Think of Omnicademy as a semester abroad minus the travel. College students use the Web portal—tricked out with massive multiplayer classrooms, virtual-learning "quests," and social networking—to enroll in online courses at other universities and earn credit at their own school. "I started developing tools that would take the best part of the classroom and the best part of the Internet," says Stacey Simmons, who paired the software with back-end support for participating teachers, such as online assistants. Of the current education model, Simmons, 40, says, "I like horses, but I wouldn't ride a horse to work. It's time to drive a car." Omnicademy comes out of beta this fall semester, engine revving.