Penn State EdTech Network: Q&A with Director Daren Coudriet

The Penn State EdTech Network, a vertical of Invent Penn State, serves as a facilitator, bringing together cross-functional stakeholder groups to explore new ways to address educational challenges in an increasingly digital world through the use of innovative technology. They encourage the collaboration between companies, students, faculty, staff, and alumni to better the online learning community. Daren Coudriet is the Director of the Penn State EdTech Network. Throughout his career, Daren has been committed to helping organizations leverage and adapt to the change created by disruptive technology. 

We interviewed Daren to learn more about the network, and his role as director.

Q: What made you want to get involved with the Penn State online learning community?

A: I believe we are entering an era of unprecedented change in higher education, where technology will serve as a major catalyst to transform teaching and learning. Penn State’s online learning community is a great example of how Penn State embraced technology and the change that comes with it nearly 18 years ago when it started World Campus.

When offered the position of the Penn State EdTech Network Director, I welcomed the opportunity to get involved. I look forward to helping shape the discussion around how Penn State will continue to leverage new and disruptive technologies to advance online learning.

Q: What differences do you think World Campus is making in the lives of Penn State students?

A: World Campus is extending the reach of Penn State, bringing learning to the masses and providing opportunities for students to advance their knowledge and careers where they live and work. World Campus has enabled people to pursue and obtain degrees, integrating education into their everyday lives. Also, for resident students that are located on a Penn State campus, World Campus often makes taking that extra course more convenient. Without question, the World Campus has positively impacted the lives of many.

Q: When did the EdTech Network begin?

A: The EdTech Network launched in 2015. In the fall of 2015, the EdTech Network Summit brought EdTech firms from around the country together to discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Penn State. It provided a collaboration opportunity, bringing together thought leaders from educational technology companies with World Campus leaders, faculty, and staff, resulting in newly formed partnerships and engagements that would have otherwise simply not happened.

Q: What is the mission/goal of the EdTech Network?

A: The mission of the EdTech Network is to create an ecosystem that fosters innovative solutions that advances Penn State’s online learning capabilities and stimulates the Pennsylvania economy. The primary goals include:

  • Advancing World Campus capabilities to enable scalability and improve the student experience.
  • Providing entrepreneurial and research opportunities for students, faculty, and staff.
  • Attracting companies focused on EdTech to the region.

To fulfill our mission and achieve the above goals, we are embarking on a strategy that focuses on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Higher education is going to be transformed by this technology, and, as a result, we need to look to the future and embrace AI and the opportunities it presents. AI has the potential to:

  • Disrupt business models and create entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • Open the door to new opportunities for research in many disciplines.
  • Revolutionize personalized learning & transform education.
  • Impact the strategy and solution development of every EdTech company.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: More than ever, technology is impacting the way we work, live, and learn. Educational institutions must embrace technology and its disruption while being disciplined in its application. The Penn State EdTech Network is focused on harnessing technology to advance Penn State’s teaching and learning capabilities through active collaborations and partnerships. By fostering innovation between technology companies, the university, and the commonwealth community, we aim to improve the student experience, create entrepreneurial opportunities, and stimulate economic growth.

To learn more about the Penn State EdTech Network, click here.