Gaurav joins us as our Chief Technology Officer after four years of doing development, research and design for the Sakai learning management system. Not to mention, he’s also been a founding member of two tech startups.
Throughout his work on Sakai, Gaurav’s focus has been creating a great experience for teachers and learners to find, manage and make the most of learning content online.
Shortly after graduating with a Bachelors degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan, Gaurav started as a programmer at the University of Michigan Library. While there, Gaurav was a key developer building a tool that allows Sakai users to search and import citations from their library’s licensed content, library catalog and Google Scholar directly into syllabuses, assignments and other online course materials. The tool is currently used by hundreds of universities all over the world.
For his next major project with Sakai, Gaurav shifted gears to learn more about how and why college professors are using content in their courses. This project allowed him to employ his freshly minted user experience research and design skills – he received his Masters in Human Computer Interaction and Social Computing from the University of Michigan’s School of Information.
Through the international research and design process Gaurav led, he interviewed and observed a number of diverse college professors and read through the transcripts of dozens more from universities including Stanford, Berkeley and Yale. Understanding professors’ needs and use of learning content fascinated Gaurav and led his research group to some amazing content management designs for Sakai. He then went on to become a User Interface Developer for the Sakai Foundation to help build some of these designs into the more modern, social reincarnation of Sakai, the Sakai Open Academic Environment (OAE).
Gaurav has also done work for a “Textbook Task Force” developed at the University of Michigan to help reduce the cost of textbooks for students. He designed and developed a system that allows librarians to browse all the textbooks assigned in classes across the university so the library can ensure there are plenty of copies of the most used texts available for students to use for free.
A note from Gaurav:
“Based on my experiences working with, interviewing and observing a number of college professors, librarians and students around supporting learning online, Highlighter is an invaluable tool for the higher education community. Teachers are highly motivated by interacting with students and seeing them grow. More and more learning content is going online and going mobile. Costs for students are on the rise. Highlighter provides a platform that addresses all these issues I’ve been seeing firsthand and can easily be integrated into any online content or LMS. It’s very exciting to imagine the kind of learning landscape we would have if all teachers and students had access to the engaging discussion and powerful learning analytics that Highlighter provides.
On top of a tool I think is really necessary for today’s colleges, I am very impressed with the team and culture at Highlighter. The founders have already proven successful in running a business and the culture revolves around a commitment to building extremely high quality and extremely useful tools. I’m very excited to be a part of the team and take Highlighter to the next level!”
Aside from his education technology and learning management system background, Gaurav has been a founding member of two tech startups: Real Time Farms and Troubadour Mobile. He understands the unique challenges a startup faces and has touched all parts of designing, architecting, developing and releasing a web product.
We’re excited to have Gaurav on board as Chief Technology Officer where his expertise will help us better understand the complexities of educational technology, scale our systems and services and integrate Highlighter with universities and learning management systems.
A few fun facts about Gaurav:
- He was born in France, just outside Paris.
- He is taller than Shaq. (This might be completely false.)
- He has been bungee jumping from the highest bungee jumping location in the world (at the time).
- He loves good food and living in Seattle!
Gaurav’s background and skill set perfectly complement ours and his hire rounds out our team very nicely going forward. Check him out on twitter and please join us in welcoming him!