Posts from — September 2009

University of the People (UoPeople)

University of the People (UoPeople):



The United Nations has launched the world’s first tuition-free, non-profit, global online University.



Market Focus:


Higher education courses in information and communications technology that are accessible to everyone around the world. Primarily targeting those who cannot afford the tuition fees from other institutes, or who don’t have access to higher education from where they live.



Types of Offerings:


Content and infrastructure for courses in two academic fields: Business Administration and Computer Science. Both offer 2-year and 4-year programs that are the recommended sequence to follow, but students may also chose to take individual courses from either of these programs as well as from a list of General Studies courses.


The University is not yet accredited and cannot confer any degrees.


Who is the buyer?:


Tuition is free, but the learner personally pays any fees. There is a “sliding scale” of fees for admissions ($15-50) and exams ($10-100), depending on the home country of each student. The University is sponsored by financial donations and volunteer time.


Global Markets:


The courses are offered globally, however an Internet connection is necessary. All materials are online texts, with no videos or content requiring broadband so slow Internet connections will work. All courses and texts are in English, so students must have the required level of English (must be able to complete a series of mandatory orientation courses).


Development of the Market:


There is huge potential for the development and growth of this University. The UoPeople plan to apply for accreditation which will open the doors to more opportunities for the students, as well as higher enrollment. Many more courses and programs can be developed and offered (I personally would like to to some on Environmental Sustainability) and courses in other languages could be offered.


Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning:


I believe that the UoPeople is not necessarily displacing other forms of learning, but offering a much needed alternative to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities for higher education.


September 30, 2009   11 Comments

Broken Link-Web 0.0

The Mod 4 article discussing the business model for Web 2.0 is not available from the link.


September 30, 2009   3 Comments

e-PIKE cubed

e-PIKE™, created by Advanced Integrity Solutions Ltd. (Calgary), is an innovative learning management system (LMS) designed to meet the needs of locations with limited bandwidth connections to the internet. One of their goals is to reach remote communities in developing nations in Africa. The Internet information on this product is very limited. It is very new (March 2009), so I am sure that if it is successful, it might be something we hear about soon.

 Face 1: Market Focus

e-Pike could be purchased by any number of groups considering it is an LMS and authoring software. However, the information provided online leads me to believe that AIS is marketing to corporate groups and governments. Since this infrastructure costs money, businesses and governments must find a way to finance this technology.

The e-Pike information sheet states:

“Applications for this technology include:

• Businesses with remote field training needs (oil and gas, construction)

• Government organizations maintaining remote offices

• Reaching remote communities in developing nations in Africa

• Supporting humanitarian missions abroad

• Allowing countries to rebuild faster from conflict or disaster”


Face 2: Types of Offerings

e-Pike is offering infrastructure only. The fact sheet states: “The e-PIKE™ core uses proven learning management software from the open source community.  With millions of users world-wide this software is fully SCORM 1.2 compliant allowing for e-Learning professionals to upload their course content with confidence of delivering a rich environment for students to focus on their studies. (”


Face 3: Who is the Buyer?

Although this infrastructure has been developed for developing nations and remote training field needs, it costs money to have it. I am sure AIS is expecting governments and businesses to purchase this product.  For this reason, I would suggest the learning is bought centrally by corporations and developing regions.


Face 4 – Global Markets

 e-Pike was developed for remote areas and Africa – both areas with no or poor quality Internet service. This is a fairly new technology (released in March 2009), so I am not sure if this technology is actually being used in Africa yet. The company has not declared this technology for any other developing nations, and Africa is a very large and diverse continent, so it will be interesting to see where this product goes in the next few years.


Face 5 – Development of the Market

The remote areas, especially remote areas in Africa, do not support learning technologies. In fact, many of these areas do not even have access to basic radio technology or desks and chairs. As well, even if the infrastructure becomes available, local teaching resources most likely won’t be. Lundell and Howell (2000, as cited in Butcher, 2003) suggest insufficient funding; a lack of computers and other resources; a lack of computer literacy among teachers; and the absence of established curricula for teaching computer skills are hindering schools from using computers for learning. In addition, even schools that have a computer rarely have access to the Internet. In Ethiopia, “nine of the 12,000 primary schools had Internet access at the end of 2001, and ten of the 424 secondary schools (Butcher, 2003, p. 61).” 


