Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lots to 'learn' from Bodhbridge/Btechguru!

Bodhbridge / Btechguru - An entrepreuneurial setup

This post would look at Bodhbridge, an e-learning service provider incubated in DoMS, IIT Madras as part of the C-TIDES entrepreneurial nurture initiative. The post will focus on some of the highlighting features they have been able to provide in the short span they have been functional, their Business model, core competencies, etc.

Highlighting features:
Their focus right now is on providing technical learning material for engineering courses and 240 courses from various streams of engineering are on offer.

They have even made it possible to extend e-learning to rural centres with their free DVDs initiative through which they have been able to render 20,000+ DVDs. When enquired about the success of the initiative, the founder says that it has been quite successful and they are looking forward to extending the same to many more potential pockets.

They have even made it possible to create a 'Technical social networking' site with users having private pages where they can share their learning materials & show their areas of interest. There are about 28,000+ registered users on the site.

Within just about 3 years since its inception, the enterprise has been able to get a Google Page Index of 50,000 with apeak time page rank of 7 which have been achieved only by the likes of the more famous and other such popular Indian sites.

Core competencies & content model

They focus on three methods through which they leverage the learning through web. These are:

Static Model: Here, the content is static. They have researched on relevant courses that are on demand and have published content and links to authorised content in other sites on to these static pages which registered users have access to.

Collaborative Model: It is here that the maximum potential of 'e' in 'e-learning' gets utilised. The collaborative model relies on the sharing of knowledge among the users and this is enabled through a robust IT infrastructure they have thanks to WEB 2.0 technology. There are platforms of sharing such as Blogs, Bookmarks, interactive courseware etc that would help people share knowledge.

Video based Model: With the increasing network bandwidths, the focus is slowly shifting to video lectures and Bodhbridge isn't too late to capture that. They have a tie-up with NPTEL of IITs and share the NPTEL lectures through their website.

Business Model

As they basically cater to the under-graduate junta, the access of its user base to internet is a big advantage and they use that for promoting their presence through tie-ups with events of colleges.
The IT & website design have been outsourced; The behemoth of the databases is handled by Oracle & their front end is managed through PHP scripted webpages. Their revenue model has three branches to it:
1) Subscription model: Users subscribe at the site for a given price to gain access to some of the online courses and tests.
2) Transaction model: The transferrable courseware (in the form of DVDs) can be bought through online transactions. They employ the popular shipping-cart transaction model
3) Advertisements model: They are not much into it but with the amount of following that they have garnered , it wouldn't be long before a chunk of their revenues are yielded by advertisements.

Future Plans:
Their future plans focus on bringing interactive and online material based training and tests for a hugely demanded competitive exam CAT. They are also focussing on the adoption of 'Print2Flash' to avoid miscreants from involving in data stealing & theft which is a common problem with e-learning course materials.

With the giant strides that they have been able to make & the potential scope they seem to have, it looks like the academy is a shining elucidation to the fact that e-learning is an excellent entrepreneurial idea!

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