Monday, 17 February 2014

Starting an online school

Like business ideas or babies, everybody has an idea on how to re-invent the education system. I constantly get emails from several online schools saying they want my material. Most of the other instructors that I know get the same emails. I will go over the process of what setting up a course on their website entails and then I will go up and then go over how to make any business process easier. 

Like I said above. Everybody has an idea on how to make education better so naturally there are a ton of online schools popping up with everybody's specific plan. Some of these schools have venture capital and others do not.  In another post I will talk about why a simple UI change isn't going to change education. What most of them need is teachers and content producers. Since they are in short supply they will take what they can get. Here comes the expensive part. You have to 

1. Put all of the courses up on your website
2. Pay somebody to do that
3. Make sure nothing goes wrong
4. Make sure it is a good user experience.

Now imagine this from the teacher point of view. As a teacher you have to put your course up on 10 different sites and make sure that nothing goes wrong. This is really costly, even if you are using somebody else's money, it still costs a lot of money to put up the courses. So much money is being wasted by having all of these different schools in different places. What makes much more sense is to put the courses up once and have other people sell it. 

Most people of course do not want to do this simply because they have an idea on how school is supposed to be. 

The major business lesson here is to make any process simpler and to not let start up costs go through the window. Even if you do not have to pay for the startup costs on the other end, that money can be better spent on advertising or anything else. Even if there is unpaid interns doing the job, the money can be spent somewhere else. 

Instead of setting up a school, the schools are already set up all you have to do is point your customers there. This way we can all enjoy the profits and stop running around in circles trying to set up courses on every different site. 

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