Exclusive Interview with Mr. Jon Corshen, Chief Executive Officer, GoingOn
Dr. Saba: Mr. Corshen thank you for this opportunity to speak with you. How did you become interested in this field?
Mr. Corshen: My interested in this field grew as I looked at my own children and their interactions with technology. I believe that the evolution of social web modalities has had the power to fundamentally transform how we communicate, create, and share knowledge – the three main facets which are the foundation for education and learning. The ability to connect people with the resources they need, including each other, is at our finger tips and I know that I personally would have gone down a completely different path had these technologies been available to me when I was in school.
Having spent my career in designing and developing complex technologies and applications, I felt strongly that the “course-centric” design and architecture of Learning Management Systems (LMS) were useful, even necessary, but not capable of addressing more holistic aspects of learning and academic life, beyond the confines of the course.I wanted to take the best of what we have learned from Ning, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others and understand how to apply them in a Higher Education environment, and in the longer term to build a global knowledge network. The face of communication has changed and it is important to recognize and embrace these changes in education if we want to facilitate successful learning for younger generations. That is what inspires me and where my interest in this field stems from.
I wanted to take the best of what we have learned from Ning, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others and understand how to apply them in a Higher Education environment
Dr. Saba: GoingOn is a very interesting application; somewhat different than what we have seen in the past. How do you characterize and describe it?
Mr. Corshen: I would categorize GoingOn as an Academic Social Network, a platform that supports communication around curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities. At its core construct, GoingOn is a sophisticated platform designed to help institutions develop a more intelligent and social infrastructure for creating today’s connected campus. These privately branded, institution-wide academic social networks extend existing academic systems to enable students, faculty, and staff to more effectively discover and utilize the information, resources and services they need to succeed, including each other. The GO Network provides schools with a more modern infrastructure with both a bottoms up and top down approach to managing communications, fostering connections and driving engagement across all aspects of academic life.
Dr. Saba: As you know, higher education is going through a tremendous change. We are seeing history in the making as far as colleges and universities are concerned. How have you succeeded in introducing GoingOn to institutions that, naturally, are grounded in their current operational necessities while they are preparing for a future, which might be radically different?
Mr. Corshen: The biggest radical change is understanding how new social modalities have changed the way people communicate and find resources. Antiquated communication and collaboration technologies require users to go to their sites to search for information of interest and updates. Resources are not easy to find and the user is usually required to filter through unclassified junk to find the information they need. The biggest challenge with these technologies is that they have a top down approach to content creation and delivery. New modalities enable users to have information of interest pushed to them wherever they are and however they connect. Users don’t have to read email or search through clogged up portals to connect with the resources and people that will help them succeed and grow in their academic career.
Dr. Saba: How does the dynamic and decentralized nature of GoingOn meet the expectations of administrators who have to respond to numerous requests for accountability?
Mr. Corshen: Most unsuccessful collaboration and communication initiative start with a top-down approach. Content is controlled and is blindly pushed down to the masses with the incorrect expectation that the people who care will somehow sift through the noise to find the resources they are looking for. GoingOn offers a combination bottoms-up and top-down approach that removes bottlenecks and enables the system to grow organically.
Dr. Saba: How have faculty and students responded to GoingOn; are their expectations fulfilled?
Mr. Corshen: Faculty and students have both embraced the GoingOn platform. At Virginia State University for example, one professor has told us that collaboration among students and the quality of student work and participation has vastly improved since the introduction of the GoingOn platform. In his opinion, students tend to put more effort into spelling, grammar, and articulation when they communicate online with one another. In addition, peer review, peer mentoring, and collaboration has also risen exponentially. Students are not only learning from the course materials, but also from each other thanks to the communication capabilities of the GoingOn platform.
On the other end of the spectrum, National University has used the GoingOn platform to successfully implement a faculty network to support curriculum sharing, facilitate research collaboration, and improve the efficiency of faculty communication. GoingOn has recognized wide-spread adoption of its platform in both of these as well as many other customer implementations.
Dr. Saba: How do you see the future of GoingOn among the new generation of software applications that strive to make education more individualized, if not personalized.
Mr. Corshen: GoingOn enables students, faculty, and administration to personalize the information they receive. It is not a solution that everyone must conform to but rather a platform that gets tailored to the individual user to empower them find the information and resources they need to be successful in their academic career.
Mr. Jon Corshen has 20 years of experience in helping to build successful enterprise and Internet software companies. Throughout his career, Jon has touched almost every aspect of software design, development, marketing & sales. Over the last 10 years, he has focused almost exclusively on the art of building and marketing successful technology start-ups, utilizing core expertise in product management, product marketing, marketing communications and consultative selling.
In 1996, Jon helped to found Tradex Technologies, and successfully lead the creation of an entirely new market segment for Digital Marketplace software. Tradex grew from 5 to over 125 employees, from $0 to $150M in revenue, and was sold to Ariba Technologies (a publicly held web commerce company) in 2000, for over $1.7B. Jon went on to become the VP of Corporate Strategy for Ariba between 2000 and 2003, helping to guide business and marketing strategy and leading several key acquisitions.
Prior to Tradex, he was the VP of Product Marketing at Walker Interactive Systems, a leading ERP system provider. During his time at Walker Interactive, Jon led the design and deployment of the solution that would become CommerceOne’s (a successful eCommerce IPO company) flagship product. Jon began his career as a Developer and Sr. Analyst at Andersen Consulting (Accenture). He received his MS in Quantitative Economics from the University of California at San Diego.