The landscape of entrepreneurs attempting to secure a place in the K-12 market and bring new products and services into schools is a crowded one. Some of those new ideas will succeed. Many will fail. How can the creators of startup companies and other ventures increase the odds that their ideas will take hold and end up in classrooms?
Now, a Silicon Valley-based provider of “MOOCs,” NovoEd, has released an online curriculum intended to provide owners of fledgling businesses in education and other fields with the kind of direction meant to get the ball rolling. NovoEd is offering a lineup of free and for-cost classes covering topics such as securing startup money and what it takes to direct a new company.
While the courses aren’t targeted at school-focused startups in particular, many of the materials put forward will be of use to entrepreneurs interested in working in those environments, the company predicts.
MOOCs, or massive, open, online courses, are receiving tons of attention in the world of education these days, including in the K-12 sphere, as evidenced by Coursera’s efforts to offer courses focused on teacher training.
To date, many MOOCs have been offered for free—leading some to question their long-term financial viability. Some of NovoEd’s new courses will be offered for free, while others come with a price. The list of free offerings covers issues such as seeking financing for new ventures, and technology entrepreneurship. A course on how to make company pitches costs $149, as does one on raising startup capital. A class on lessons for new CEOs (taught by a CEO) is $249. Another, “Venture Capital 101,” costs $999.
The list of instructors leading the courses includes faculty and staff from Stanford University; the University of California, San Francisco; Babson College; and the Kauffman Fellows Academy, among others.
One of NovoEd’s goals is to provide resources for potential entrepreneurs who don’t live in traditional hubs known for spawning startups, like New York City and Silicon Valley, said Anne Trumbore, NovoEd’s senior course designer.
Traditionally, launching startups “has been very geographically restricted,” Trumbore said. “There’s no reason you should have to change locations to start something.”
NovoEd’s model for delivering online content places an emphasis on fostering interaction among students, so they can communicate with others using the company’s platform.
Students using the system can have private conversations with their class peers, form teams with other students, and create shared workspaces in which they can collaborate, Trumbore said.
It’s worth noting that higher education institutions, independent of the MOOC world, have taken a growing interest in promoting entrepreneurship in education.
As Education Week has reported, a bunch of universities have established individual courses or entire academic programs focused on helping cultivate innovators in education who have skills in technology and other areas—and an understanding of how schools actually function.