EDUKWEST Monday Ristretto

Monday Ristretto: Autism, Appointment and Opportunity

To get you up to speed for the week ahead, we serve you a Monday Ristretto here on EDUKWEST by picking the most important reads from the past week, putting them in a grinder and extracting the essential information for a short and punchy brew.

As every week, we’ve got three shots for you. Autism and tech made the headlines last week with Invention Labs raising $550k for its communication app Avaz and Cognoa launching an iPhone app to detect autism early on. Online course platform Udemy appointed its COO Dennis Yang as the company’s new CEO with Eren Bali taking the job as product lead and chairman. And last but not least, General Assembly launched the Opportunity Fund to bring minorities into tech.

Autism and Tech

Autism is an increasingly hot topic both in the healthcare and education space as it plays into both verticals. Chris Dawson, our editor at large, shares his thoughts on new apps Avaz and Cognoa but also tech ed in general as well as the role the human factor plays for autistic children in an editorial.

The main issue or challenge seems to be that there are so many different forms of autism that it is hard to come up with a one size fits all solution. In a conversation with Terry Dooley-Smith of TDS Social, which we will publish this week, Chris and his guest dig deeper into the topic.

Udemy’s new CEO

Eren Bali and the Udemy board appointed COO Dennis Yang as new CEO to oversee the upcoming global expansion of the service. Bali takes on the roles of chairman of the board and product lead.

Founders stepping down as CEO of the startup they created is a common situation but often also the last step before the founder completely leaves the company. If this might be the case at Udemy, time will tell. One thing is for sure, the recent aggressive moves by and Pluralsight will have an impact on the future of Udemy as the startup finds itself in a position where it has to react.

GA Opportunity Fund

General Assembly announced the Opportunity Fund, a scholarship program in partnership with Microsoft, Google, Hirepurpose and rap artist Nas. Scholarship receivers get an $8,500 tuition subsidy of the standard $11,500 tuition price.

The aim is to bring more minorities including women and African Americans into the tech industry, and the investment into tech education can really pay off for the learner. According to an article in Crain’s New York Business, people can boost their salary from $23k to $73k after they attended an 18-week course at Access Code, a non profit that teaches coding. I will dig deeper into this in an editorial this week.

Picture by Jonno Sea via Flickr

Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at