Tools of the Trade | July / August 2019

Vendors roll out new offerings, from one that catches contract cheaters in the act to one that aims to provide students with a more interactive online learning experience. 


Knack, an edtech startup based in Tampa, Florida, that allows college students to offer peer-to-peer tutoring services, has announced a new element called Employer and Educational Institution Partnerships. This component will allow corporations and educational institutions to engage directly with top students at universities across the U.S.

As the platform vets potential tutors, it collects information about where these students go to school, what their interests are, and what grades they maintain. Now Knack can share that information with recruiters and university administrators, who also can see the peer reviews the students receive after each tutoring session. Visit


The University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business in Urbana-Champaign has collaborated with the Deloitte Foundation to release the First Course in Foundations of Data Analytics, which is available free online. The course consists of 60 hours of curriculum broken into eight modules that can be used on their own or integrated into a school’s existing curriculum. Each module was designed by faculty from the Gies College and contains multiple lessons, which include a short video and assigned reading. Learn more.


This fall, the Peregrine Leadership Institute will debut EvaluSkills, an online 360-degree feedback tool to help academic institutions evaluate an individual’s performance and leadership strengths. EvaluSkills can be used by students to gauge their leadership strengths and weaknesses, as well as by administrators to assess competencies in leadership, teamwork, flexibility, persuasion, innovation, or other relevant skills. Academic programs can use the platform to create tailored soft skills assessments from a menu of rubrics and to set up instruments for specific programs or roles. The platform can generate a report of all ratings and confidential comments, which program administrators can use to better understand each participant’s strengths and develop an action plan for improving his or her leadership performance. Visit


The division of information technology, teaching and learning technologies, at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, has introduced an online learning management system called Passport. Created in partnership with DelMar Software Development, Passport awards digital badges to users as they master competencies, complete learning activities, and attain goals. The platform guides users through learning activities, making it clear to them the specific series of challenges required to earn each badge, which increases students’ understanding of the desired learning outcomes. Passport allows instructors to create interactive course content and assignments, as well as select colors and styles for each badge they build. Visit


Turnitin, which provides solutions to help professors streamline their grading and detect plagiarism, has released Authorship Investigate. The tool is intended to detect contract cheating, in which students pay a third party to complete their assignments. Authorship Investigate uses forensic linguistic analysis and natural language processing to compare differences in an individual’s body of written work and allow professors to gather evidence to be used in investigations of potential cases of contract cheating. Visit


The Minerva Project, a campus-free approach to higher education, plans a major expansion of its approach to educational delivery. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Minerva will enable partner institutions to conduct classes of up to 400 students using its curriculum design and proprietary Forum online learning environment, both designed to promote active, real-time learning. The enhanced version of Forum will launch in September, when partner institutions in Asia, Eastern Europe, and the U.S. will begin offering programs. Visit


Emerald Open Research has launched six publication gateways—portals that link content under key themes related to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These themes include sustainable food systems, healthy lives, responsible management, sustainable cities, education and learning, and the digital world. All research published on Emerald Open Research will be subject to open peer review. To increase the accessibility and discoverability of research, authors can share their findings through papers, data notes, case studies, study protocols, and null or negative findings. Emerald’s new gateways were designed in partnership with publishing platform F1000. Visit


The Case Centre is launching Case Focus, a peer-reviewed journal for teaching cases that focus on business situations in the Middle East and Africa. Cases can be submitted until August 31, 2019; the first issue will be published in June 2020. Learn more about the journal.


Now available on Coursera is “AI for Everyone,” a free course intended to help business leaders without technical backgrounds better understand how artificial intelligence and machine learning can be applied to problems in business organizations and society. The course was developed by, which was created by Coursera founder and former CEO Andrew Ng to disseminate knowledge and design courses related to artificial intelligence. Visit