E-business has become a burgeoning field of interaction. Technology breakthroughs have enabled a virtual global market where nearly anyone can offer their wares to an ever-expanding market. Covered within the text are various business models that exist today. They include: Brokerage Model; Advertising Model; Infomediary Model; Merchant Model Virtual; Manufacturer Model; Affiliate Model; Community Model; Subscription Model; and the Utility Model. For the purpose of this paper a hybrid model will be the focus of discussion, delving into the realms of evolving educational delivery systems made possible through e-business.
Community Technology Centers
A Community Technology Center (CTC) is where people get free or low-cost access to computers and computer-related technology, such as the Internet, together with learning opportunities that encourage exploration and discovery. CTCs also provide low-income areas with job-development opportunities, access to social service information, community outreach programs, and the ability to create collaborative alliances with public and private organizations as well as other community members.
Current management philosophy calls for empowering organized skills sets toward completion of goals and objectives. The ‘No Child Left Behind’ scenario invites the community to reclaim their youth through a reformation of social consciousness. Collaborative alliances share responsibility and capitalize on effective use of time, materials, and resources in meeting collective goals. Partnerships create shared ownership of vision and distribute responsibility of task completion in the achievement of the mission, utilizing both click and brick assets. Socially responsible action in creating low-cost solutions for educational content and delivery to the end user creates community utility. Strategic use of performance measurement improves key areas of management concerns, such as resource allocation, organizational learning, internal processes, and external accountability. Sharing resources empowers synergistic capacity building of each participant and strengthens overall performance.
Web-based Delivery Systems
The area of click vs. brick creates utility through the effective use of communication networks and the availability of curriculum bundles for youth and adult learners. Bundles contain a group of programs selected to cover a wide variety of teaching activities proven effective in increasing students’ skills. Stand-alone modules cover specific academic or work-related subject areas that compliment individualized student curriculum. Professional services utilize proven expertise in virtually all areas of educational administration including curriculum design and implementation, grant writing, resource development, and technology. Training and development programs tailored to meet organizational needs are offered through on-site or distance learning delivery methods. Individual programs for professional career enhancement, deliverable to the desktop, provide continuing education requirements and opportunities for community-based leadership development strategies.
A data center acquired for multiple-uses has many potential benefits, especially in the growing area of charter schools. Low-cost space for server equipment, with 24/7 support, maximizes data delivery and storage costs while protecting investments. ASP is a unified web development platform providing necessary services for data-on-demand applications such as distance learning programs or on-line testing. Increased bandwidth capacity through the data center means better delivery/response time for the end user, which reduces frustration and increases productivity. Charter schools benefit from cost-saving e-mail and web hosting, curriculum delivery and storage, professional services, and technical support. Small businesses, potentially developed by students and/or staff need similar services to manage costs and maintain effective delivery of products and services.
Capacity building engages public and private entities toward collaborative partnerships to deliver products and services to specific populations. The data center needs to be equipped with cabling and space for server racks, T-1 lines and/or DS3 fiber optic cables with auxiliary power supply to ensure reliable service. Centralized technology service and storage invites industry partnerships to further develop state-of-the-art delivery systems, classroom integration and participation, and e-deliverable products and services to the public, such as for home schooling families. Capacity building of professional resources and services empowers greater efficiency of human resources and increased effectiveness of human action. Educational resources become more affordable to individual sites through collective acquisition and bargaining power. Turn-key educational capacity and business services offer a window of opportunity to would-be entrepreneurs concerned about the future of education and business practices.
Collective purchased curriculum packages (bundled or stand-alone) will offer educational programs at greatly reduced costs, increasing access to low-income areas. Increases opportunity for teacher-developed curricula to be made available to large numbers and remunerate the creator in the process. Housing or linking (from main page) a selection of distance learning programs increases exposure and income for educational institutions and development companies offering programs. Community Technology Centers, developed as partnerships with schools, provide additional capacity for adult education programs for acquiring a GED or college credits toward degree programs. Community-based educational programs empower community leaders and members to effectively develop and manage community affairs. Access to social services electronic programs increases quality of life for low-income community members.
Charter schools that choose to work together can reduce curriculum expenses while increasing teacher effectiveness, which means more time with the students and easier lesson planning. Web hosting services, along with e-mail, provide schools greater exposure with less cost. Internet content filters installed on-site keeps clean content delivery for students and teachers. Non-Profit Organizations benefit through reduced costs, greater accessibility of Internet or Web-related services, while building capacity in the development of the network of organizations and service to the community. Service Organizations can offer assistance, information, and programs while establishing growth in their community network. Discussions, forums, web-based workshops, are made available with ease of data management.
Collaborative alliances and partnerships provide greater ease of focused funding while building capacity throughout the Network of Providers/Users. Groups, both youth and adult, can access ‘clean’ information, communicate with other groups, and provide members with selected products and services specific to their areas of focus. The CTC data center allows organized curriculum delivery through e-business technology while minimizing costs for upgrades of software and hardware. Parents who choose to homeschool their children can have up-to-date State Standard-based curriculum delivered to their home computer at affordable costs. Parents can also refresh themselves on educational processes to help facilitate their student’s learning. Meanwhile, charter schools can also utilize the cost-effectiveness of group purchasing of materials through the CTC’s variety of resources made possible by the collaborative alliances.
Cooperation creates open environments for growth and success through inclusion of the best of each organization’s expertise. This type of e-business allows competitive activity, which has lead to conflict and exclusivity of information, to engage more fully in the market through shared technologies. Collaborative Alliances are the way of future, applying best practices in current management philosophy, which empowers organizations to build capacity through shared resources. Sustainable growth comes from community involvement that is facilitated through the inclusion practices of the organization; developing a community capable of raising the new genre of children through a systems approach to learning. A new paradigm of leadership, based on socially and environmentally responsible action, provides a balance between libertarian and utilitarian methods of personal involvement. The greater good is served through the empowerment of individual skills sets necessary for the program to function. Group(s) alignment with a collective mission allows each individual to serve as an integral part of the whole, empowering participation and results. The synergy of this hybrid model can effectively bridge the click and mortar worlds of business with the growing community educational needs for both youth and adult learners.