Face 6 – Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

 In remote areas of Africa, existing learning solutions are not working.  Many children do not have access to basic classrooms, books, and teachers. Literacy levels are low, as well as limited technology exposure. In 1960, Sub Saharan African governments dedicated themselves to providing primary education for children and by the 1990’s, those countries implemented Education for All (EFA). Suprisingly, by 2001, “over 45 million children of primary school age in the region, almost 42 percent, were not enrolled in school (Zhang, 2006, p.581).”



Overall, I believe that of intent for this project is positive; however, without someone to develop the content and provide the technical support, I have a hard time expecting this project will be successful. Africa is such a challenging and diverse place to market e-learning. In ETEC 511, I had the opportunity to research education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Not surprisingly, the level of technology present in Africa is considerably low compared to developed countries. Extension technologies, such as radios and televisions have spread throughout Africa more so than computer technology (2001, In addition, neither technology requires the ability to read and write which allows individuals to receive information easily. However, there is still great disparity within each country. In 2001, of the 818 million people in Africa, only 1 in 4 had a radio, 1 in thirteen had a television, 1 in forty had a landline telephone, 1 in 130 had a personal computer, and 1 in 160 used the Internet (Butcher, 2003, p.68).  Along with infrastructure and resource issues, there are issues with cultural perceptions of Western technology and education. There are many challenges involved that might not be answered by e-Pike.



Butcher, N. (2003). Technological infrastructure and use of ICT in education in Africa: an overview. Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA). Retrieved on October 7, 2007


Zhang, Y. (2006). Urban-Rural Literacy Gaps in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Roles of Socioeconomic Status and School Quality. Comparative Education Review,  50 (4), 581 – 602.

September 29, 2009   7 Comments

iParadigims: Turnitin

iParadigims (Turnitin) Cubed

When I think about e-learning technologies and businesses, I tend to think mainly of the delivery, presentation, and access to information aspects of e-learning.  Turnitin is something different; it is a digital information tracking software that protects intellectual property.  Recently, it has started to evolve into a comprehensive online teaching tool, integrating filing management with both teacher and peer assessment.

Market Focus:

Initially, Turnitin focused on post-secondary institutions and is generally used to check the authenticity of student writing.  Today, however, Turnitin, has expanded the utility of its services to include grade-book options and assessment strategies, and, as a result, has expanded its market to include K-12.  Turnitin is especially useful to teachers of the Social Sciences and English where the volume of student written output is greatest.

Types of offerings:


In addition to searching of plagiarism, Turnitin provides a number of additional services and is evolving into complete management and assessment system for teachers.  The online “Write Cycle” system allows students to actively engage in a collaborative writing workshop.  In addition, Turnitin provides grade-book services.


There has been a definite shift in the content delivered by iParadigims which, interestingly enough, has started to morph into more of a learning interface. It seems like this is natural progression and possibly a necessary one given the emerging competition in this area (ie. Google Docs).


iParadigims provides internet-based services designed primarily to protect intellectual property.   It is expanding this service to include online evaluation and assessment tools.

Turnitin also is designed to allow for open integrations with e-learning systems such as WebCT.

Who is the buyer?

Up until recently, the buyer has been post-secondary institutions.  More recently, however, with the addition of online products, the target market has expanded to include K-12 public schools.  Turnitin services are packaged such that they can be purchased by individual teachers—a fairly expensive proposition which works out to about one dollar/assignment.  The most cost effective way to purchase the service is as a school or department.  The flat rate for a medium to large public school (1500-2000 students) is approximately $3500.00 US.  This fee includes unlimited access to all of the services for a one year period.

Global Markets:

Turnitin is current available in 10 different languages and in 110 different countries.  The only real barriers to market would be the lack of internet in developing countries or the lack of language capabilities.  The primary market, however, is post-secondary institutions world-wide.

September 29, 2009   14 Comments

Moroccan potential and elearning

The open nature of this weeks discussion led me through many various searches until I found a site that included elements I was looking for: relatively recent, elearning, business and developing environment.

This article seems almost like a public relations piece but it contains a number of conditions, according the cube analysis model, indicating that the country of Morocco is a viable and sound market for the development of electronically supported learning.

Market Focus – Private and Public institutions providing e learning for students and employees. I think that areas of vocational training and higher education would provide the major focus area with public schools being targeted at a later time.

Types of Offerings – The majority of use would most likely come in the form of services or  “flexible training opportunities to individuals, businesses, and government bodies”.

