Ingenia Pitch

As an EVA I was impressed by the qualifications of the core team. The venture also had a clear focus. I was concerned that Ingenia’s experience in the past has mainly been with governments and that their proposed projects will be mainly with multinationals. I would want to find out more about how significant this switch would be. Ramona is aware of, and honest about, the stiff competition Ingenia faces in the North American market and proposes an overseas venture partly to avoid this competition.

As I watched the pitch I was reminded of a recent report by the Educational Policy Institute on the effects of the recession on post-secondary education. At the end of this report (pages 28-29) the authors claimed that in Asia and Africa there is a high demand for education branded by large Western universities, and that Canada has been slow to respond to this demand. I noted that Ramona mentioned the success of an Australian university in Vietnam. Of course, Ingenia is not a large Western university and it is not offering post-secondary education. However, Ramona mentions that there is a strong presence of multinational companies in Vietnam, which is Ingenia’s focus, and this would suggest that there is a demand for the kinds of services Ingenia provides.

I would like to know more about Ingenia’s partner team and their experience. I could see this partnership as helping to overcome some of the problems that might exist with the venture. There is a question about what products they plan to use, as I assume that they will have to support Vietnamese. I understand that most of the connections in Vietnam are dial-up and that this is why Ingenia is proposing to buy a low-bandwidth portal in BC, but the slow connections may have ramifications for how attractive elearning will be and again what products should be used. I would like to know more about what solutions they implemented in their previous experience in Vietnam. When she discusses the need for insurance, Ramona admits that it is a difficult market and I would want to know more about potential risks.

I noticed that the Canadian government offers some resources for Canadians considering doing business in Vietnam.

September 18, 2009   2 Comments

Royal Roads OpenCourseWare Pitch

Mary Burgess states that the Royal Roads OpenCourseWare venture would have both an altruistic value and a benefit to Royal Roads University. I think it is difficult to argue with the altruistic benefit of sharing knowledge and promoting informal learning. As an EVA, I believe that people would still pay to be accredited and to receive instruction. I don’t think that there is a problem with competition from members of the OpenCourseWare consortium because OpenCourseWare is offered for free and to benefit from the venture it isn’t necessary to lead people away from using OpenCourseWare offered elsewhere for free (such as MIT) to get them to use Royal Roads OpenCourseWare for free. Furthermore, from what I can see, for the most part Royal Roads and MIT offer different kinds of programs and I’m not sure that there would be much direct competition between them.

The intention to make Royal Roads courseware available for free online indicates confidence in its value, a sense that its quality speaks for itself. It is possible that being able to see the course material before enrollment may attract potential students and possibly prospective faculty, but it would be difficult to establish this kind of cause and effect relationship by looking at the experiences of universities in the OpenCourseWare consortium because there are many factors that can affect student enrollment. I agree that offering courseware for free could enhance the reputation of Royal Roads.

I have questions about what the venture would involve. Is it just a matter of posting course syllabi and handouts online and advertising that they are available, or will it involve creating new content such as videos of lectures, podcasts, and so on? The answer to this would have consequences for the cost of the venture, its viability, and how excited I would be about it. As other EVAs have mentioned, there are also questions about who would be involved in the venture and what their qualifications are.

My main concern is with the issue of licensing. Much more would need to be said about copyright issues and how likely the creators of course content would be to get on board with the project. Other EVAs have mentioned that it isn’t clear what the audience for this pitch is. If it is to faculty, who would be concerned about their intellectual property, then, as a faculty member, I am not persuaded that people will not steal my course content just because from a legal standpoint they should not steal it.

September 17, 2009   4 Comments

Greetings from Stuart

Hello. I have just started the MET TBDL program. In addition to taking this course I am also currently taking ETEC 512. For the past eight years I have been teaching philosophy at a university level, at first with the University of North Dakota and the University of Minnesota, and more recently with Athabasca University. I completed my PhD in philosophy from the University of Calgary last year. I am looking forward to taking this course as it will be very different from my previous studies.Navigating the Bowron Lakes Circuit

September 10, 2009   1 Comment