This was the first edition of Startup in Residence EdTech


From more and high-quality responses to course evaluations to monitoring students’ academic writing skills. Since October 2022, startups and higher education institutions worked together on six challenges in the Startup in Residence EdTech program. With the end in sight, three startups are successfully piloting – March 23 they will present their solutions to the selected challenges within higher education. What do the startups’ solutions look like and what have these startups accomplished? It’s time for a recap!

Master Challenge: matching lecturers to stakeholders
How to efficiently match teachers and students with external stakeholders within education? Bram Kuijken, founder of Master Challenge, further developed a tool to accelerate and facilitate the process of recruiting and matching external stakeholders to teachers during Startup in Residence EdTech. How does a lecturer find external stakeholders and vice versa? The various wishes of Utrecht University have been implemented in the already existing platform: the module of Master Challenge can now run on the website of the university and organizations can sign up for a newsletter. A next step is to build a matching module to link teachers to stakeholders. Bram says: “Together with Utrecht University we are now thinking about what this matching module should look like. How much space will a lecturer get? When will stakeholders be notified? This is really the co-creation process of Startup in Residence EdTech.”

Writefull: monitoring academic writing skills
Monitoring students’ academic writing skills is challenging, including for the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam. On behalf of the VU, Hilde van Zeeland, Chief Applied Linguist of Writefull, has been working on this issue. The Writefull tool provides AI-based language feedback to improve English academic writing skills. For the challenge, Writefull went a step further: “We worked on a dashboard where students and teachers can see what language suggestions Writefull provides. Together with VU, we thought about the right categories for this dashboard; for example, which aspects of grammar it should monitor. It was very nice that they also thought along from a teaching perspective,” Hilde said.

A group of VU student assistants has already tested the dashboard and provided useful feedback. At the end of March/April there will be a pilot with larger groups of undergraduate students. “During this pilot we want to find out if the dashboard is a relevant additional piece within Writefull. As a startup, you tend to keep developing even though it’s not always better. A program like SiR EdTech is really helpful, because during the development process you already get around the table with the users.”

More and better student feedback with StudentPulse
How do you get more and better student feedback to improve the quality of education? StudentPulse devised a solution to this in recent months on behalf of Tilburg University. According to Rune Sonderby, co-founder of StudentPulse, it requires two steps: “To achieve this, the first step is to get students to participate in surveys. The second step is to ensure that the feedback received is actually used by the institution.”

StudentPulse is a feedback platform that works with micro-surveys combined with real-time data analytics. This allows an educational institution to improve the student experience throughout a course and entire program. For the Startup in Residence EdTech program, StudentPulse shifts their focus from student well-being to the learning process and content of a course. Rune says, “Together with Tilburg University, we make sure that students get questions relevant to their course. The platform was there from the beginning, but finding the right questions and the right process to share the micro-surveys was new.” A setup is created where StudentPulse micro-surveys are used as a valuable complement to existing course evaluations. StudentPulse created four micro-surveys for Tilburg University. They are currently in the testing phase.

March 23: Demo Day
Want to hear the startups and challenge owners speak for themselves? Or are you interested in the program? Then come to the Demo Day in Utrecht on Thursday, March 23. On this day the participating startups will present their innovative solutions and together with the challenge owners talk about their experiences. Sign up here!

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