Lore brings educational social networking to the classroom

Can you imagine a social news feed buzzing with Shakespeare quotes, helpful citations, and homework advice from your professors?

Lore, an ed-tech startup launched in 2011 (initially known as CourseKit), today introduced sweeping changes to its web platform to bring the most important elements of social networking to the classroom.

The cofounders, 3 Ivy League drop-outs, realized that sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are often viewed in academic circles as an impediment and distraction, but they have enabled students to collaborate.

“We’re a young company, and we’re always learning. This release encapsulates what we’ve learned from both the professors and the students using Lore this past spring” said 21-year-old CEO, Joseph Cohen, in an interview with VentureBeat. “It’s our next step in building the network for learning.”

The new features include online grade books, a feed for students to ask questions about their classes, and profile pages with information about classmates’ academic interests and achievements.

Already, Lore is up and running at 600 colleges across the country. One well-known proponent is PayPal cofounder and investor Peter Thiel, who used Lore to teach a Stanford class last spring. It should come as no surprise that the class was “Computer Science 183: Start-up.”

The Tribeca-based company has procured $6 million in first-round funding from Thiel and former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya.

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