Terra Dotta, which means “learned world” in Italian, was founded by Brandon S. Lee and Garrett Christian in 2001. Their vision is to enhance the learning and administration capabilities of schools and other educational organizations through web-based interfaces available on any computer or mobile device connected to the Internet.
As technology coordinators at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the 1990s, Lee and Christian assisted professors and graduate students with implementing technology in the classroom. While content-management systems at the time were able to organize textual data, they did not address the multimedia needs of many classrooms. Edufolio, the first software product they created, was used by UNC until 2009 to address multimedia needs through an easy-to-use interface for students and instructors.
When UNC’s Office of Study Abroad wanted to automate their student application process, it contracted Lee and Christian to develop the new system. The project was very successful, but the pair were not satisfied with an online application alone. They encouraged the directors to put the entire office process on the web. A year later they had added online brochures, automated decision letters, insurance calculations, and much more. The experience Lee and Christian gained in study abroad process management provided the basis for StudioAbroad.
StudioAbroad (now Terra Dotta for Study Abroad) was born after a demonstration of UNC's new online processes at a NAFSA conference generated interest from many other study abroad programs. A team of seven programmers, database experts, graphic artists, and designers worked for 18 months before releasing the initial version of StudioAbroad.
Terra Dotta has since expanded its software product line to address the need for automated enrollment in other areas within a university setting, resulting in Terra Dotta for Risk Management, ISSS, ESL, HR Competencies, and Application Management that meet a wide range of campus needs. Over the years, TDS has continued to grow and adapt, based on customer feedback in an effort to meet the ever-changing needs of the international and higher education communities.