ETEC 522 Ventures

Author: Michele Brannon-Hamilton

ETEC 522 Business Boot Camp

ETEC 522 covered business ventures relating to education technology. The most interesting aspect of this course was that the course took place on a blog instead of in Vista.
While getting familiar with the site, we introduced ourselves by creating profiles with avatar. I found these visual images helped personalize the course.

ETEC 522 weblog link

Initially, there was a steep learning curve as I learned to navigate the site and read the course content. Although we were given clear instructions, I had to learn how to use tags and categories in order to stay organized. My first great challenge was keeping up with the posts. After asking for help, I tried Google Reader to help me filter out the messages I’d read. It soon became apparent that the reader filtered out the messages in the order they were posted, not by category and as a linear thinker I found this confusing. Therefore, I abandoned the reader and decided to rely on tags instead. By keeping track of the new topics added to the discussion, I was able to use the tags to find the threads I was interested in reading and quickly read through any messages I had missed. Tags also helped me organize my own material for future reference.

Another hurdle I had to overcome was learning the business terminology needed to understand the course content. I wondered early on if I should drop the course because I was unfamiliar with the content, the language and the platform. However, I preserved and ended up with one of my highest marks as well as a great respect for the topic because I now understand how to determine if an educational technology venture is financially worthwhile or not. I believe this knowledge will give me an edge in the job market because I am now able to assist a company or educational institution in deciding if implementing educational technology will be financially worthwhile.

In this course, I learned that an Educational Venture Analyst (EVA) is someone who analyzes a venture to see if it is viable. We were given assessment tools and strategies to help us determine which ventures were likely to succeed and which were not. From this task we would learn how to analyze our own ventures and those presented to us with a critical eye. I would best compare this course to the television show Dragon’s Den.

First, we analyzed elevator pitches from a pitch pool for content and effectiveness. I learned that pitches can entice people to buy a product or invest in a company. However, by reviewing pitches with a critical eye using tools and strategies, we can determine which ventures would be worthwhile investments beyond the initial glitter.

Next, we did a CUBE analysis of an elearning company or product. Basically, this type of analysis looks beyond the surface to other aspects or sides of a venture such as the buyer, the market and future potential. I was able to understand viability better by looking at several criteria.

Our first assignment was to analyze a venture using the tools we were given. I chose to analyze a product called the Livescribe Pulse Pen to determine if there was investment value beyond the initial purchase. I chose this product because students at my college use it for learning disabilities and I wondered if I should recommend it to more people. My analysis determined it is a worthwhile product which is why I chose to include my analysis as an artifact.
Venture Analysis for the Livescribe Pulse Pen

Our second assignment was a group project analyzing an emerging market. Our group chose to investigate collaborative environments, specifically Google Docs and Google Sites, to determine their current uses, features, advantages, disadvantages and future potential. We used the UBC wiki to present our information: Collaborative Environments

For assignment 3, I chose to turn my investigation of the Livescribe Pulse Pen into a venture pitch for the product because I felt the product was worthy of further investment. Writing with a sales tone, I enticed investors to invest in this worthwhile product by outlining how the Pulse Pen would change the way students learn with its revolutionary technology. I chose to include this assignment as an artifact because it demonstrates my writing skills and creative ability.
Venture Pitch for the Livescribe Pulse Pen

Assignment 4 was an interesting self reflection in which we explained how we contributed to the class discussion and course development. It gave us a chance to review all our course contributions to determine which were most useful.

Overall, this course took me out of my comfort zone into the business world of educational technology. Looking back, I can understand why it was deemed to be a business boot camp. I’m proud of my determination to stay with this challenging course and grateful for the unique information I learned. I developed the skills to analyze ventures, markets and learning technologies which I will use in the future when determining if purchases or investments are worthwhile.

Elevator Pitch on PhotoPeach


Venture Analysis for the Livescribe Pulse Pen
Collaborative Environments
Venture Pitch for the Livescribe Pulse Pen