Desire2Learn “CUBED”

I decided to “CUBE” Desire2Learn as this is one of the learning management systems I have had experience using as an online teacher.  Their corporate website may be found at

Face 1 – Market Focus

Public Schools (in particular, middle and secondary schools) and higher educational institutions.  Alternatively, corporations, associations, healthcare and government agencies may find use in D2L products to training and educate their employees.

Face 2 – Types of Offerings

Desire2Learn’s (D2L) flagship product is its learning management system called the Desire2Learn Learning Environment.  This is an educational infrastructure-type product.  D2L’s Learning Environment is a web-based system that allows administrator and instructor users to create, teach, deliver, and manage course content to potential student users.  This extensive and complex platform includes systems such as grading, internal communication, and user database.

D2L also offers other services including delivery, hosting, content, training and support.

Face 3 – Who is the Buyer?

For public schools, the buyer is likely to be a school district as opposed to a single school itself.  This is due to the relatively high cost of the system which would not make it feasible for a school to purchase it for its own use.  Upper school board management or school district e-learning staff would likely make the purchasing decisions.

For higher education institutions, since staff and student populations are generally larger than elementary or secondary schools (and therefore have greater budgets), individual faculties or the entire institution itself may choose to purchase D2L’s learning management system to deliver or support its courses.

Larger healthcare, corporations or government agencies, where there is a need to train and educate large numbers of staff members, may choose to use this learning management system for these purposes.

Face 4 – Global Markets

As internet access expands across the world, so too is the growth of online education.  Public schools, higher educational institutions, corporations, healthcare, and government agencies around the globe, where internet access is widely available, are the target markets for D2L.

Face 5 – Development of the Market

D2L’s vision is to be a global leader in providing e-learning solutions to their clients.  They have won a number of awards for technology innovation; however, these awards were presented by North American based associations and institutions.  In order for D2L to meet their global market aspirations, greater computer and internet access in regions with restricted or poor availability needs to be realized.  Though this may be beyond the scope of D2L’s line of products and services, infiltrating these markets by providing products and solutions that meet their current technology capabilities may help to develop and expand D2L’s global market.

Face 6 – Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

For various reasons, many educators who use traditional methods of teaching (e.g. chalkboard, paper and pencil exercises) may refuse to or be afraid to integrate technologies in their teaching practices.  However, most would still agree that computer skills are a highly important component of a modern education, especially since these skills are transferable to many potential occupations.  Encouragement through professional development, training, and follow up support are necessary to assist colleagues with technology use.

D2L’s Learning Environment could be used in conjunction with traditional teaching approaches following a blended learning model or be used to replace traditional classroom teaching and learning by placing courses completely online.

September 25, 2009   8 Comments

Adobe Connect Pro Cubed

Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro

Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro is software used to create information and general presentations, online training materials, web conferencing, learning modules, and user desktop sharing. The product is entirely Adobe Flash based.  This product could be used by many organizations including government, corporate institutions and universities. .

The Market

At quick look this product is very multifunctional.  In keeping with the elearning market niche Connect Pro could be used by high schools, universities and corporations who are interested in online training.  Really anyone who wants to make a presentation could use it so it may even be a useful tool for elementary schools.

Types of Offerings

Adobe offers Connect Pro as  software that could be used to build infrastructure within an organization.  It is a program that allows the user to create content, deliver training and manage the participants. 

Who is the Buyer?

This product would most likely be purchased by a large corporation under license or governmental agencies to have all instructors use the product for training their employees.  Teachers or independent instructors could buy single copies of the software and invite their students to attend their e-course as all the students will need is a web browser and the Adobe Flash Player.  My expectation is that Connect Pro is used mostly in higher education for classroom modules or entire web based courses.  I would expect students themselves would not be purchasing this software but either the instructor or a centralized official would purchase and mandate its use across an organization.

Global Market

This product can is available in many languages including English, French and Spanish and is useful anywhere there is reliable internet infrastructure.

Development of the Market

Connect Pro is supported in any market where reliable internet infrastructure is present and language spoken is English, French or Spanish.   The instructor or organization supports the use of the product through their funding the user or learner only needs internet access.  Many universities, governments and corporations can import the software by license agreements or low investment hosting by Adobe. 

Competition with Other Forms of Learning

Connect Pro will work best with well developed learning systems.  Developed nations with reliable internet structures will be able to use Connect Pro in unison with existing forms of learning.  Connect Pro will provide options for organizations to increase learning opportunities for users who are looking for alternative mediums to train or educate themselves.

