This blog will depict the story of our own founder and CEO, Dr. Ali Jafari and his journey in the EdTech world with an infamous past project, ANGEL Learning Inc. Please see URLs to the original blog series, published by Indiana University throughout this blog post.
Where Did It All Begin? Professor and CEO Ali Jafari began teaching at Indiana University in Bloomington Indiana in the late 1990s. It was there he was persuaded to move to Indiana University-Purdue University where he founded the IUPUI CyberLab. From there Jafari collaborated with David Mills, and together conducted an enterprise learning management system, making IUPUI the first of many universities to start managing courses online. Together the creation of ANGEL Learning took a total of 10 months, which is significantly fast.
Ali Jafari mentions Mills is “hands-down the best coder I know,” as he was working up to 90 hours a week. With dedication from David Mills and motivation from Ali Jafari, together they made the perfect team. This project was not easy until President Ron Henriksen from IU ARTI generously invested $130,000 into ANGEL Learning. Soon after the team went to work on the business aspect of ANGEL Learning and where the budget now needs to be invested. ANGEL Learning was on a high, where Ali Jafari and Mills began investing more talent into their project. Christopher Clapp, a Purdue alumnus, became the role of president and CEO in 2001. ANGEL Learning was blooming, many outside sources began to look at ANGEL Learning as an opportunity and an investment. About eight years later, Blackboard Inc. -- an educational software provider headquartered in Washington, D.C.-- made an offer that ANGEL could not refuse. When ANGEL Learning sold to Blackboard, IU recouped a return of over $25 million.
ANGEL Learning then contributed to the development of the Indiana University Philanthropic Venture Fund. Due to the company’s success, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) gained a new building called Science and Engineering Laboratory Building (SELB). This is where our present-day IUPUI CyberLab calls home, as does our CEO and part of the CN team. Since then, the team has continually developed new software, including CourseNetworking - the most current project, in addition to RUMI, an Ali Jafari project that will be a digital assistant powered by artificial intelligence.
Without the help of many alumni, educators, and innovative edtech gurus, the journey of ANGEL Learning would not have such a tremendous success story. CourseNetworking has developed in ways just like ANGEL Learning did. With the guidance of Ali Jafari and the hard work of the IUPUI CyberLab, CourseNetworking will grow, innovate, and advance to help change the way the world learns.
Special thanks to the following individuals for their hard work over the past two decades: Ali Jafari, David Mills, Ron Henriksen, Christopher Clapp, Haley Altman, Jason Whitney, and Tony Armstrong.