This is the third project update for my project “Digitally Literate Courses” as part of the One Side Project challenge. In my first update, I identified the focus and goals of this work. In my second update, I discussed some of my thinking about the pricing plan of the courses. In this post I will discuss my work and thinking over the last month.
I’m writing and sharing this in public on these posts as a means to document my thinking over time, and obtain feedback on decisions as I make them. Please feel free to push back, and identify possible options.
Best startups come from somebody needed to scratch an itch. – Michael Arrington
As I started working through the organization and business plan for this set of courses, I had in the back of my mind “the best possible way that this would work.” I saw an itch that needed to be scratched and believed that this had the potential to scratch it.
This first came from my own lessons learned as I built up my digital identity. I then recognized others that were also striving to head down the same path, but needed actionable, granular advice. Through the development of a series of classes, I could provide a space where they could work through these materials, with the guidance and camaraderie needed as a support mechanism.
Then I lost my way.
Revising your vision
Entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create. – David Karp
Over the past month, I’ve made some enormous leaps and bounds as I’ve regained confidence in the original plan. The honest truth is that I was motivated and found someone else that was also having these same ideas. As I would share bits and pieces of this initiative with a select few, I’d gather advice and feedback. I’d continue to revise and modify, and water down my plans as I’d hear from others. Consistently the plan was reduced to a fraction of what it could and should be.
Serendipitously, I reached out to friend whose work I value. I had a basic question about the naming of this project and shared some details about what I was scheming. It turns out that she was also framing out the “next step” in her mind. We jumped on a Skype call and almost at the same time shouted that we had crazy ideas that we think might work…but, we feel crazy because no one else is having them.
Over the past month we’ve been strategizing and coming back to the original, correct path.
Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard. – Guy Kawasaki
Here’s what we learned over the past month about this project.
First, it won’t be called the Digitally Literate Courses. Too constrictive. We do have a name, something that allows more breathing room. The name is forthcoming.
Second, we’re developing a mastermind group. This group will focus and develop the materials for the courses. We’ll share and promote each other’s brands. We’ll collectively and collaboratively support, motivate, and critique one another. Right now, I’m a we…this team is comprised of the two of us. Over the coming months/years, we’ll look for people that might be on the same wavelength. We have a couple ideas of possibilities. We have a lot of ideas for people that definitely won’t fit. We need a small nest egg of people that will make this happen.
Third, we’re developing a series of courses…a “school.” The honest truth is that most of these words that we choose constrain and limit our ideas. But, the best way to describe what we’ll build is first a course, and then a program of courses. The courses (and resultant program) will all focus on building the digital literacies and skills needed by educators in elementary up through higher education. We’ll start with a free course that helps learners consider what they want to become, and help them start up a website/blog. This will be the starting point for the sequence of upcoming courses.
Fourth, in the last post, I identified a possible pricing plan for the courses. We will most closely follow the model identified by the altMBA program. The initial course and work completed for free will be part of an “application” needed to enroll in the future courses. We want to make sure we get the right students in the program. We want people that are motivated and want to learn. In turn, they’ll join a network of other likeminded people who are all building, editing, and revising their skill sets. After being selected for the program, students will work their way through a series of courses, and pop-up modules or extras. The structure of the program, courses and pop-up modules will be in a forthcoming post.
Finally, to make this all happen, we’re moving on a couple of fronts. First, we’re building and fine-tuning our brand and audience. The two of us currently in the mastermind group (and any new members) will clean up their blogs, newsletters, podcasts, etc. We’ll start offering webinars and connecting with one another on a regular basis to develop and extend our audiences. We’ll start utilizing online ads to target this audience. At the same time this is happening, we’re investigating WordPress and Drupal to see what is the better fit for this online program.
I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur before I started this. I just like to build things. – Andrew Mason
In the next project update, we hope to have more info on the structure of the program, courses, and extras. We’ll have more info on the platform we’ll use to build this initiative. We will also continue to learn a ton about marketing, building an online audience, and scratching itches. We will not included this information in these updates, but you will be able to find this work on our blogs and other work.
Finally, we would really appreciate your feedback and response to this. In the start of this post I indicated the challenges that occur as we share out and float ideas. If you see something in this posts that resonates with you, please share your ideas. If this really connects with you, please get in touch. If you want/need these courses..we’re coming. 🙂
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Also published on Medium.