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Thought Leaders in Online Education: Mike Pellerin, Director, Enterasys University (Extreme Networks) (Part 4)

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 14th 2014

Sramana Mitra: So what you are talking about is the student curriculum development including knowledge, talking about localization. Is it a strategy of Extreme Networks? It sounded like you have a lot of budgets to work with. Why is Extreme Network trying to nail the common educational publisher?

Higher educational publishing are dominated by three players, McGraw Hill, Pearson, and Cengage. And these three players cater to one or the other in different ways. They have different natures. They control more of higher education business. They specialize more in engineering, tax, and engineering publishing materials. They are moving towards digital publishing and in a sense, it is their job to think about how they are going to provide more digital publishing material. Also, they already have the relationships with the universities so on and so forth. Now, here comes Extreme Networks starting to provide educational publishing materials and digital educational content. What is the business thinking and how do you plan to cope with navigating the business angle of this?

Mike Pellerin: We already have a lot of the material on the topic that we are building a course on. It’s not like we’re going to spend a lot of cycles to build something new. We might deliver it a little differently compared to the professional courses. For instance, in our wireless course, all we did was to capture and put it in a different format, and then create the interactions. It didn’t involve much back-end cost. On the flip side, not only is it targeting universities and their students but also existing employees in a company, who after their university studies, want to learn about a new technology. Our material is not about trying to drive some brand awareness. We are vendor neutral and that makes it easier for people to consume our material because we are not delivering or beating on our chess game that an Extreme switch works like this. That is not important. What is important is that students regardless of their academic qualification understand the fundamental mechanics of these technologies and are able to make easier, better, educated decisions. It goes back to the culture of our company and is one of our ways to give back.

Sramana Mitra: You said Extreme Networks sells a lot of equipment in the higher-ed market.

Mike Pellerin: That’s correct. It’s part of our way to give back to some of our customers and perhaps influence buying decisions in the future as well as help future IT decision makers. It’s not about what we have built, it’s about why we do what we do.

Sramana Mitra: Now I understand. Is that the reason why you are going into the institution direction because that is your customer base for your equipment? You sent a lot of equipment to the universities and college market. That’s the driver for this whole effort into working with the university. I still maintain what I told you from your company’s point of view. The networking equipment buying decision is made by the Chief Information Officer. However, curriculum materials decision is not made by the Chief Information Officer of any university or school.

Mike Pellerin: That is correct. The decisions are definitely made by the academic world.

Sramana Mitra: What threw me off here is that you kind of start it by saying that you are selling curriculum material MOOC into the universities. That is not what you are doing.

Mike Pellerin: No.


This segment is part 4 in the series : Thought Leaders in Online Education: Mike Pellerin, Director, Enterasys University (Extreme Networks)
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