Who is the buyer? – Increased government sponsorship for elearning projects and the establishment by the finance ministry of a distance learning service indicates a solid ‘lighthouse’ customer. As well, the president of Ibn Zohr University is an advocate for the establishment of a Virtual Moroccan Campus.

 Global Markets– I would infer that the infrastructure required to support the development of elearning is not in place as of yet, but Morocco seems to be stable enough and indications from the growing use of information technology favor the continued development of communication technologies including Internet.

Development of the Market– I suspect that at this time Morocco is a market that supports the import of content & infrastructure, although national policies and the need for local content would favor indigenous suppliers if they could meet the needs of the market. It would be interesting to explore why there is such a high cost for the development of training platforms and modules. Is it because these elements have to be imported from other countries or is it due to problems with local companies that have been formed?

Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning – In this aspect of the cube learning technologies are competing with existing systems. It has been deemed necessary to support the implementation of elearning with personal tutors and it should be recognized that implementations of elearning would complement conventional training already in place.

Anyone been to Morocco lately? What do you think?

September 28, 2009   1 Comment

Google Documents Cubed

In approaching Activity 2, I wanted to evaluate an open source technology.  While Google has developed several open source applications, I chose to focus on Google Docs.

Face 1: Market Focus

Google Docs is being used in a variety of settings from K-12 to higher education institutions as well as in business venues.

Face 2: Types of Offerings

Google Documents encompasses a variety of offerings from word processing to presentations.

Face 3: Who is the Buyer?

Because Google Documents is open source technology, there is no “buyer” per say, but rather a customer. The decision to use Google Docs can be made by individuals or by institutions. In the educational arena, many utilize Google Docs for its collaborative features.

Face 4 – Global Markets

Google Docs is uniquely positioned in the global marketplace. Due to the popularity of Google’s free web browser and electronic mail service, customers can easily access Google documents. For those who are unfamiliar with how to use Google documents, tutorials are readily available such as this one from CommonCraft.

Face 5 – Development of the Market

A growing demand for open source applications ensures the continuing development of the market for application such as Google Docs. Other open source roducts such as OpenOffice  provide competition in the market. As a company, Google is committed to ongoing development and open access to an both products and an infrastructure which allow for ease of access (portability). For more information see

Face 6 – Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

I am not entirely sure how to address this aspect. While Google Docs is not solely a learning technology, the growing demand from various sectors for open source productivity applications stimulates competition. Within the educational realm, the need for dependable, collaborative applications ensures that Google Docs and other developing open source productivity applications will be well received.

September 28, 2009   10 Comments

Intel® Teach program

I approached Activity #2 (alternative marketplace offered by international development opportunities) as a cube analysis again…hopefully I interpreted that correctly.

I chose to focus on a companies’ long term investment into a project that will bring them returns later in the future…

Technology giants such as Cisco Systems, Intel, and Microsoft are setting their sights beyond the United States and are investing heavily in global education reform initiatives.  These efforts are benefitting developing nations such as India, Jordan, and Kenya.

Intel is working with governments and educators to help integrate technology into teaching and learning, investing $100 million a year.

See an introductory video here:
FACE 1:  Market Focus

According to Intel, the goal of  the Intel® Teach program is to help 13 million teachers in more than 40 countries develop new skills to incorporate technology into their curriculum by 2011.

Intel introduces the ®Teach program in communities that are chosen based on the strength of their commitment to the program.
A three-year evaluation of the Intel® Teach Program finds that a large majority of teachers increased the use of technology in the classroom after taking an Intel Teach course.

FACE 2:  Types of Offerings

The Intel® Teach Program helps teachers to be more effective educators.  They provide professional development which focuses on how to integrate technology into their lessons.  This program promotes problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration skills among the students. “With more than 6 million teachers trained in over 50 countries, Intel® Teach is the largest, most successful program of its kind”.
The company works with an initial group of teachers to help them learn 21st-century teaching methods, and these teachers then train other educators in these methods.

The program consists of 24-40 hours of face-to-face, interactive instruction delivered through up to 11 curricular modules through the use of online tools.

The goal is for teachers to leave the course with a standards-based unit plan, support materials, and implementation strategies to improve and assess students’ higher-order thinking with the use of free online tools.

FACE 3:  Who is the Buyer

Intel Foundation

Founded in 1989, the Intel Foundation is a philanthropic organization focused on programs that advance education and improve communities worldwide.

As mentioned in my introductory paragraph, Intel is working with governments and educators to help integrate technology into teaching and learning, investing $100 million a year.

