SAN CARLOS, CA, October 19, 2002—Aplia Inc., a new-generation educational publisher, today announced its company and product debut along with significant customer deployments and financial backing. The company provides technology-based learning solutions that encourage more effort by students and save time for professors. Led by an executive team experienced in academe and online and traditional textbook publishing, and co-founded by one of the nation's leading economists, Aplia is poised to alter the way technology is used in the classroom.
Specifically, the company has developed customizable content and tools that professors can use in their existing course websites or in new websites built in the Aplia environment. Aplia's first product supports the college-level course Principles of Microeconomics, with other courses planned for next year. The company, which has been operating in stealth mode since 2001, already has more than 100 schools and 8,000 students using its products.
Aplia was born out of the difficulties Paul Romer, chairman and cofounder of the company, faced while teaching at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He found that today's busy, distracted students don't prepare adequately for class. So like most professors, he had been forced to spend most of his class time lecturing about basic concepts.
To make time in class for the open-ended discussions and deeper explorations of challenging topics, Romer developed a collection of web-based tools that allowed him to assign frequent problem sets and online activities that were automatically tracked and graded. As a result, students came to class prepared, and he could use scarce class time much more effectively. In addition, students liked the frequent deadlines and quick feedback about how they were doing.
Romer knew that many other publishers have sought to use technology to teach the more challenging, difficult aspects of a subject through the use of multimedia treatments and the like. He recognized, however, that the real issue is getting students to grasp the basic concepts before class. "Using technology in that way," Romer said, "has the power to transform the classroom teaching and learning experience. My classroom became a place where students could get involved, take risks, engage with new intellectual challenges, and learn from each other."
Aplia also announced it has closed an $11.2 million funding round from Skandia, Sweden. Aplia will use the funds to fuel continued rapid development of its innovative course content and course management system for colleges and universities.
"Skandia's investment is a strong vote of confidence in our product and mission," Romer said. "This funding will let us continue on the path of steady expansion, allowing us to add new courses, tools and functionality to enhance learning."
"Our venture with Aplia lets us be part of the cutting edge of learning technology," said Lars-Eric Petersson, CEO of Skandia. "Our mission at Skandia is to enable people to provide themselves with a lifetime of prosperity. In today's world, lifetime learning is as important in meeting this goal as investing in insurance and financial securities."
Introducing Aplia's Principles of Microeconomics
Aplia's web-based product has been built around a community of economists committed to teaching. The company's first product includes the following features:
Professors are able to browse Aplia's rich library of high-quality content, then select, tailor, and assign specific items to meet their course needs. Because this content is presented in a framework that allows for automated grading, feedback, and record keeping, professors now have the tools to easily create an incentive system that rewards students for work outside the classroom.
With Aplia, students can learn in an environment that provides focused, state-of-the-art tools and materials specifically selected to support the goals of the course. Students gain understanding by doing rather than by watching or reading.
To date, more than 100 schools are using the materials, including Auburn University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Georgia Institute of Technology, Indiana University, De Anza Community College, Oregon State University, Stanford University, US Air Force Academy, and Virginia Institute of Technology.
Aplia Led By Seasoned Team
Aplia has built a seasoned team of professionals from leading educational institutions and companies.
About Aplia Inc.
Aplia Inc. is a new-generation, educational publishing company focused on providing learning tools that encourage more effort by students and save time for professors. Through its comprehensive offerings and innovative way of thinking about and applying technology to the challenges of teaching and learning, the company is poised to transform the classroom experience. Aplia's first product supports the college-level course Principles of Microeconomics. The company, which was founded in 2001, already has more than 100 schools and 8,000 students using its products. For more information, please visit www.aplia.com.