Japanese DL System

Hi everyone,

Please review my A3 submission.



1 Joey Dabell { 11.26.08 at 10:05 am }


Interesting venture! Your summary page gave me a good sense of your project. It addressed the key points for your venture. The summary page might be even more effective if you were to use subheadings to emphasize those points.

Your presentation is easy to follow, provides good background, and improved my understanding of your venture. You mention that Japanese speakers in BC are spread out. I had a couple of concerns. For example, I would have been interested in some overall numbers of speakers in BC. Your timelines seem quite compressed and it wasn’t clear how your courses would be tested. I wasn’t completely convinced the numbers support the investment. I think this is an important project. Is there a way to identify some specific pockets of interest within the province and make connections to those. For example tourism – skiing is a strong draw and there are a number of “lifties” who speak Japanese, or I’ve also heard that at least at one time, UNBC had a significant enrollment in it’s Native Studies program. I think your project has great potential.


2 Gillian Gunderson { 11.26.08 at 5:40 pm }

Hi, Alex,

I agree with Joey that headings for your summary woudl be beneficial. However, your presentation was clear and easy to follow. You also have obviously done research into the need for learning Japanese and why an online course would be the best way for delivery. The availability of tutors would be key but posssibly very expensive.

I noticed that you extended the course right down to kindergarten level in the coming years. My concern would be for the price per course. In your presentation, the price is shown as $1500 per term. This is very high for elementary students. Would there be a differention in prices for different levels of Japanese?


3 Joe Dobson { 11.26.08 at 9:21 pm }

Hi Alex,

This is an interesting proposal and I’m interested in anything to increase the teaching of Japanese. Your comparison of Canada to Australia and the benefits of learning Japanese are clearly stated. However, I think there are some holes in the presentation. Japanese has declined as a second language since the 1990s, and it has been gradually declining around BC including at the university level – (I taught it here for several years before being reassigned). Last, for UBC (I think you refer to distance learning), what would be the relative advantage to their using NIFKU in terms of cost over developing their own course? In terms of curriculum, the issues are getting it into the curriculum. You write that NIFKU is offered at the post-secondary level, but the project as described will be developing the curriculum so the timelines are a little off.

I think the concept you present is great, and wonder if it might be better served to include Chinese (which still significantly lags Japanese in terms of the number of learners, but will grow), Spanish, and/or French. I think that the blend of components for instruction as you describe them make sense from an instructional point of view.


4 cwickes { 11.27.08 at 10:14 pm }

Hi Alex,
I’m afraid that I was concerned about the feasibility and demonstrated need for this program. It’s a rather large budget with a lengthy timeline and I’d need alot more statistics and concrete evidence regarding the online need for Japanese language instruction. I’m not refuting the fact that it may, indeed, be there, I’d just need more information. I liked the layout of your home site.

5 Bryan Funk { 11.27.08 at 11:27 pm }

Hi Alex.

Overall very well done and professional looking. The executive summary was a strength to you proposal.

A few comments for you. I’m left wondering what exactly your value proposition is. Are you the only Japanese Language Distributed Learning System that exists? If not ,who are the competitors and what makes NIFKU better than those or sets you apart. You say the the company is “The world’s best Japanese language distributed learning system.” Says who? Do you have testimonials or articles that would support your claim.

What are some of the perceived risks of your venture and how would you address them?

Looking a t quite a large budget and ambitious startup. AS an EVA I am looking for more information before I give you the green light on this one.


6 Marc Kampschuur { 11.28.08 at 9:57 pm }


I arrived at your page and had a second look to see if I was in the right place, looked too real, very clear setup and professional appearance.

It took me a while to understand the product, which I understand as developing on line Japanese course for the primary, secondary, and post secondary programs.

The questions I had is are the courses different for the different levels (assume that there are significantly different learning styles), how much it would cost the schools (difference between your cost and their grants), is the cost for a single course that takes the learner all the way to the test or does that require multiple coursers, and why not use any other existing EL course that costs less than $1,500 (or are there none?).

At times I thought the presentation may be making a case to learn a Chinese language as you indicated more people speak Mandarin (5x?and there a lot of growth.

Well presented pitch. In am unconvinced that there is a market for a $1,500 course.


7 Laura Macleod { 11.29.08 at 10:36 am }

Alex –

A very nicely set up proposal! Your pitch has excellent focus and was nice and logical. I was also impressed by the far future planning, which to me says the proposer is thinking not just about the here-and-now but how the proposal can expand organically over time. In terms of long-term ROI, that’s very appealing.

I would have liked to see some sales projections – you presented the size of market early on in the presentation, but you didn’t circle back to say how much market penetration you hoped for or could reasonably expect. As well, your staffing model seemed very rich to me – before proceeding to give money, I’d have a lot of hard questions about that aspect.

Thanks. Laura

8 Kenneth Heales { 11.29.08 at 6:08 pm }

Hi Alex,
Your presentation was very professional looking. I enjoyed navigating through it. It would have been interesting to see some more concrete examples of how the program would be structured. I also would have liked to have seen a more regional breakdown of need for this type of program within BC. Would this type of program be mainly targeted to the Lower Mainland? A minor criticism I had in regards to the presentation was that clicking the link only advanced the slide rather than provided the website in question. Otherwise, you make a very strong argument for this product and it would be interesting to see what the next step would be in implementing it.
All the best,

9 nancy castonguay { 11.30.08 at 10:38 am }

Alex, I was right away captivate4d because of your outstanding design and layout which was well spaced, easy to follow and uncluttered. Superb work here. I wonder, is that tuition per student fee in keeping with what the ministry allotment for any course? I didn’t get a chance to review all your material, but I also wondered about how these courses might fit into the public system given that course must be taught by ministry approved instructors… Generally, courses generated by the public school system is the property of the ministry, but this is not the case here?

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