In the late 2000s, Mark Ciotola, the founder of Course.Cafe, created a small virtual school using the TypePad blogging platform by the Six Apart company. The school contained several online courses with lessons concerning sustainability and entrepreneurship, and even a virtual student union. This system worked, but the underlying TypePad platform declined in popularity.
Independently, in 2012, Monash University began creating its own course content development system built upon WordPress, which had became a much more popular blogging platform. WordPress provides greater development flexibility and a huge ecosystem of plug-ins. Mark joined the Monash team, which evolved its system into an enterprise-level ebook composition called the Alexandria Repository. This publishing system has with many features for content sharing and learning object reuse. That system is still in use at Monash University and is popular with many instructors. However, the future of that system is uncertain due to the inability of the university to pay industry-competitive salaries, and most of the team was let go in 2018 and 2019.
Consequently, Mark set out to develop a similar system of creating online courses with the ability to generate downloadable etexts, that replicates the features of the course system he built on Typepad, but that is built upon WordPress. The result is Course.Cafe. While it does not have all of the bells and whistles of the Monash Alexandria system, and is not enterprise level, it is much less expensive to install and operate. Course.Cafe strives to democratize creating online course contents and ebooks. so that individual authors, groups, programs and schools can obtain many of the benefits of an enterprise level system only presently available to a few large universities.
This site is operated by the Pavilion of Research and Commerce under the trade names Course Cafe and Corsbook.