While at Bentley University, Jeff Weiss decided to become a certified real estate agent. He signed up online for classes, and began watching the course videos. In them sat a guy in an ugly Christmas sweater, who had merely propped a webcam on top of his computer and read from a book for 12 hours straight. Weiss said it was a terrible experience, and decided he could do it better.
He began building the Keep Me Certified School of Real Estate and hired a professional actor, who’s also a certified instructor, to shoot the 12 hours of required video necessary for Massachusetts real estate agents and brokers need to keep their license active. He brought on his friend, and fellow real estate agent, Adam Welling, and together the two set out to design a platform that didn’t look the like GeoCities sites they had both taken classes from.
“We wanted to raise the bar when it comes to online education,” Weiss said, also admitting that the academic world is one of the slower industries to catch up to what everyone else is doing.
Keep Me Certified is charging $65 per user, but is designed so that agents can watch the videos whenever they have the time. The modules can be viewed over the course of a single day or spread out over several weeks and months. The company’s player marks where users start and stop the videos, as well as provide a highlight reel so that agents can see what they’ll be learning and who they’ll be learning it from.
Weiss is already looking at other industries in which to incorporate the Keep Me Certified platform, saying it can be used for any sort of online education.
“We want to scale this both sideways and nationwide,” Weiss said. “There are hundreds of different industries that allow for online continuing ed.”
All it would take, according to Weiss, is some rebranding of the platform that makes it appealing to other states. Yet, when he’ll find the time, who knows? On top of Keep Me Certified, Weiss is also working on developing his other company, FullDorm.
While Weiss describes FullDorm as “an online platform for college campuses,” we’d describe it as more of a campus-specific, secure Craigslist for colleges. The site is fully accessible only by students, faculty and staff members affiliated with FullDorm-endorsed colleges. Users are certified only after receiving a verification code to their school email address, and they can then browse classified and off-campus housing postings, as well as view any ride share listings or contribute to the campus forum.
Weiss was able to get Bentley to replace their legacy system with FullDorm, and within the first two weeks of launching, over 75 percent of the Bentley campus had signed up. Brandeis is also now using the site, and Weiss has begun reaching out to other schools around the Greater Boston area, including Boston College, who he’s currently waiting to receive a final verdict from.
From real estate to campus classifieds, Weiss is pushing the boundaries of higher education. In today’s digital age, Weiss can, hopefully, help colleges and universities adapt and keep up with the times.