September 25, 2009   No Comments

ZOHO Wiki for Education

RE:  ZOHO WIKI FOR EDUCATION (A service provided by ZOHO Wiki)


ZOHO Wiki for Education is intended for public schools (K-12) and higher education (college and university).


ZOHO Wiki for Education is a learning and content management system, providing schools with space to design interactive, on-line courses for students.  Here, teachers would develop virtual classrooms so that students and teachers can remain connected outside the physical classroom.  As well, ZOHO Wiki for Education provides post-secondary institutions with space to allow (a) college graduates to share information and to build knowledge, (b) research students to collaborate on reports and to share research findings, and (c) faculty members to design course curriculum.


ZOHO Wiki for Education is for the typical public school market and for higher education situations.


ZOHO Wiki has global markets in India (an “Asian” country), the US (an Anglophone country), and internationally:

However, this does not mean that ZOHO Wiki for Education specifically is available in all global markets.


It seems as though the markets of the US, Canada, Japan, and India support the import of content and infrastructure: (Press Releases) (ZOHO in the News) (Japanese ZOHO Wiki Site) (ZOHO Awards)

However, for ZOHO Wiki for Education may only apply in the Anglophone countries and possibly in Japan and India.


ZOHO Wiki for Education works with a well-developed learning system in that this e-learning service/product is designed to enrich and to enhance the teaching-learning process by providing e-learning space for, but not limited to, collaboration, research, communication, showcasing, and participation.

September 25, 2009   2 Comments

CambridgeSoft Introduces ChemDraw Basic E-Learning Course

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face one – MARKET FOCUS

A little about  and its ChemDraw program:

CambridgeSoft is the leading supplier of Internet browser and webserver based life science desktop software, enterprise solutions, chemical databases and consulting services to the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries.

CambridgeSoft offers a complete line of desktop software for chemists including ChemDraw, the industry standard for chemical structure drawing and analysis.

Cambridge Soft introduced, on August 17, 2009, an e-Learning course for new users of ChemDraw software.  The software program is described below.

The * ChemDraw Ultra 12.0 Suite
by CambridgeSoft
Media: Download for Macintosh

Cost is $2330 USD (offered at academic pricing of $890)


The e-Learning course that I am focusing on is a complimentary product to the purchasers of the ChemDraw software program.

CambridgeSoft offers prepackaged courseware and online training to support that courseware.

It provides online instructions (delivered in modules) as well as an assessment of certification at the end of the course.  You are given access for one full year to ChemDraw Basic e-Learning Course @ $250 USD per individual license (offered at @ $150).

ChemDraw Basic E-Learning Course

Media: Online

face three –WHO IS THE BUYER?

Interested clients include Students, Educators, and Government Employees in the Chemistry / Biology fields.  This particular online course caters to new users of the ChemDraw packaged courseware.  They also offer bulk uploads  – for many students from one organization seeking access to the course.

This could be used by all the teachers in the science department of one school, or perhaps it would be a district initiative to get the program for use at all the schools in all Science programs.  Not only could it be used as an instructional enhancement, but could allow students to work on chemical models in 3-dimensional space.  The e-learning program would instruct the teachers and students alike, on how to use the tools in the ChemDraw software.  In industry, such as the Ministry of the Environment, analysts would use the software for their lab write-ups in their analyses of samples.  The e-learning software would appeal to Ministry labs inplementing the ChemDraw program for the first time, in order to train all scientists on staff as to the effective use of the software application.

face four – GLOBAL MARKETS

CambrigeSoft has offices in the US, Europe (including Germany and France) and Asia Pacific.

They offer support in English, German, French and Japanese.

So CambridgeSoft is catering to Wired Anglophone Countries, European countries that speak English, as well as a few European countries that require translation.  They also market to Asian Countries with quality Internet access, specifically in this case Japan.  This would also appeal to special situation such as military or marine use for scientists in those fields.


The e-Learning that CambridgeSoft is offering is an export oriented Learning Technology.  It is designed to support the global customers of its prepackaged courseware.  This is a well established company with a lengthy line of software products that are being used internationally.

face six – Learning Technology competing with other forms of learning?

This Learning Technology works with a well developed system.  This company sets the bar for other learning technologies of this category.  The development of this e-Learning media download shows expanded support for its customer to use their prepackaged software for effectively.  It will draw more customers into the purchase of its software products, if they know that they will be supported by tutorial programs.  This learning technology is more effective than instructor-led training since the customer will seek help for the particular application that they are employing, and will want to refer back to the instructional software many times, and any order that makes sense to them.

