Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovations in Education - Harvard Business School MBA Program

Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovations in Education

Course Number 1602

Senior Lecturer John J-H Kim
Spring; Q3; 1.5credits
14 Sessions

NOTE: Two approaches are available in Spring 2019. Students can choose to enroll in the 1.5 credit Q3 course (1525). Alternatively, the 3-credit Field Course: Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovations in Education (6526) involves 14 case-method class sessions during Q3 and an additional independent paper/project during Q4 applying concepts from the course to a project of their choosing. Students who elect this option take the Q3 Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovations in Education course but do not complete the exam for ETIE and instead develop a project in consultation with the instructor, due at the end of Q4.

Overview

Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovations in Education (ETIE) is a course that explores how entrepreneurs are applying business practices and technology innovations to transform classrooms and schools/colleges to lead to higher performance.

With nearly $4 trillion spent globally annually and life outcomes closely linked to educational attainment levels, entrepreneurs and investors are stepping in to reimagine the classroom and schools, and the whole approach to teaching and learning. The sector has witnessed innovations such as tools to highly personalize learning, online learning platforms to increase access, and new school models that are addressing the lack of quality public schools in places like India. Recently, entrepreneurs are developing machine learning and AI approaches to transforming education. With trillions of dollars spent annually on education around the world, the large potential market, and significant technological advancement, the sector is undergoing a major transformation.

ETIE takes a general management approach and is intended for a broad audience. The course is appropriate for students who are interested in creating, leading, investing, or merely supporting education enterprises. No prior experience in education is required.

Educational Objectives

The course takes the perspective of a leader in an educational venture or enterprise. As entrepreneurs lead their organizations through product development processes, monetization strategies, scaling approaches, etc., they must also contend with working within a large bureaucracy, addressing entrenched interests, and being subject to public scrutiny. The course looks at ways in which entrepreneurs are seeking to overcome these obstacles but also taking creative approaches to turn them into sustainable advantages. ETIE's objectives are to teach students:

  • Understand the key forces and challenges in the education sector creating opportunities for entrepreneurs.
  • Develop an approach to identifying promising opportunities
  • Determine an approach for developing the optimal business model e.g., for-profit vs. non-profit, platform vs. application, institutional vs. consumer, etc.
  • Analyze ways to replicate, scale, and sustain successful educational enterprises.

Course Content

Majority of the classes will focus on K-12 with a short module on post-secondary opportunities. Most of the cases will be about U.S.-based organizations (a third will be non-US), but lessons can be generalized to a more global context. Many of the classes will host the case protagonist who can provide greater understanding of the context and the decisions faced by them.  There also will be opportunities to have conversations with them about their career decisions and other emerging issues facing the sector.
The course is organized into seven modules:

  1. Introduction  - Background/Context: What problems are entrepreneurs and technology innovators trying to solve and how do you measure success?
  2. Better Schools: What success have early entrepreneurs been able to achieve with better schools?  What are the opportunities that technology is uniquely positioned to address?
  3. Personalizing Learning: How are entrepreneurs working to meet the unique needs of each student? We will also look at examples abroad and different business models and monetization strategies. 
  4. Virtual Classrooms (Higher Education module): How are entrepreneurs using technology to bring quality college education to all? This is a short module on innovations occurring in colleges and universities. 
  5. Business Models: What are some potential business models and funding strategies? How can entrepreneurs scale what works?  What are the challenges in replicating, scaling, and sustaining successful models?
  6. Schools of the Future. How are entrepreneurs reimagining traditional K-12 schools? How will the roles of teachers change in the future? Can technology deliver better schools for less?
  7. New Frontier:  How will machine learning and AI change the landscape?

This course is part of a portfolio of courses relevant to Social Enterprise. For a full listing, see the Social Enterprise Initiative website.