Assignment 1 Sarah Rowe

February 24, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: History, European History, Renaissance (1330-1550), Feudalism
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IntegralCALC Academy An analysis of a new venture promoting a unique approach to learning calculus and other mathematics topics, combining one-on-one tutoring, self-directed learning, and community-based support.

To fulfill the requirements of Assignment 1 for ETEC 522 – Ventures in Learning Technology By Sarah Rowe 23553100 For David Vogt and David Porter

Contents User Experience ................................................................................................................... 2 Founder and Team ............................................................................................................ 2 Site History and Overview .................................................................................................. 2 Content ........................................................................................................................... 2 Video Tutorials: ............................................................................................................. 2 Downloads: ................................................................................................................... 2 Assessment: .................................................................................................................. 2 Community and Support: ................................................................................................ 2 Points/Path System: ....................................................................................................... 3 Cost to the User ................................................................................................................ 3 Screenshots ..................................................................................................................... 4 Market ................................................................................................................................ 5 Market Size: .................................................................................................................. 5 Competition: ................................................................................................................. 5 Positioning: ................................................................................................................... 6 Overall Impression ............................................................................................................... 6 References .......................................................................................................................... 8

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User Experience Founder and Team The main focus of integralCALC Academy (http://integralcalc.com) is to “be more like a tutor than a professor, focusing on how to solve calculus problems, and their practical applications, rather than proofs and technical theory” (integralCALC Academy, 2013). As such, the founder and primary tutor of integralCALC Academy is Krista King, a Notre Dame graduate who has been tutoring in the field of mathematics (most specifically, calculus) for over 10 years. Rather than employing Ph.D.-educated professors, integralCALC Academy tries to give users a more hands-on approach – that is, the tools needed to pass assignments, tests, or exams – rather than a theoretical or inquiry-based approach that may be more suitable for those pursuing graduate-level education in mathematics. Due to IntegralCALC’s very recent launch, there are no additional team members on board as of yet. IntegralCALC does boast a community of discussion moderators that assist students with realtime questions or problems, but they are not listed as a venture support team.

Site History and Overview IntegralCALC was originally started as a YouTube channel, providing free video tutorials in 2009. A more extensive course list and additional features were launched in 2013 as integralCALC Academy. There, users are able to access video tutorials for a variety of courses (series of videos and other content that address a central idea of calculus), download course materials, and track their learning as they progress through each available course. Two basic courses are also available on Udemy.com for a reduced, non-subscription fee.

Content Video Tutorials: IntegralCALC expands upon the free YouTube video series with in-depth explanations and worked problems, narrated/taught by founder King. In a sample course there are 29 videos that are accompanied by other forms of media (Figure 3).

Downloads: Downloadable content includes course notes (that apply to the particular course), formula sheets, and practice exams (Figure 4).

Assessment: Short quizzes (typically 2-5 multiple choice questions) to allow the user to test knowledge learned in the current section (called the step) of the course.

Community and Support: Similar to large-scale CMS such as Blackboard and WebCT, IntegralCALC Academy allows users to see who is enrolled in their course and communicate with them and the teacher (at this stage, the only teacher/tutor is King). Through the points/path system (described below) users can display their progress and see the progress of others (Figure 5). Each step of the course also has a discussion board to foster collaborative learning. The course moderator and tutor, as well as students, have the opportunity to post discussion items on the general course discussion board, as well as content-specific questions for each specific course item.

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Students have the opportunity to communicate with their course moderator/tutor through email as well. An unprompted email is sent to all users within 5 days of course registration to check on their progress and identify any questions or concerns as the course progresses. Students are free to reply to the email or send a help request through email at any time during a course from the site. Frequently Asked Questions are listed in a convenient place to help students with site usage and subscription management – these are not content-related.

Points/Path System: In order to help students chose the correct sequence (path) of learning (although at any time the user may skip or go back to a step), a points system is employed. When the user has completed a step, such as watching a video on a topic or downloading/reading course notes, he or she is given a predetermined number of points. These points are displayed on the community board and are used toward the total point value of the course, which varies depending on length. The completion of a step, and thus the points value, can be reset at any time to allow the user to retry or rewatch the step.

Cost to the User Two free, MOOC (massively open online course)-style courses are available to any registered IntegralCALC Academy user (registration is free). The first course (Academy 101) offers an introduction to the site itself, including navigation (through the site and through individual courses) and account management. The PreCalculus Global course offers a quick set of lessons to refresh basic mathematics skills such as evaluating functions and using trigonometry, which are essential to understanding calculus. The subscription-based model has a $27/month fee. For the fee, users are able to access all content on integralCALC Academy at any time via the web. No long-term subscription is required – cancellation is available at any time. King has also made two popular courses available on Udemy.com, available for unlimited viewing with a non-subscription-based plan for $9 per course. Another option for users at a teacher or school administrator level is to purchase a school-wide subscription. A per user group monthly fee (from 1-50 students to 250-1000 students) ranging from $99/month to $999/month for the largest number of subscribers allows any student from the school to access any of the Academy’s courses at any time while the subscription is active. Teachers also have the opportunity to add their own course content for their students and monitor progress with special moderator privileges.

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Screenshots

Figure 1: The home page of integralCALC.com, featuring a number of courses.

Figure 2: The main course screen for PreCalculus, a free course on integralCALC.com.

Figure 3: A video tutorial for PreCalculus, featuring founder and tutor Krista King.

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Figure 4: A sample download - a formula sheet for the PreCalculus course.