By providing funding for national and localized grants, the foundation helps fuel innovation in classrooms. The goals of the Intel Foundation are to increase interest in math and science education, and to help develop a future workforce that represents the diversity around the world.  In this way they can produce their next generation of employees and customers!

FACE 4:  Global Markets

Intel Corp., a company with four decades of educational reform initiatives—including the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, the Learn Program, and the Model School program—has incorporated its Teach program throughout many parts of India.
The focus of Intel and the other major technology giants such as Cisco Systems, and Microsoft, is on developing nations with poor technology resources.

FACE 5:  Development of the Market

The current market that Intel is targeting (developing nations such as India, Jordan, and Kenya) does not support learning technologies.
For reasons of poverty, marginal languages, and poor or restricted Internet infrastructure or geographic isolation, the target market cannot support learning technology ventures of any type that will be viable businesses.
Funding is provided by grants.  The Intel Foundation provides the money (up to $100 million) in national and localized grants.

FACE 6:  Learning Technology competing with other forms of learning

This learning technology substitutes for other types of learning  – enhancing the traditional teacher delivery model that is currently the most cost effective in these developing, yet poor economy countries.
By policy decision, learning technology is displacing other forms of learning. The existing learning solutions are not working (e.g. rural public schools in less developed nations – they do not have the funds to incorporate technology on their own).  As learning technology is not the “best” solution in all cases, gaps in learning performance may persist.  However Intel is not just providing the technology, but is supporting the training of the educators that will implement the technology into their classrooms.

September 28, 2009   3 Comments

Like Bev, I am not exactly clear on how to present this alternative model. Having viewed many pitches in Mod 2 unlike the Dragon’s Den approach, is a site that connects enrepreneurs in the developing world with personal lenders in the microcredit manner.  Many of the entrepreneurs are from Tier 4 (and Tier 3?) of the pyramid. A new analytical model that appeared relevant from Prahalad and Harts article was the vetting of business proposals.  The Grameen Banks acceptance of community based evaluation of loan applications by 5 non family is sound. It saves Grameen the expensive legal, logistical HR hassles and promotes the lender in the community while serving a very real need. In Tier 4, the Cube face related to Market Focus may need to include “community ed” that does not entail traditional K-12 etc. For these typically rural communities, the educational focus could be public health or agricultural information . “Who is the Buyer” -in addtion to NGOs and Governenets, this may include microcredit lenders who see value in education as well as the individual. Tier 4 would fall on the “Market Does Not Support Elearning”  face but perhaps this could be further subdivided.  The OLPC  program takes advantage of cell phone communication networks providing  connectivity in previously isolated areas. Perhaps “Wireless” “With out Wireless” may be reasonable?


September 28, 2009   4 Comments

Wharton Africa Business Forum

This is an annual forum I came across, field trip anyone?

It has some interesting topics and is very pro-Africa as a place to invest.  Thoughts?


September 28, 2009   2 Comments

n-Logue providing ICT services in rural India.

I am not sure if I understand exactly what we are suppose to be posting here about alternative approaches but I’ll give it a shot. While reading through some of the links I recalled reading ( I think written by Thomas Friedman) about a very successful project where women in rural areas in India were given cameras and trained to be the village photographers. While trying to find more information on this I came across the following article: Jhunjhunwala, A., Ramachandran, A. & Bandyopadhyay, A., n-Logue: The Story of a Rural Service Provider in India , The Journal of Community Informatics, (2004), Vol. 1, Issue 1, pp. 30-38. retrieved from the internet Sept. 27, 2009

This article discusses how an organization called n-Logue that focuses on rural India, helped to establish internet kiosks through-out rural India. Kiosks, which cost less than $1000 to set up were financed by bank loans and were established by trained entrepreneurs in the villages- mostly women. Further tech support is provided by n-Logue. It was determined in the original business plan that these kiosks would need to make around $70 per month in order to break even. This amounts to about 7 or 8 cents per person per month which the authors felt was affordable and sustainable.

These kiosks provide an amazing variety of services in these communities from training children how to type, to providing farmers access to on-line veterinary services. Many of the kiosk owners also bought digital cameras so they have also become the village photographer. At the time of writing they were proposing to add internet banking services as well.

This article does not conclude how things are going, but the authors were very optimistic about the future. I think this is a really interesting idea and with over 6 000 000 villages in India has great potential.

September 27, 2009   3 Comments