Richmond Online Adult Graduation Program

Hi everyone,

My pitch, a PowerPoint presentation of the executive summary as well as a written executive summary can be found in the Word document below.

Ellen’s Pitch




1 Michael Awmack { 11.24.08 at 9:09 pm }

I like the premise of building on existing infrastructure to create an adult learning revenue stream. Perhaps a few more details (i.e. the size of the adult learning market in Richmond) would strengthen the case for investment.

2 Bruce Spencer { 11.25.08 at 9:10 am }

This is a great idea for people who haven’t completed their education. I have a couple of concerns. Firstly, are these online courses being offered by the RVS monitored by qualified teachers/trainers and are they being compensated for their services? What is the success rate for the existing program? What advantage is there in going this route versus going the GED route?

Again, a great idea, particularly since the infrastructure already exists and your proposal only wishes to tap in to that resource.

3 Cheryl Milner { 11.25.08 at 1:48 pm }

Hi Ellen,

This is a strong case for Richmond Continuing Education but wondered if this isn’t being done elsewhere in the Province. Cool School, Open School BC each provide educational resources and services to those who haven’t completed high school. What is crucial is to produce materials that are unique and haven’t been produced by other institutions, so that the body of resources becomes richer for those students wishing to complete high school.

Thank-you for your well thought out presentation.

4 Sarah Wood { 11.26.08 at 3:19 pm }


Your venture sounds credible and easy to implement for Richmond school district. I agree that adult education is important and we should look at ways that we can help adults achieve success. I was looking for a bit more of a comparison of your proposal to the direct and indirect competitors.


5 Crystal Pullman { 11.26.08 at 10:53 pm }

Hi Ellen,

You have identified an issue in Canadian society, and the Richmond Adult Online Education Program could be a great solution this issue. Online education is a solution for the groups that you’ve identified – parents and drop-outs that simply don’t have the time or money to stop working and return to day to day, face to face education.. Also, your embedded PowerPoint presentation in the Word document was a nice, unique way to present the executive summary.
I’m not sure what you’re asking of your investors (or us as EVA’s), as I don’t see a dollar amount. As an investor my concerns would be return on investment. The attractiveness of the proposal is that the tuition would be low for prospective students, but the result would also be that the return on investment would likely be low for potential investors.
It is good that you include information on the existing online program for Richmond. That the courses would not have to completely created from scratch, but simply altered from hybrid courses to online courses is more likely to attract investors, as it means there is less work, time, and effort that need to be put into your project than they might have thought, and it can be up and running fairly quickly.
I like that you have included research to support your claims. This shows me that you have not only made the claim, but taken the next step to prove it. The research supports this problem that exists in society, and your proposal claims to be able to answer and provide a solution for that problem.
I appreciate that you have summarized your proposal at the end to clean it up, but I think that it could really be strengthened if you solidified what exactly you were asking of potential investors.


6 Crystal Pullman { 11.26.08 at 10:55 pm }

Sorry, I typed my comment up in Word and pasted and posted, I didn’t realize that it was reformatted. I apologize if it’s a bit difficult to read.

7 David Wees { 11.27.08 at 1:26 am }

Assessing the Need

You’ve done an excellent job of highlighting the need for this program and the reasons why it is necessary are clear.

Well-defined Target

Your target audience is extremely well defined.


Your management team for this venture doesn’t seem to be in place. You discuss how it would not be difficult to implement this program without discussing, besides the name of the organization, exactly who would be implementing it. I think this is crucial for your pitch to work.


Your pitch is a good although very similar ideas exist already for other areas. The core of your idea, as I see it, is to leverage existing content to teach adult learners as well.


Your project idea seems completely feasible, except the costs to produce and maintain the courses will be a bit steep. A discussion of alternate funding sources besides tuition are probably appropriate. Wouldn’t the provincial government be an ideal candidate to “hit up” for some cash to fund this proposal?


Your pitch focusses on the reasons why this program is necessary and less on the actual implementation of the program and plans for the future. Thinking about both of these things more would improve your pitch.


Nothing is discussed about day to day operations except that much existing content could be leveraged for these online adult courses.


Your project is obviously sustainable, given that 200,000 more potential customers enter the market each year.

Social Impact

The social impact, if your project is successful would be huge. If you could make it fun to take an online course, you’d make a huge difference in everyone who graduated from your program.


Your presentation is okay, but could use more media and flair to bring it alive. The text of the presentation is good but it could use bigger “pizazz” in order to keep the attention of a venture capitalist.

It is clear from your presentation that your idea is fundamentally a good one, but you need some work refining your idea. Why are you ideally suited for running this program for instanc?

Try Notepad or Google docs instead.

8 Jarrod Bell { 11.27.08 at 8:59 pm }

Ellen I am unable to open the powerpoint embedded in your document. My office 08 does not like it! Can you please email it to me? jkbell AT…


9 Jarrod Bell { 11.28.08 at 10:06 am }

Ellen I was not able to get your powerpoint to work but looking at your summary this statement concerned me

“The launch of the Richmond Online Adult Graduation Program will bring in extra revenue for the school board since adult learners will be charged for the lessons. ”

All courses leading to graduation or the Adult Dogwood are tuition-free. Your program would not be able to charge the learners as it is against the law in my understanding. Your program however is funded for those adult students through the government.
This was implemented to remove the barrier that adults faced in the past of having to pay for their education.

