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Venture For Online Education Website

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Question:

Discuss about the Entrepreneurial Venture For Online Education Website For College Students.
 
 

Answer:

Background information

Online education has become most common in many advanced institutions. However, the quality and credibility of these institutions web portal have been highly questioned. The idea of online education was initiated so that institutions can provide education to a wide range and variety of students at different places in the world. The online platform, however, has not been up to standards as is possible that a person can impersonate himself or herself just to take the place of a student on having access to the student ID and personal PIN.

It is the reason why I have come up with this website that will be specially customized to curb such issues. The portal has designed specially in a way that it will require students who enroll with college students provide their biometrics to the institution so that those who access the web portal and attend classes are kept in check. This will enable eradicate issues where people who have gone through higher education levels being hired by students to write their online assignments and examinations. The web will also provide a live session where students can communicate with their lectures online during classes to seek for clarification in areas where they do not understand clearly.

Project goals/ objectives

  • To make online college education more pleasing, credible and of a high standard to students, colleges should provide students with one stop access to all staff members, departments and the available programs that the institution offers.
  • The main objective of this entrepreneurial venture is to;
  • Provide all information for qualifications and requirements for a student to enroll in online classes program in the institutions.
  • Launch a simple and secure user-friendly portal to students
  • Provide access in 24/7 for frequently asked questions (FAQ) section
  • Facilitate easy means of communication and distribution of information in the faculties and all students in the institutions.
 

Mission statement 

To set up a college website that will ensure commitment in online student learning support by launching 24/7 campus website portal that captures and uses students biometrics to ensure transparency, quality, and credible online studying platform.

Target market

The targeted organizations in this business venture are some local institutions that have not yet adopted online classes fully. Also, this idea will be great boost to those who have already initiated the program through without advanced features such as the biometric section that increases answer the questions on the integrity of the service. The service will also provide the institution to admit a larger number of students from the community as the technology offers them a solution. The project will later be integrated to suit well for companies in other industries after full adoption in the institutions.

I have already made a few plans be implemented at the college hence the presence of the developed technical support team, a tech center, online registration of some students and services to students, training programs on how to access services such as classes, online library, and other more technological advancements.

The future advancement that I will incorporate to the main server and the portal is to extend the services from the education industry to the security sector of other organizations by introducing a sensor such that the people who approach the organization's entrance will be seen from several meters away. The tech will, therefore, inform the security personnel at the gate minutes before the person arrives. This will help improve the security of the organization as there will be enough time to act if the parties are termed as a hazard to the organization's security. 

Start-up Summary

To present the new portal to universities and colleges within the society, the project needs a biometric capturing device that will encourage the institutions to embrace it. As the owner of this project, I recommended that there was a need to present the web formation to the university committee that represents the entire institution from the administration, different schools (faculties) and students. The committee recommended that an evaluation of the effectiveness of the portal be carried out and provided a few inputs for selected students for providing inputs for design and features. The school committee has agreed to buy my idea if I come up with a full order for setting up the realistic plan. The start-up costs would involve labor and the product development; these two costs are highlighted in details under the cost analysis area of this business plan.

 

Products and services

  • The top benefits and features that the web will avail include;
  • Confirmation of user biometric information
  • Customizable user interface
  • Single password sign on
  • Wiki
  • Discussion board
  • Content and Document Management
  • Blogs
  • Outlook integration- campus E-mail, Class and work schedules
  • Web advisor integration- application, transcripts, orientation, financial help, grades, personal account information as well as all other necessary current web advisor functions.
  • Blackboard integration
  • Document sharing – easy access to files for collaboration, class documents and office documents for different faculties.

Market Analysis Summary

Distance learning and online education services continue to grow at an alarming rate at community colleges. Community colleges have been reporting a continuous increase in distance education enrolments in the past years. According to a survey released in 2014 at an annual meeting of the American Association of Community Colleges in Philadelphia, there an average increase of 18 percent in distance education. The survey on these community colleges and distance learning was in an annual report for the technology council which is an affiliate of the AACC (Drucker, 2014). It was by 150 community colleges that were selected from the possible sample frame.

However, the preceding years (i.e., 2014 and 2015) surveys show that most of this institutions did not have any possible methods for solving the issue of impersonation that was common among the students enrolled in online classes (Piva et.al, 2012). Most students from other surveys acknowledged that they would seek for help during the times of exams in the online platform and or when assignments were administered to them. There were also claims by students that some colleges were offering a few courses online compared to those at the institutions as well as program coverage (Stam, 2010). Majority of the colleges were offering degree programs online though they have no suitable way for making follow up activities towards their students (Callison and  Vestal, 2010).

