By Ed MacNevin Co-Founder, and CEO
I am often asked how our company started. In 1996 I worked in a large school District. My job title at the time was, Technology Resource Teacher (TRT). As a TRT my job was to train other teachers on the use of technology in the classroom. In order to schedule teacher classes I had to work with the Staff Development Department to insure that teachers who attended my trainings would receive credit towards pay.
I remember getting extremely frustrated with the way in which the paper driven system wasted large amounts of my valuable time. Not to mention, I could not believe how much time I saw was being wasted by the Staff Development Department in watching them try to manage hundreds of classes throughout the District using a paper based system.
I immediately set out on a mission to use technology to simplify this process. About two months later I had created the prototype of our GoSignMeUp online professional development management solution. Soon, thereafter my GoSignMeUp prototype was being used exclusively by the Staff Development Department in the school district where it worked to register hundreds of teachers for their professional development classes.
Since then there have been hundreds of new features added to GoSignMeUp, however, the four original core areas of the system are still in use today. 1. It was important for me to provide the staff development administrative workers with a robust and secure protected area so that attendance and wait lists for “in-seat” or “online classes” could be managed and where payment could be managed- if necessary. 2. It was important for me to provide the course instructors with a private protected area so that they could see how many students were enrolled in their courses in “real-time” so they could prepare the amount of materials needed for the class and so that accurate sign-in sheets could be printed out ahead of time to verify student attendance. 3. It was critical for me that the supervisors had a private protected area to monitor the progress of their employee professional development plans so that progress could be encouraged and monitored. 4. Lastly, it was important to provide students with a private enrollment area where they could easily sign up for a class. In this area students could also easily view a class roster to see if their friends had signed up for a class. And students could also review a social media rating of the class from past students all the while accessing and viewing a historical professional development transcript so they could track their own professional development progress.
The first “sale” of GoSignMeup occurred in 1997. I sold the first GoSignMeUp to the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE). OCDE used GoSignMeUp exclusively to enroll thousands of students in 36 schools districts.
In 1998 we had professional programmers port version 1 of GoSignMeUp to the enterprise database solution – SQL.
The rest is history. Over the last decade our professional programming team has created a robust and feature rich enterprise level professional development management system. Our new “Ruby” version, designed by our co-founder and CTO Mike Morrison, has recently launched. GoSignMeup “Ruby” boasts an efficient “course centric grid” that affords professional development administrators the ability to manage hundreds of registrations in a single view. Additionally, a new course dashboard communicates “real-time” enrollment statistics and reporting in a very visual and user friendly way.
What makes the GoSignMeUp story truly special is that for over 15 years we have listened to the needs of our users and we have continually added features and screens to meet their needs. After adding new features, we eventually make them a part of the CORE product, so that all of our clients benefit by receiving the new features within their “Check For Updates” tool.
When I mention to folks about our successful expansion into our four CORE market spaces, Education (K-12 and Higher Ed), Government, Health Care, and Corporate they often ask me to summarize what our product does. I typically answer that question by comparing our product to a pair of traditional “book ends” one might see on a bookshelf. Our product serves as the book ends that supports any organizational learning plans occurring in the middle. 1. Left Book End: We start by providing an entity the ability to offer their employees professional development courses, that are tied to their organizational goals, in a clean and easy to navigate customizable electronic course catalog. Next, employees sign-up for courses using our GoSignMeUp system and they are immediately enrolled in a course in real-time so they can start their course work. (What truly makes GoSignMeUp unique is that we manage and provide students access to both “online courses” and traditional “in-seat” courses.) Studies show that organizations that offer both “online courses” and “in-seat courses” in a “hybrid” environment get greater results as compared to organizations that only provide just one method of learning/training. 2. Right Book End: After the learning has concluded, the GoSignMeUp system then transcripts all professional development data. Extensive reporting is then made available to corporate officials so that organizational goals can be analyzed to see if the overall coursework results are moving the organization forward. Our system is fluid so that companies who need to adjust their course pathways to attain greater results can easily do so at anytime. I like to mention that GoSignMeUp provides the necessary “before and after” steps in the learning process so that professional development can complete a full cycle. https://www.youtube.
I feel the story of how GoSignMeUp started 15 years ago is important to know. Over the years we have learned a lot about the professional development and online registration sector we represent. We are a trusted and stable name in the professional development industry. I believe GoSignMeUp is a necessary step in the professional development cycle if a company truly wants to maximize results through an effective training program. Without GoSignMeUp companies are missing valuable opportunities to evaluate whether or not their professional development program is effective.
The staff at GoSignMeUp are proud to serve “blue chip” organizations that seek to better their results through a thoughtful and complete systematic training program. Our future is bright and we are committed to continue to improve the GoSignMeUp product by adding new features and structures that allow us to change and connect with the other professional development tools in the marketplace. We are excited to help maximize results by providing users with professional development opportunities to help accelerate their learning in our global economy.
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