So you still will have a revenue stream from a funded student but you cannot charge them directly. If the charging is a linchpin of your proposal I believe it will go nowhere due to legislation; however, if you change the references to charging the learners to being funded through the ministry then I believe you have a solid proposal.

I’d look at this program with a twist from Abilene Christian University where students receive an iPhone with their entrance to school. This could be charged for and the student would be responsible for the dataplan. As many of them may already have cell phones then it would hopefully be a wash financially for them. In addition to that you market the program as “going to school on the bus/train”. Students would be able to use the iphone or any web enabled smartphone to participate online in moodle, especially since you can set the course theme for these mobile courses to use a mobile friendly CSS layout. As you mentioned this will not cost you any more since the courses are already built and the changes are simple.

I believe that continued, free, adult education is critical to the well-being of our communities, province, and economy. Good luck with this as it is a worthwhile venture!


10 Susan Wilson { 11.28.08 at 9:16 pm }

Hi Ellen,

While I found your idea worthy of interest, I found the pitch lacking in certain areas. As an EVA, I am not confident that your claims of a cost-effective mode of delivery are valid. How can you be certain that ROAGP can offer courses cheaper than its competitors? How many more servers can the current infrastructure support? How many more instructors are needed? Are they trained? Will there need to be time spent developing new courses? What kind of technical support will be needed/supplied to teachers and to students? Have you any reference for the claim that “the expense for the program is minimal”?

A second area of concern is that I have no idea what type of technologies will be used apart from Moodle. Will the courses simply be print correspondence placed online? Will they be interactive and allow for communication and collaboration among participants?

In the end, what are you actually asking for? I am assuming that you are looking for support in implementing and not for financial support. Do you have a plan for implementation? Do you have a plan for testing? How many courses/students are you able to handle?

I don’t mean to discourage though. This is an important venture. It can even be approached for students who are still young enough to register in the public education system (in SK, I believe that they can be as old as 21). Every child that comes back to register in even one class will bring the division more money.


11 David De Pieri { 11.28.08 at 9:37 pm }

Hi Ellen,

Like Jarrod, I am not able to open your power point either… please email to me, ~ddepieri at telus dot net~

Thank You, Dave

12 David De Pieri { 11.29.08 at 11:59 am }

Hi Ellen,

I like the idea, I believe it has potential, however, I think you have to put more icing on the cake. For example, I think having a “very specialized” program with a “very specialized” physical location for a learning centre would be the extra niche that would attract learners to your program.

If you are attempting to attract clients to the existing ROAG program, my suggestion would be… use the online model BUT ALSO, attract people into a building you may have or need to find. Make this place a warm and hospitable environment, offer day care or “evening care”, where parents know that their kids are safe, where they are looked after and are maybe doing a form of school work themselves. Richmond is small enough in physical distance with a fairly dense population that you should have enough of a client base.

An online course is great, providing your kids don’t drive you insane like mine do. Would I pack my kids and take them to a spot, 3 km away, where they are cared for and I get some quality time with an instructor..? absolutely! Like I mentioned earlier, you need to add more icing to the cake especially in this competitive market. Offer something that others are not and make your physical classroom a comfortable place to visit, if that is at all possible.

Offer tea and crumpets… 😉

Thanks for your kind reply re: my Website venture… Hope this info helps.


13 Deepika Sharma { 11.30.08 at 3:23 am }

Hi Ellen,

I could only get through to your Word file. It is now late to ask where would the ppt be as I do not see any references to it either. But I get the drift perfectly.

1. It is a great idea – a “third” space that needs to be filled in almost all societies. Your pitch when implemented will fill in the gap well.
2. Your undersanding of the situation comes through quite well.
3. I also liked the idea that you do not have to reinvent the wheel and that to begin with, the course will use Moodle (which is open source) as well as design for the exiting courses.

Areas for improvement:
1. Some ball park figures – cost of hiring content developers and or instructors
2. Time frames for implementation
3. Some idea of what these “third” space courses might be would go a long way in reassuring an EVA.

As an EVA, I would say – it interests me but show me some more details.



14 Jagpal Uppal { 11.30.08 at 10:50 am }

Hi Ellen,

As school districts are looking for extra funding and revenue streams, this looks like a promising venture. As Jarrod pointed out, the revenue would come from the government sponsoring these adult learners.

I see a lot of promise with this proposal, as in my class I have several students that are new to the country and will not satisfy all their criteria for graduation.

As an EVA, I am definately interested in exploring further, in particular how this product differentiates from other online competitors.

Good job!

15 Amber Van Der Mark { 12.02.08 at 2:28 pm }

I really like this idea. I have friends who have had to face that problem with going to school, working full tyme and trying to raise a family. I find that this offers a way for them to balance all of it out.

We have something like that in Comox, although it is not online it is done by distance ed. NIDES (North Island Distance Education School).

I would look more into this site before going to school. How recognizable is it? Are there teachers monitoring the site, etc.

I think this would be a good thing for some students who just don’t want to be in school.

Looks good

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