to maximize the value of their education.
“By adding MyEdu into our portfolio, we are able to help them [students] address two major challenges they are currently facing: graduating on time and securing a job,” Bhatt said.
The website also incorporates simplified course mapping and planning to allow students to graduate on time and see more easily the path to earning their degree.
“Many students are struggling to navigate a successful path throughout their college experience,” he said. “Completion rates aren’t as high as they could — or should — be and nearly half of all students who earn degrees are either unemployed or underemployed once they graduate.”
Blackboard has yet to determine how MyEdu will be integrated into the Blackboard system, but Bhatt said they are working on the best way to merge the two companies and make the MyEdu tools available to Blackboard-affiliated students.
“Our first and biggest priority in the near term will be to fully integrate the MyEdu team into our company structure and sustain the incredibly positive experience students have with the platform,” he said.
Young Woo Oh, a School of Hospitality Administration junior, said he was interested to see how MyEdu could be incorporated into the Center for Career Services.
“Everyone’s on the same boat,” Oh said. “Everyone is just trying to look for jobs, and I think this could be more convenient for everyone in the school. Right now, I’m not doing much with myself but I know in time, I’m going to have to head over there [CCS] soon to find out what I want to do, so I think that an online tool is great as well for students.”
Maddison Fisher, a College of General Studies sophomore, said MyEdu could function beneficially for students in a manner similar to that of RateMyProfessor.com.
“It will be good because people use a lot of things like RateMyProfessors.com and stuff like that so I feel like it will be a cool way to figure out your schedule and connecting better with your classes before actually taking them or while taking them,” she said.
Gina Doherty, a College of Arts and Science senior, said MyEdu could be useful in giving students the resources to ease the challenge of acquiring connections in their desired career fields.
“There is very little direction,” Doherty said. “We’re kind of dropped off after we graduate. It’s kind of like survival of the fittest – whoever is able to get there quickest, who has the right networking skills. I think that’s a huge portion of it. So if there’s a way to give everyone a level playing field, why not?”