The other challenge of offering online education that the colleges reported facing was the failure of college students to fill out course evaluations (Breugst et.al, 2012). Though this was not among the top challenges, it remains an issue not yet resolved and would affect the way people see the distance education system. Training professors have been a major issue for the institutions offering distance learning according to the reports from the surveys conducted (Shane, 2012). Over 60 percent of the professors in the surveyed institutions required a training of more than eight hours.

This was evident from the written responses that the professors gave with a lot of frustrations. Most of them claimed that the faculty was so occupied such that it could not have a chance to train them. They claimed to have little computer experience hence the difficulty in getting in line with the proposed changes due to the introduction of distance education (Baron et.al, 2011). They claimed to have no rich ideas on what can be accomplished in a well-designed distance education course.

However, my project, most of this challenges will be addressed as the web portal will be customized in such a way that there will be common information that can only be accessed by both the professors and students and another specific information (Morris et.al, 2010). This will be by the professor's faculty; the information will be only available on providing the server with the user password and the biometric details. There will also be sample attachments through video demonstrations that will show how one can use the web portal effectively to achieve the desired outcome (Samila and Sorenson, 2011). The students will also be getting the same content as those who are within the institution to ensure full coverage of course. Also, the web portal for each student will be customized into sessions and their specific time (Kuratko, 2009). This will aid in curbing class skipping by students as the sessions will be expiring after the stipulated period and if there were assignments submitted within that time.

 

SWOT Analysis

Every business venture has possible strengths and weaknesses (Onetti, 2012). The strengths should always be able to out-way the weakness and threats for any business to become successful in its operations. Those for the web portal am seeking for funds to launch it to colleges are enumerated below.

Strengths

  • Availing online services for students (Hsu & Ziedonis, 2008) such as application for online classes, counseling to student in the distance education program, registration sites, transcripts, class schedules, financial assistance, instructor evaluations and monitoring platform, and orientation of new students
  • Blackboard for the instructors
  • Number of sections/ courses offers online and their names
  • Professional development training and guidelines for instructors
  • Online annual student survey –for students to give the ratings and recommendations for the distance education web portal and the entire system.

Weaknesses

  • The online services are common in different areas and thus not all in one easily accessible place for students to find
  • Assessment is not done online for students. The assessment test is only available online for the colleges that adopt this type of customized web portal.
  • The technical support team is only available for a few hours and in low capacity, and there are numerous pathways students have to take to get the help they need, regardless of where they start looking for it.
  • There is no consistency as each faculty is independent on how it handles support matters.
  • Communicating with instructors is a major problem for many distance education sites. However, this has been resolved in my business idea as there is a provision for the section where the student interacts with the instructor at the end of the session to seek clarification on points where he or she did not get the point well.

Opportunities

  • Demand for classes is high
  • Gas prices are high hence most people prefer enrolling in online classes where they can save much as they do not require to travel
  • 100 percent guaranteed to get a degree through online class
  • Inform high schools of the online opportunities for online classes

Threats

  • The academic integrity of the online classes. This has however been addressed in this web by providing a sector for biometric information for every student to ensure that no one takes a student's place.
  • Perceived quality of instruction. This is addressed by the provision of training and other guidelines to the instructor in the web portal.
  • Funding/ state budget. The college needs capital to hire a full developed web portal that will operate within the country effectively.
  • Student technology. The level of technology of students may not be up to the standards where they can use the online platform for studying but for other irrelevant activities (Jackson, 2011). This is however addressed by this website in the sense that when the student diverts to other websites, his or her session will become inactive and thus risking the loss of marks in case an assignment is given.

From the above, it is evident that the strengths and the opportunities carry much weight compared to the weakness and threats as most of the drawbacks have been curbed by putting up standard measures in place.

 

Strategy and implementation

In line with the timeline I created together with the development committee, this idea needs a team of both MIS staff and computer support services to evaluate the suitability of the web portal to the institution and other organizations (Zahra and Nambisan, 2012). The implementing team lead by me would need to involve parties on colleges that would be affected by the launch of the product (Pinto & Blue, 2016). Instruction and student services will be needed to choose a timeframe that they feel would have little or no impact on their daily activities/ functions that students require on the Web advisor (Roure and Maidique, 2009).

Before the actual implementation, a test environment was established to assure that all parts and sections of the website are fully functioning before the launching of the portal. The project team also recommended that a student's panel to be assembled to check web portal and gather information on whether it functions well or not. Other areas that needed evaluation before the actual implementation were the board policy, technical support, user training, and security permissions (Bruton et.al, 2009). As the owner of the idea, it was my goal that all areas of the portal are well tested and examined before the release of the live web portal version to the campus community.

