Monday, June 17, 2013

Local startup aiming to prevent academic fraud gets $40,000 grant

A Charlotte-based startup created to combat academic fraud recently got a $40,000 from NC Idea, a not-for-profit organization that helps high-growth startup companies in North Carolina.

The startup, MyLearningID, is a tool designed to deter cheating in online courses with facial and voice recognition technology, monitored browser use, keystroke analysis. The founders argue it will help colleges and universities maintain academic integrity with their distance-education programs.

MyLearningID, the only Charlotte startup to get an NC Idea grant this round, was one of five recipients, selected from a pool of 159 applicants from 24 counties.

Co-founders Velvet Nelson, 30, and Mike Murphy, 28, connected while working with a different startup three years ago. They founded MyLearningID in December 2012 and were part of the second class of Rev Tech Labs. They hope to release a beta product soon.

"Online learning is growing rapidly, and schools want to grow their online portfolio (because of) lower overhead costs and expanded customer base," says Nelson.

But online courses raise a number of issues, she adds. If professors don't take the right precautions, it would be simple for a student in an online class to look up answers during the test or have someone else take the exam for them.

Until now, many colleges and universities have required students to take an exam in a pre-approved location, to download expensive software or to be monitored by someone via webcam.

MyLearningID will cost $10 to $20 per test, Murphy says.

Nelson's background is in higher education; Murphy's is in military intelligence.

They plan to put the $40,000 in grant money toward developing their product and increasing their sales and marketing efforts.

And in the next few weeks, they'll be changing the company name from MyLearningID to "ProctorFree."

For more information on the founders of MyLearningID, click here.

For details on the other startups to get money from NC Idea, click here.


Anonymous said...

Someone please inform UNC-CH!

Anonymous said...

Chapel Hill should provide plenty of work for them.