Sramana Mitra: What you are doing is that you are selling equipment to the universities. And you have a lot of curriculum material, which you have packaged up into MOOC and then, you are letting students use it. In case, they express some interest in using those digital curriculum materials, colleges and universities might want to incorporate it into their courses. This is what’s going on here.
Mike Pellerin: Yes. However, some of the schools that have recommended our MOOC material to the students are not existing customers. It was truly done on the academic side only. We have no relationship on the business side.
Sramana Mitra: And how did that come about?
Mike Pellerin: Twitter is a powerful medium. The first person we worked with was Phil Komarny. Our post on Top Social CIOs in higher education ranks Phil the No.1 social CIO. He promoted it to the students of his school as well as the academic side and then it just spread through word of mouth. We have also added a gaming angle to make it exciting. There are questions interwoven into the course material and the person who gets the highest score at the end of the semester wins an iPod mini.
Sramana Mitra: Which school is Phil Komarny from?
Mike Pellerin: Phil is the CIO for the Seaton Hill University.
Sramana Mitra: So basically, you have a university CIO that tweeted into this seasoned body and that’s how they got some visibility, then the professor got interested and that’s how this relationship came about.
Mike Pellerin: Correct.
Sramana Mitra: So it’s basically social media. It’s not a big social cycle. It’s not that you’re pushing or trying to form your course curriculum into an academic institution. It’s basically happening organically and it is a fine kind of thing.
Mike Pellerin: I couldn’t have said it better.
Sramana Mitra: It’s interesting to see how much of this kind of organic adoption of networking is in the computer science. The professor is trying to teach a good networking course. I wonder how many kinds of adoption could happen in the next 2 or 3 years’ time frame. As I have discussed, there is obviously a push back but there is also a need for cutting edge material. I have been talking to a variety of different higher-ed industry people and there’s obviously a need for cutting edge content to teach materials that are not currently in the universities.