Strategy and Promotion

A crucial part of promoting the web portal is understanding the merits of products and services in any market environment. In every promotional advertisements and article, the importance and advantages of the new features of the customized features will be critically emphasized (Overholm, 2015). The benefits that originate from the advantages will as well be put the emphasis. Students look for certain benefits that have been addressed by this portal. These include saving money, gaining comfort, saving time, lowering costs and many others. The service and promotion strategy of this web portal is all about the benefits that it presents to the users.

Marketing strategies

Mailing the college class schedule with simple instructions on how to use the web portal

Marketing flyers and pamphlets at senior centers

Promotion of online learning activities through other departments such as; admissions and records, career services and community education.

Management summary

The portal will be implemented by a committee from the college where I will be the team leader. There will need to represent other different areas of the campus in this committee. There will be some students, staff, and Management Information Systems (MIS) who I involved to confirm the suitability of my idea.

The portal is a Datatel product, known as Active Campus Portal. Therefore, we will require support from Datatel and MIS to aid me in making this product a success. Nevertheless, the portal interacts with the campus calendar, networks, servers and various departments. Thus, I will need IT support throughout the lifetime of this product.

This idea requires a lot of capital to commercialize it to a wide range of institution and other organizations. In return, it is a promising business venture as it will plow back the invested capital within a short span of time since many institutions are will to buy it.

Cost Analysis

Software

Intern

Cost ($)

Datatel Student Portal license

30,000

Yearly maintenance

3500

Hardware

Database server

10,000

Indexing server

5000

Share point servers

15,000

Staffing costs

Full time staff

40,000

 

References

Baron, R.A. and Tang, J., 2011. The role of entrepreneurs in firm-level innovation: Joint effects of positive affect, creativity, and environmental dynamism. Journal of Business Venturing, 26(1), pp.49-60.

Breugst, N., Domurath, A., Patzelt, H. and Klaukien, A., 2012. Perceptions of entrepreneurial passion and employees' commitment to entrepreneurial ventures. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 36(1), pp.171-192.

Bruton, G.D., Ahlstrom, D. and Puky, T., 2009. Institutional differences and the development of entrepreneurial ventures: A comparison of the venture capital industries in Latin America and Asia. Journal of International Business Studies, 40(5), pp.762-778.

Callison, J.W. and Vestal, A.W., 2010. The L3C Illusion: Why Low-Profit Limited Liability Companies Will Not Stimulate Socially Optimal Private Foundation Investment in Entrepreneurial Ventures. Vt. L. Rev., 35, p.273.

Drucker, P., 2014. Innovation and entrepreneurship. Routledge.

Hsu, D.H. and Ziedonis, R.H., 2008, August.Patents As Quality Signals For Entrepreneurial Ventures. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2008, No. 1, pp. 1-6). Academy of Management.

Jackson, D.J., 2011. What is an innovation ecosystem. National Science Foundation, 1.

Kuratko, D.F., 2009. Introduction to entrepreneurship. Australia and UK: South-Western.

Morris, M.H., Kuratko, D.F. and Covin, J.G., 2010. Corporate entrepreneurship & innovation. Cengage Learning.

Onetti, A., Zucchella, A., Jones, M.V. and McDougall-Covin, P.P., 2012. Internationalization, innovation and entrepreneurship: business models for new technology-based firms. Journal of Management & Governance, 16(3), pp.337-368.

Overholm, H., 2015. Collectively created opportunities in emerging ecosystems: the case of solar service ventures. Technovation, 39, pp.14-25.

Pinto, L.E. and Blue, L.E., 2016. Pushing the entrepreneurial prodigy: Canadian Aboriginal entrepreneurship education initiatives. Critical Studies in Education, 57(3), pp.358-375.

Piva, E., Rentocchini, F. and Rossi?Lamastra, C., 2012. Is open source software about innovation? Collaborations with the open source community and innovation performance of software entrepreneurial ventures. Journal of Small Business Management, 50(2), pp.340-364.

Ries, E., 2011. The lean startup: How today's entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses. Crown Books.

Roure, J.B. and Maidique, M.A., 2009. Linking prefunding factors and high-technology venture success: An exploratory study. Journal of Business Venturing, 1(3), pp.295-306.

Samila, S. and Sorenson, O., 2011. Venture capital, entrepreneurship, and economic growth. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 93(1), pp.338-349.

Schwienbacher, A. and Larralde, B., 2010. Crowdfunding of small entrepreneurial ventures.

Shane, S., 2012. The importance of angel investing in financing the growth of entrepreneurial ventures. The Quarterly Journal of Finance, 2(02), p.1250009.

Stam, W., 2010. Industry event participation and network brokerage among entrepreneurial ventures. Journal of Management Studies, 47(4), pp.625-653.

Zahra, S.A. and Nambisan, S., 2012. Entrepreneurship and strategic thinking in business ecosystems. Business horizons, 55(3), pp.219-229.

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