ExtensionEngine Blog

Create amazing online learning with no headaches and no revenue sharing

We help organizations create online learning experiences with no headaches and no revenue sharing. We are not an OPM provider (such as 2U) because we are not in the business of running your admissions program or sharing your revenue...but we do make your visions of an amazing online program …come true on a fee-for-service basis. In the following I describe what specific skills we bring to the table, what gets delivered at the end of our projects, how it gets delivered, and why someone chooses to contract with us.

Components of our service offering

  • A Project Manager (PM) will take care of ensuring your project is delivered on-time and on-budget. He/she will be your single point of contact when you need to talk about your project or when you are getting our periodic (usually weekly) status updates.
  • An Instructional Design (ID) team will guide you through all the decisions that have to be made to make the course reach your learning objectives while fitting in with the restrictions of the overall degree or program.
  • A User Experience (UX) professional will make sure that the site both looks good and has great ease of use.
  • Included in both of the above, we can take you through the whole video process as well, from writing to recording to editing, all at a quality that you are comfortable with that also fits into your budget.
  • More than 150 Software Engineers (SE) who have experience with many different tech stacks and how to integrate them around an edX or Open edX installation.
  • Around 25 Quality Assurance (QA) professionals ensure that the code that we deliver works and does what we promised that it would do.

What gets delivered

We have experience working with subject matter experts (SMEs) from elite higher education institutions, non-profits, and industry — Harvard, MIT, Smithsonian Museums, Microsoft, and Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson) count themselves among our strong client list. We have implemented courses and programs that are fully online, blended, based on adaptive learning, or competency-based. We do not have a product so you can rely on us for unbiased recommendations from across the edtech landscape. Our team specializes in working with the client’s team (ID, UX, & SE) and in delivering a seamlessly integrated final deliverable into a client’s tech stack.

How it gets delivered

The first stage of working with an organization is the discovery phase, generally 3-6 weeks during which we conduct interviews and construct a project plan that specifies budget, required resources (for both the client and ExtensionEngine), timeline, and features, content, and possible pedagogies for the final deliverable. Given the complexity and importance of this stage, it is probably no surprise that it costs generally about $10k/week — the more complicated or innovative the project (either from a technical, pedagogical, or political standpoint), the longer this stage will be.

After this we get into the details of defining an overall plan and design for the project. This is a collaborative process at a level at which the client is comfortable. If the client has a team of ID, UX, SMEs on staff, then we work with them; if not, then we’re comfortable taking the lead on any of them.

During the whole project, we use the agile methodology and keep the project status and budget highly available so that clients can feel comfortable that the project is progressing appropriately. Our goal is for clients to understand what we’re doing, how and why we’re spending money, and what we’ve accomplished. We establish periodic meetings between the project manager and the client’s point person in order to maintain lines of communication.

The process of creating the code base for the project and integrating it into the client’s tech stack can take months. Fortunately, we are constantly in contact with the client so that the client’s expectations are constantly updated and corrected while the decisions that we make are continually scrutinized and subject to feedback/corrections. During this process we are not only writing the code for the project, but we are also connecting our deliverable into the client’s tech stack, possibly including an SIS (student information system), employee login system, or HR/skills management system. As we near the end of the development stage, we are writing less code but have increased the QA process, testing the code against the requirements that we set out at the beginning.

After we deliver the project and it goes live, we then provide service to the extent that is demanded — it might be any of the following at whatever level your organization needs:

  • Hosting, support and maintenance up to 24x7x365
  • Course and platform operations
  • Scaling and expanding the platform
  • Creating additional content
  • Training and transfer of knowledge

Why clients choose us

We have a couple of typical types of clients. At the core they all want to work with the best vendor in the business, one that has a broad range of capabilities, and that delivers on time and on budget. Beyond that, it might be that the client does not have staff in-house to deliver an online course such as this, but they still have the need for a high quality and/or high visibility course up-and-running in a timely manner. The other typical client already has large in-house groups in the IT and online learning departments but they do not want to hire additional FTEs for the variable staffing demand imposed by the production of such a course.

Our clients originally chose us because they want to solve an organizational problem of some type, and we can make that problem go away. We reliably, on-time and on-budget, create courses that deliver the organizational outcomes that the world's best organizations demand. We can do it for you, too.