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Software Development

The software development team partners with faculty and CTL teams to create learning experiences informed by best practices in pedagogy. Much like the design of a physical classroom the architecture and design of digital learning environments expresses the values of their creators and significantly shapes learning experiences. Our team of project managers, programmers, and web designers specializes in designing intuitive, user friendly experiences covering a broad range that includes online learning environments, multimedia annotation tools, collaboration software, simulations, and lightweight interactive learning objects.

As specialists in educational technology development, our expertise includes building software features to protect students’ privacy, support different pedagogies and curricular workflows, and assess student performance. We build projects that are accessible, responsive and open, contributing to the larger educational technology community by using open source platforms and code, and releasing all of our code for re-use. We take pride our adoption of cutting edge engineering and quality control approaches such as test-driven development, code reviews, and continuous integration.

You can follow our reflections on the technical aspects of the Center’s work at and on You can browse our gallery of rich javascript interactive learning objects at .

Featured Projects

Project: Footprints

Footprints is a crowd-sourced database of information related to the circulation of printed Jewish books. Developed through a collaboration of researchers from the Jewish Theological Seminary, Columbia University, University of Pittsburgh, and Stony Brook University, the site synthesizes scholarship, software development, and project-based learning to help students and scholars trace the history and movements of Jewish books across space and time.

Project Partners:
Michelle Chesner, Norman E. Alexander Librarian for Jewish Studies
Marjorie Lehman, Associate Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics, Jewish Theological Seminary


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Project: Education Leadership Development Experience (ELDEx)

The Education Leadership Development Experience (ELDEx) is a simulation that supports in-person intensive professional development training sessions for educational leaders. In partnership with the Urban Education Teachers’ Collaborative at Columbia University’s Teachers College, ELDEx combines case studies and simulations to streamline and facilitate activities that engage participants in decision-making scenarios based on actual events.

Project Partner:
Brian Perkins, Director of the Urban Educational Leaders Program, Teachers College

Project: Mediathread

Mediathread is an open-source platform created at the CTL that supports multimedia analysis within a communal environment. Instructors using Mediathread designate online collections of source materials for a given course and post assignments. Their students are able to collect video, audio, and image assets from across the web, annotate them, and embed them into compositions within a course-specific website. The CTL continues to provide training and technology support for this platform, which has been used in over 250 courses at Columbia since its first release in 2010. Mediathread has also been adopted at other institutions, including MIT, Dartmouth, Wellesley, Georgia Tech, and the University of Maine.