September 25, 2009   2 Comments

Vernier Labware

Vernier LabQuest

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This isn’t strictly an internet based company, but one that markets a specific education technology that I have become very familiar with and which I think is quite appropriate for this critique. As you’ll see I am quite an enthusiastic supporter of using Vernier equipment so this may be slightly biased.
Vernier sells and supports a wide range of electronic science equipment.  Sensor probes are plugged into a portable computer unit called a LabQuest which processes and displays the data. Students can manipulate both the collection of data as well as analyze the data after it is recorded on an interactive touch screen.

Market Focus:

Public Schools, specifically middle and high school.

Types of Offerings:

Vernier’s primary offering is the LabQuest computer unit with an extensive and ever growing list of sensors that can be plugged into the LabQuest.  (Examples of these sensors include motion sensors, temperature probes, pH meters, accelerometers, photo spectroscopes, and photo gates). Each sensor is sold separately and schools usually purchase at least one complete class set of both the LabQuest computer unit and the sensors they need.  Vernier also provides new and innovative sensors every year in an attempt to keep up with what science and math teachers need.

In addition to the hardware they sell the company also markets training and support services.  Because the technology can initially seem quite daunting and may be confusing to the uninitiated, the training sessions are quite popular and can usually be arranged onsite at the school.  If a school purchases an entire class set (~$450/each) they provide free support and training.  For smaller purchases there are additional costs associated with it.


Who is the Buyer:

In almost every case, the buyer is the school or school board.  The LabQuest computers are relatively expensive at nearly $500 each so it becomes quite restrictive for a student to buy it themselves.  Although the sensors that plug into the LabQuest are more affordable, the expense is generally not something that individual students, who will likely only use the LabQuest for one or two courses, want to deal with.

Global Markets:

Vernier markets their products and services around the world.  I have personally used them in Asia and North America and received excellent product support in both places.  The company has modified its software to suit the needs of the country it is operating in without difficulty. By using specialized adaptors, the hardware can be used in any area of the world and although software updates are available through the internet, it is not a requirement.


Development of the Market:

The market in the developed world is particularly well suited to Vernier.  As the student population becomes more comfortable and versatile using technology and as teachers learn more about the benefits of this technology, Vernier will likely experience significant growth in North America, Europe and parts of Asia.  However, because of the expensive nature of the equipment, developing nations will be hard pressed to justify the expenses associated with this computer technology.  Publicly funded education in developing countries will likely focus on the necessities of a proper science education like well trained science teachers with suitable lab environments before they begin to consider luxury science education items like the LabQuests.  Exceptions to these policies will likely come from offshore private education institutions.  However, as developing countries progress there will be a steady increase in the demand for Vernier equipment.  Currently there are very few competing companies, the most notable being Pasco Equipment.  As a result, there are few reputable and established alternatives for interested buyers.

Competition from other Forms of Learning:

One consistent argument against Vernier equipment is that it does not sufficiently teach students proper lab skills or prepare them for real science because most of the data gathering is done by computer.  While there is no arguing that nearly all the data is gathered by computers, assuming that real world science is not done on computers is a fallacy.  Modern sciences (and many other related disciplines) embrace technology as a way to improve speed and productivity.  Educators will have to follow this line both in terms of teaching methodology and as a content area.  Students will need not only the most up to date learning techniques, but they also need to be prepared for the technology that awaits them in the real world.

September 25, 2009   5 Comments

Avatar Issues

Hi All,

I have tried a couple of times to add an avatar to my profile  for my comment posts but the ‘crop’ field  won’t  move over my uploaded image. Is anyone else experiencing a similar issue (and how do you resolve it?)

Thanks, Jim

September 25, 2009   1 Comment

Insight x Insight x Insight

Faronics Insight © is a networked computer software that can be used to train and monitor computer use across multiple workstations.

Face 1: Market Focus Insight targets the educational and business markets

Public school, higher ed and business training.

Face 2: Types of Offerings

Content and Infrastucture

Face 3: Who is the Buyer?

Bought regionally (provincial school boards, municipal libraries) or at a faculty level in universities and colleges. Large business may also be a buyer.

Face 4 – Global Markets

Wired Anglophone and European market with language skills

Face 5 – Development of the Market

Market Supports Import of Content and Infrastructure Category.

Face 6 – Learning Technology Works With a Well-Developed Learning System

Interestingly this program is a piece of tech that facilitates tech ed  and is therefore a self fulfilling niche. It requires networked workstation and IT personnel to help set up and  troubleshoot, but the software is quite user friendly.

The Insight software not only allows for live multi-workstation demos but students/learner peer present and can pose questions on the fly, in an anonymous fashion if so chosen. I see this as an extremely valuable tool for knowledge building communities.

September 25, 2009   1 Comment