Figure 5: The PreCalculus course community screen.

Market Market Size: Because of its company mission, integralCALC.com stands to make headway into the private tutoring and online tutoring market. The K-12 private tutoring market (in the United States) in 2005-2006 totalled $2.23 billion US, with a forecast of $2.5 billion US by 2008 (Eduventures, 2007). Of that, it is estimated that 5% of the market includes online tutoring. Since the 2007 report by Eduventures, the US private tutoring market has reached an estimate of $8 billion US (Cronenweth, 2011) and online tutoring sites could hold as much as 25% of that market share. The IntegralCALC Academy does have a smaller market segment to target due to its focus on senior secondary and first-or-second year mathematics topics, rather than a larger set of kK-12 subjects.

Competition: IntegralCALC.com faces competition from other popular course delivery sites and mathematics tutoring sites.

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Udemy.com allows users to create and sell their own custom courses, ranging from photography to physics. Enrollment fees depend on the price set by the individual course creator, and a percentage of the fee is paid to Udemy. IntegralCALC has two basic courses available on Udemy for a reduced fee. Other calculus courses on Udemy may pose some competition, but they do not offer the interactive community featured by integralCALC. Coursera.com offers free online academic and interest-based courses from accredited educational institutions. Only six courses are available under the “calculus” search term and none offer advanced calculus topics such as differential equations (which is available on integralCALC.com). Khanacademy.com is perhaps one of the most widely known mathematics and science education sites today, with about 2 million viewers per month in 2011 (Thompson, 2011). The site offers a multitude of free videos about numerous math and science topics, including over 200 videos on calculus topics, although there are some interactive opportunities through which students can ask questions and discuss videos (via Community Questions discussion boards).

Positioning: IntegralCALC does much to position itself in its fairly small market segment. The semi-tiered individual subscription model (try some courses for free, pay for a subscription later) allows users more opportunity to evaluate integralCALC before paying (unlike competing Udemy courses) while keeping quality, currency, and support levels high (which may or may not be the case for Coursera courses if they are not updated frequently). Care.com lists average private tutoring prices (in USD for United States-based tutors). These can range from as little as $20-$50 per session for an online tutor, or as much as $75 for an in-person session with a certified teacher (Care.com, n.d.). IntegralCALC Academy offers a great deal of value for a manageable fee. The value of social constructivism in the integralCALC.com community as well as the potential for unlimited communication with the class tutor via discussion postings or email can make integralCALC a more affordable option for a student, particularly if faced with additional financial pressures such as paying for post-secondary education.

Overall Impression As an employee of a major Canadian educational publisher (most recently in the K-12 mathematics department), I often hear that math teachers in Canada’s public school systems are faced with a number of challenges. The first is teachers’ overall lack of time to plan remedial lessons and to work one-on-one with students. In a particularly difficult course like Calculus and Vectors (Ontario course) that is also extremely important for students wishing to pursue science, technology, and engineering studies in university, integralCALC.com can fulfill a need. Teachers can purchase a school subscription to allow their calculus students to obtain extra help in areas of difficulty, or students themselves can register and subscribe. The second challenge that is nearly universal to teachers in the public school system is the lack of funding. K-12 curricula are regularly revised, and thus, require new resources (textbooks and teachers’ editions) to correspond to the new material. Often school boards are unable or unwilling to make a major textbook adoption when new curriculum guidelines are released, due to the expense. Many teachers have also communicated (through market focus groups and other feedback meetings) that these new editions often have large sections of text where the

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instructional design can be lacking. Thus, teachers often pick and choose items from their own personal material, other textbooks, or the Internet. IntegralCALC.com provides them with more affordable access to quality calculus resources and is more reliable than some free sources online. The only major problem I foresee for this venture is the very small size of the advisory team and/or tutoring staff. Run solely by King at this time, the real risk involved in this venture is the possibility that King may or may not be available and able to respond promptly to student question, decreasing the value-added proposition that integralCALC.com has over its competition. Although the community discussion boards can fill in for an urgent matter, expansion of the tutoring staff would alleviate this problem. As a small mathematics venture, integralCALC.com has potential for targeting a niche in the private/online tutoring market. Like many of its competitors, this company targets individual mathematics learning. However, its specific focus on entry-level calculus and its community-based and individualized one-on-one support allows it to stand out in the market. Some users may initially hesitate to register with the Academy due to its per-month subscription fee, but a comparison to average private tutoring rates and the ability to cancel at any time (e.g., after a course or exam has been completed) means integralCALC.com can hold a great deal of value for a user for the duration of their subscription.

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References Care.com. (n.d.). The tutor guide: Tutoring Fees. Retrieved from http://www.care.com/tutoringtutoring-fees-p1145-q3356.html October 1, 2013. Cronenweth, S. (2011). Global private tutoring market continues strong growth. Socrato.com. Retrieved from http://blog.socrato.com/global-private-tutoring-market-continues-stronggrowth/, October 1, 2013. Eduventures. (2007). Instruction for hire: A survey of the private tutoring market. Retrieved from http://eia.memberclicks.net/assets/2007%20k12_private_tutoring.pdf, September 26, 2013. integralCALC Academy. (2013). About integralCALC.com. Retrieved from http://integralcalc.pathwright.com/support/, September 25, 2013. Thompson, C. (2011). How Khan Academy is changing the rules of education. Wired Digital. July 15, 2011. Retreived from http://resources.rosettastone.com/CDN/us/pdfs/K12/Wired_KhanAcademy.pdf, October 1, 2013.

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