Gigaom

For most college students, picking classes involves reading up on options or chatting with classmates and professors. But, if Canadian ed tech company Desire2Learn has its way, more students will consult a data-driven “virtual guidance counselor.”

On Thursday, the company, which is a stone’s throw away from Research in Motion (s RIMM) in Ontario’s Kitchener-Waterloo area, announced that it acquired Degree Compass, a predictive analytics tool developed with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The web-based app, created by Tristan Denley, a mathematician and provost of Tennesee’s Austin Peay State University, helps students select the courses most suited to their strengths and interests. Its algorithms consider a particular student’s transcript and test scores, as well as the performance of hundreds of thousands of previous students, to generate a personalized curriculum. The goal is to help more students actually complete their degree – and in a reduced…

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