No. I would not invest in Symposium. As a teacher, I love the idea. The desire to increase student engagement is always in the forefront of my mind. After 12 years in the classroom, I know it is a complex interplay of the culture/relationships created in each class and the systems put in place by the teacher. I think Symposium is a wonderful platform, but the cynical side of me thinks it would turn into another version of the online discussion boards we see in online classes, where most of the content is generated by students that feel obliged to post something, rather than the insights of engaged students posting of their own interest.
One of the strongest aspects of this venture is the marketing plan. The model where professors – who have strong influence over a large number of students – get free use and the cost is borne by the student is very intriguing…it is a new way to leverage teacher influence, which historically has been centered around textbooks, with publishers lobbying profs to choose their content. As online content becomes more prevalent and the old paradigm decays, there is an opportunity for new ventures to step into that space.