Startup 2tor Rides Surge In Online Education

From 2009 to 2010, the number of students enrolled in at least one online course rose 10% to 6.1 million, according to the Sloan Consortium Survey of Online Learning. This steady increase in demand for virtual learning has greatly expanded the market for companies like 2tor, Inc., an educational tech company based out of New York. 2tor has most notably partnered with schools such as the University of Southern California, Georgetown University, and the University of North Carolina to provide online postgraduate degree programs in popular fields such as education, nursing, and business. 2tor is in charge of both administering and marketing these programs which have risen greatly in popularity, even directly competing with on-campus programs of study.

2tor has also received a good deal of news coverage for its status at the highest funded online education startup to date, raising $65 million since its first round of funding in the spring of 2009. With the vision of transforming higher education by implementing high-quality online programs, founder and CEO of 2tor, John Katzman, first approached contacts at the University of Southern California in 2008 about developing distance learning graduate programs. Eventually, Katzman moved forward and launched 2tor with Jeremy Johnson, an accomplished technology entrepreneur, as his Chief Marketing Officer and former CEO of Hooked on Phonics, Chip Paucek, as his Chief Operating Officer. Now, the company has also developed partnerships with Georgetown to create an online Master of Science in Nursing and an MBA program at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

While the prevalence of online education continues to rise steadily, Katzman believes, for the time being, 2tor remains unrivaled in terms of delivering high-quality programs which measure up to or exceed the outcomes of traditional educational models. 2tor seeks to achieve this success through adaptive learning platforms and outcome-based metrics, rather than input-based metrics which have long dictated educational funding.

With 10% growth in the demand for online education greatly outpacing the minimal 2% increase in enrollment for traditional programs, it is becoming more and more important for schools to adapt. In fact, two-thirds of for-profit schools reported that online education programs were essential to their long term success according to a survey by the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board. With these trends in mind, Katzman predicts continued growth for 2tor as they create new programs and perfect existing ones. The company has plans to implement six more online programs in the next year, including an undergraduate program.

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