panOpen is a platform that enables mainstream institutional adoption of Open Educational Resources as an alternative to commercial textbooks. It provides faculty with turnkey peer-reviewed content, tools for customization, assessment, and analytics, and a means of financially sustaining campus-based OER efforts, allowing faculty to lower costs and improve learning outcomes.
panOpen courseware founded on Open Educational Resources allows faculty and institutions to:
Support Student Success by Improving Access
panOpen courseware founded on OER is an innovative resource that addresses the rising costs of textbooks.
Flexibility & Control
panOpen provides faculty with the tools that allow control over creating the resources they need to meet instructional goals.
Course Development, Training & Implementation Services
panOpen offers consultative services for institutions getting started, beginning with a global library of content, to subject matter expertise, to course development services and LMS integration.
For institutions interested in collaborating, curating and authoring content panOpen offers opportunities for grants through our Faculty Development Fund.
panOpen was founded in April 2013 by Brian Jacobs to deliver on the promise of Open Educational Resources (OER) in higher education. Not only do OER improve educational access, but they also free faculty from the constraints of the commercial copyright structure. panOpen provides the tools and services necessary to realize this promise. It also incentivizes faculty to update and contribute open content, ensuring sustainability and growth. panOpen is backed by Zen Group LLC, Techstars, Kaplan, EdTech entrepreneur John Katzman, MIT Entrepreneurship Center Founder and Chair, Professor Edward Roberts, among others.
Meet the Team
Roger Blancarte – Senior Software Engineer
Roger has been coding since 2008, jumping from university to full-time design and coding work in 2010. At panOpen, he spends his time juggling all things front end while diving into back end data when needed, always staying closely connected to the product. Having previously worked as a front end developer at Highlighter.com, Roger brings years of ed-tech experience to panOpen’s evolving technology. Roger completed computer science coursework at Central Washington University.
Kate Forrester – Senior Development Editor
Kate Forrester engages with faculty authors and subject matter experts to promote the content development efforts of panOpen. She also leads our blog entries and brings years of experience working in different editorial capacities. Previously, Kate has worked as a freelance editor, writer and academic consultant. Kate holds an M.A. in English from the University of St. Andrews and a Ph.D. in English from Trinity College, Dublin, where she also taught and lectured. She has received several fellowships and presented at a number of international conferences.
Leslie Hargett – Development Editor
Passionate about education and history, Leslie works with the panOpen content development team on proofreading and managing the addition of new content to our open textbooks. Leslie recently completed a B.A. in History and Spanish at New York University. Outside the office, she enjoys running, biking, and trying out new restaurants around the city.
Brian Jacobs – Founder & Chief Executive Officer
For the past 16 years, Brian Jacobs has devoted his career to making instructional content more accessible for students, faculty, and institutions nationwide. During his time as both a student and professor of political philosophy at Cornell University, Brian saw first-hand how the high costs and complexity of textbook distribution negatively affected classroom learning. Many students were unable to find or afford the books they needed, often coming to class without the required texts. In 1999, Brian launched his first company, Akademos, a web-based company that focuses on new models of distributing physical and digital course materials. After leading Akademos for more than 12 years, Brian left his operating role to found panOpen. Previously, Brian was Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Government and Visiting Fellow at the Institute for German Cultural Studies, both at Cornell University. He received fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, University of Goettingen, and Yale University. He’s currently a mentor in Edge EdTech Accelerator and the Techstar’s Risingstars program. Brian earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in English and political science at the State University of New York at Albany, and a doctorate in political philosophy and social theory at Cornell University.
Gary LaRosa – Customer Success Director
Gary heads up the Customer Success department and stays connected with faculty and administrators using panOpen to ensure a successful and positive experience. He assists in the creation of custom courses and content development by working with the faculty for their individual needs. At panOpen Gary is the main line of communication between users and the team to provide feedback and support. Gary holds a B.A. in English from ECSU.
