Confluence Courseware, LLC. (CC) is an innovative digital curriculum business designed to develop and distribute unique courseware rooted in the classics of the Western intellectual tradition for high school and post-secondary students. While a new company, CC is an outgrowth of many years of curriculum development work performed by Dr. Rodney and Robi Marshall and other scholars and educators.
Confluence Courseware, LLC. sees itself as craft company that partners with pioneering creators who aspire to deliver the best of a traditional liberal arts curriculum using a conversational pedagogy to anyone, anywhere, anytime. It is a space where scholars and educators collaborate with each other under the guidance of highly experienced classical educators, educational entrepreneurs and and courseware creators to monetize their creations through a royalty stream. The intention is to provide great books curriculum through digital delivery to any school or student that desires it. The concept includes aggregating content at a lower than industry cost by using courseware creators’ original works of authorship, works in the public domain, and freely accessible Open Educational Resources (OER). We wish for every student to receive this best education, but anticipate high performing students as those with the primary interest. CC aims to become the nationally recognized provider of classics-oriented courseware for high school and post-secondary students.
The company will begin by providing classics based courseware with a conversational pedagogy for American high school and post-secondary students attending private, charter and home schools, and college students taking humanities courses from our Courseware Creators that are professors, and their colleagues. This great books courseware for the great conversation will require no physical books and could be used in the typical classroom, a blended learning, or flipped classroom school environment, or as the curriculum for an online school or homeschool. The company will provide training through courseware, or live, for faculty and administration to learn how to implement a digital classics program using a conversational pedagogy.
Confluence Courseware, LLC. differentiates itself from the market for textbooks and coursework by emphasizing the primary documents or classics combined with a digital delivery system, conversational pedagogy and ease of use for high performing students, their parents, teachers, and school administrators. No other company currently provides the same category of courseware. The company plans for an aggressive, targeted online marketing strategy that includes outbound marketing strategies, and inbound marketing through search engine and search marketing optimization, social media, e-mail using narrow lists, free blogs and e-newsletters. Additionally, it will offer a free classics reading program designed as open courseware to enrich the users and pique their interest in the fee-based courseware. The company will also exploit the industry contacts of the company founder, investors and creators to develop partners and distributors.
Confluence Courseware, LLC. is the only known project of its niche focusing on digital great books courseware with a conversational pedagogy for high school and post-secondary students. However, the courseware world is highly competitive with some excellently capitalized, experienced companies placing major resources behind development. CC will face competition from other e-textbook and courseware providers, especially those that provide Advanced Placement and dual credit courseware. The largest textbook book publishers in the world, new e-textbook and courseware development companies, and Open Education Resources each represent competition. The largest competitors in the field of digital curriculum are the largest textbook publishers, which are converting print publications to digital e-books and developing based on their vast content collection. They are Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. These textbook giants have also partnered with Apple to make e-texts available through iBooks. Smaller for-profit competitors include Apex Learning, K12, Kno, Odysseyware, Plato Courseware by Edmentum, and a host of other companies. A third category of competition is from the realm of Open Education Resources. From OER an educator, school, or district can aggregate free content into curriculum products delivered though a learning management system (LMS). The primary cost is the time to develop high quality courseware and the technology platform. Each category of competition requires the same solution for CC, which is to bring a distinctively different product to market rooted in the primary documents of the great books, and designed for use with a conversational pedagogy.
The target market is high school and post-secondary students. High performing high school students enrolled in public charter, private, and homeschools total an estimated 625,000 students and form the initial target market. Because of the barriers to entering the public school and post-secondary markets it is not considered feasible during the start up phase of development except where professors that are course creators have already made an entry and are free to use their own courseware as the texts for classes. A possible exit strategy is to sell the company to a publisher or private equity group with access to distribution channels into these broader markets adding an additional 3,875,000 for a total of 4,500,000 high performing students.
Managing Member and Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Rodney Marshall combines 35 years of experience as a head of private and home schools, with curriculum development, business, marketing, and publishing acumen to the entrepreneurial leadership of this endeavor.
Dr. Chad Redwing, Ph.D., University of Chicago, Humanities, combines a remarkable education in the classics, thousands of hours as a great books discussion tutor, professor of the humanities, courseware creator, and founding head of a classics based charter school to deepen and broaden the management team as the Academic Editor.
Atilla Vekony joins the team as Marketing Manager supported by many years work in publishing including as a digital publishing marketing manager.
Rebecca Shepperd brings many years of experience as admissions director and executive assistant at a private classical school and remarkable focus on closing projects to her position as office manager.
Robi Marshall combines 30 years of teaching and academic leadership, marketing, and corporate training, with her development of the prototype cloud-based curriculum owned by Dr. and Mrs. Marshall, to her role as advisor.
Confluence Courseware, LLC. plans to initially develop, market, distribute and support courseware through Apple’s iBooks/iTunes U, ePub, Google Play, B&N Nook and Amazon Kindle platforms which provides a low initial cost, scalable means to enter a nationwide market with little capital investment in technology, facilities and equipment. These platforms use agency format and passes on 70% of the proceeds of any sale to CC as the publisher. With all operations managed around cloud-based systems, the finest courseware creators may be contracted anywhere in the world. Since courseware content is either already owned by the company and its courseware creators as original works of authorship, or requires no cost because it is openly available without a license fee, and the technology platform is free up front, the initial company costs are the contract fees for the courseware creators through proof of concept, marketing and support. A few courseware creators will be retained as contractors to provide work for hire, while most will join the team as freelance creators that sign an ebook publishing agreement, retain the copyright and receive royalties as compensation. The product will be marketed through a custom designed web site and the aforementioned platforms, each of which provides its own e-commerce system. Once the first round of courseware is ready for distribution as proof of concept any number of customers can access it with little affect on operating costs.
Confluence Courseware, LLC. is a start-up Texas company that relies heavily on the curriculum development work already accomplished by Dr. and Mrs. Marshall and its courseware creators. The company is preparing for significant revenue expansion through the creation and sale of courseware as digital, interactive textbooks, which is a scalable business in the rapidly growing e-Learning market. Confluence Courseware, LLC., while separately constituted, is the next stage in the development of an educational business operating since 1997. The business plan is complete after several iterations, the business name is reserved with the Texas Secretary of State and filed initially with the U.S. Copyright office, a logo has been designed and submitted for registration as a trademark, and the initial courseware products begin creation June 1, 2015 by Dr. Redwing. A compact initial team of administrative supporters and courseware creators is in place, a Google/Asana business collaboration site has been prepared, Dr. Marshall has freed up his schedule for the next six months to work full time at no expense to the new company, and Rebecca Shepperd has resigned from her current position in order to devote her professional time to virtual office management and proofreading. In short the company is ready to drive toward proof of concept August 2015, and raise investment funds to”support product development and marketing.
The company founders have provided $200,000 in capital investment and a commitment for $200,000 services in kind. After proof of concept is achieved during the first year of operation July 2015 – June 2016, Confluence Courseware, LLC will seek additional capital investment to support marketing and further product development.
To obtain the full business plan with financial forecasts please contact Dr. Rodney Marshall and request such by filling out this Contact Us form. He will look forward to conversing or corresponding with you about this visionary opportunity.