Sramana Mitra: What we hear from people is that the flexibility of the web self-service mode curriculum is very attractive to them because it’s something that they can do at their own time. Many of our entrepreneurs are practicing entrepreneurs. They will do the curriculum at their own time. In any case, the flexibility is very attractive. I imagine that is the case in your audience as well because they are working professionals. But there are now technologies to do interactive stuff online as well with actual instructors. That brings the online teaching experience full circle.
Kurt Kirstein: What we’re doing in many cases is we’re using Blackboard as our Learning Management System (LMS). Blackboard acquired, a few years back, a company called Illuminate which does video conferencing. In their most recent version, they have incorporated Blackboard directly into the LMS so that every course that we create has the ability to do direct one-on-one video conferencing, classes and presentations. It’s a very useful tool.
We’ve actually set up classes for credit and continuing education classes with large companies here in the area where we require students to log on at 2 o’clock, Wednesday. They log on to the Blackboard Collaborate session and they hear this week’s lecture. It’s a one-hour lecture and it’s supplemented by all of the materials that are built into the asynchronous part of the course so that they can do all those pieces at 3 o’clock in the morning if they want. They do have that one requirement where they have to get in and listen to that lecture. It restores that piece that has been missing in online education.
Sramana Mitra: The other thing we do which I imagine Blackboard probably has an equivalent of is every single interactive session is recorded and published. The free ones that we do are published on our YouTube channel. The private ones that we do are published on our premium lounge.
Kurt Kirstein: Blackboard Collaborate has an option for you to be able to turn on record. There’s even a female voice that comes on that reminds you to turn on record so that we won’t forget. I’m famous for forgetting to record the session. Once we record the session, that recording can be posted and accessed shortly after the session concludes and anybody who couldn’t make the live session can view the recorded session. Often, when I record sessions and view them, I almost forget that I am in a recorded session because the quality is so good.