Lisa March – Acting Chief Revenue Officer
Lisa is Founder and Managing Partner of NobleStream, a market development company that supports best-of-breed early stage education technology companies, and of Partner in Publishing, which supports commercial publishers in the areas of market development, market research, and editorial support. Prior to launching these companies, Lisa worked for more than 15 years in commercial educational publishing and was consistently a top performing sales team leader at Pearson, Oxford University Press, and John Wiley & Sons. Lisa is a graduate of the University of Hartford, where she is today a Trustee of the university.
Matt Miller – Acting Chief Technology Officer
Matt Miller is a veteran technology entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience, much of that in education technology. Matt is also co-owner of Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab, a children’s bookshop and creative education space in Brooklyn, NY. Matt was most recently CTO at Amplify Education, where he was responsible for all aspects of product delivery and operations for the assessment, intervention, data analytics, professional services, and enterprise consulting lines of business. Matt also held several product and technology executive roles at Amplify, including having led the engineering organization at Amplify’s predecessor, Wireless Generation, through the company’s successful sale to News Corporation in 2010. Matt also led the product organization that built a national education data platform with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Matt has held engineering and product leadership roles at several New York-based start-ups in network security, machine learning, and new media, and actively mentors early stage companies with several education technology accelerator programs, including Edge and Started. Matt holds BS and MS degrees in Computer Science from Columbia University.
Joshua Mullineaux – Chief Product Officer
Josh is a serial technology entrepreneur, having previously co-founded Unique Blog Designs, a full service web agency, whose clients included Nike, Yahoo!, Myspace, and Tony Robbins, among thousands of others. Josh was also co-founder and CEO of Highlighter.com, a self-publishing platform aimed at Higher Education, that included learning analytics, social learning tools and mobile technologies for faculty and students. Highlighter.com was a member of Seattle’s inaugural class of Techstars companies in 2010. panOpen acquired Highlighter.com in 2014. At panOpen, his role is to drive the roadmap and vision behind our product by working directly with our development and sales teams. Josh also engages with faculty and administrators, oversees our content development, and assists with all things related to financing. Josh holds a B.S. from ASU.
Juel Uddin – Lead QA Engineer
Juel is an experienced Quality Assurance Engineer/Architect. Self-motivated, proactive, well organized, process and results oriented professional, Juel is an expert on providing cost-effective solutions using ‘best practices’ by implementing open source and commercial tools in the Market. He developed a core framework of functions for various Client-Server and Web application testing environments and has strong experience in developing & executing test plans, test cases, test scenarios, test scripts and on agile teams following Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD) practices and Behavior-driven Development (BDD).
Sonam Wang (Wong) – UX Intern
Wong recently joined the panOpen web development team after completing a selective full-stack web-development boot camp. Before he began coding, Wong worked on content research and development, focusing largely on gathering and indexing open source databases from across the web. Originally from Bhutan, Wong is currently completing his B.S. in Management & Finance at CUNY Brooklyn College.
Mike West – Senior Software Engineer
Mike brings almost a decade of software development experience to our team along with excellent problem-solving and communication skills. He takes pride in creating meaningful web solutions that combine a smart user experience design with solid technologies and clever architecture. He is experienced with large-scale, complex, and data-driven applications having worked at places like Microsoft, Amazon, and Bloomberg. He brings an engaged and positive work ethic to the office.
panOpen’s Board of Directors
Jack Chorowsky is President of The Kipp Foundation, where he leads development and execution of KIPP’s national strategy to drive school growth and K-16 student outcomes. Jack previously served as President and Chief Operating Officer of KIPP NYC, leading the strategy and business operations of KIPP’s growing network of charter schools in New York City. Before joining KIPP, Jack was a principal at Levin Capital Strategies, where he invested in media and technology equities. He developed his deep interest in education while serving in general management, product management and business development roles at Kaplan and Pearson Education. Jack started his career working in law, policy and politics in Washington, D.C. He received a J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jack lives in New York City with his wife and three daughters.
Rafael Mayer is Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Khronos LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor in New York City. Prior to his founding Khronos, Rafael was Director of Software Development at Franklin Electronic Publishers in Mt. Holly, New Jersey. Rafael led a software development team specializing in reference software for hand-held electronic platforms. Rafael graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a B.Sc. in Economics from the Wharton School. Rafael serves as Board Chair for the KIPP NYC charter schools.