A Pitch

November 30, 2009   14 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

UBC IT Service

UBC IT Services

Ted Dodds Chief Information Officer


Ted Dodds is an articulate, credible speaker who seems to have a clear vision where the UBC IT Services e-learning strategy is headed.  The e-strategy framework is an excellent idea.  It is inclusive and flexible plan, designed to reach out to early adopters of technology and faculty communities, avoiding centralization.  The management team seems very strong.  The team building process is inclusive where “thought leaders” and early adopters are invited to participate in the process from the early development stage, contributing to the over all vision.  This inclusive and empowering strategy may have helped establish strong links to the university community, and there is a nice balance of leadership and community participation.  The plan also has a built-in strategy for dealing with mavericks and innovator whose talents are used to further support the efforts of the university by providing input to the direction of the program, as well as, providing links to university faculty—playing critical role of liaison between IT and faculty.  Moreover, the e-learning venture may also have some commercial potential and may find open-source applications that go beyond the campus.


In theory, the “inclusive” community based e-learning strategy should be effective; however, the “inclusive” design has the potential to disrupt the focus of the venture by trying to meet the needs of too many.  Moreover, there maybe times when a greater top-down strategy may be needed to make change possible. In addition, the potential for open-source application beyond the campus seems problematic, and there seems to be limited commercial or inter-university potential.

Was the pitch effective? The pitch is very effective, and I am convinced that the venture is worthy of investment.  Most appealing is the inclusive e-strategy framework; it seems like an ideal model for a university setting: flexible and dynamic.

September 14, 2009   1 Comment

Ingenia pitch

Ingenia-training Pitch


One of the strengths of the pitch is company president, Ramona Materi.  She is a very convincing speaker who seemingly has excellent credentials.  The company has a small highly skilled management team.  Given the weak domestic market, and stiff international competition this may be an advantage.  Ingenia seems to have a clear vision and is aware that survival may be determined by how well it positions itself in the international market place.  The company has identified potential in the Vietnamese market and has developed a strategy to tap into that market.  The company is aware that needs to establish business relationships with multinational companies—such as Shell—operating within Vietnam, and that the Vietnamese, as a whole, highly value education. Ingenia has also recognized that the Vietnamese market is essentially free of competition.


The pitch also has a number of weaknesses.  Ingenia doesn’t seem to have a competitive product or technical innovation to set the company apart from its competitors.  Moreover, the domestic market is very weak and, if for some reason, the company were to be excluded from the Vietnamese market, it may experience financial difficulties.  It also seems that the company does not have a great deal of confidence in it ability to enforce contractual obligations entered into with the Vietnamese Government, and for that reason, stresses that it will seek business relationships with multinational corporations who can be held responsible to their legally binding agreements.  On the surface, this may add weight to Ingenia’s pitch; however, one of the key advantages alluded to in the pitch is that the company is the company is positioning itself to take advantage of an untapped market—“off the beaten track”—but its relationships are with internationally based companies, and the target market is not really all that insular.

Was the pitch effective?   The pitch was effective enough to get my attention; however, I am not convinced Ingenia has identified a secure enough target market, and for this reason I would not be interested in investing in the venture.

September 14, 2009   No Comments

Hello Everyone: Lorne

My name is Lorne Upton.  During the winter months, I teach at Walnut Grove Secondary in Langley and, during the summer, I work for the BC Forest Service Wild Fire Management at the Coastal Fire Centre in Parksville and at the Haig Firebase in Hope.   Although both professions are very different, I enjoy them equally.  I also foresee drawing on both experiences as I work my way through ETEC 522.   I wish everyone the best of luck and look forward to learning from you.

September 9, 2009   No Comments