CourseNet University Management Systems
By: James Esch
For: Dr. Landrum
April 22, 2003
CourseNet Systems: Company and Overview
CourseNet Systems, coursenet.newknowledge.us, is a Bonita, Florida based corporation and a subsidiary
company of Kent Technologies, www.kenttech.com. CourseNet Systems provides high-utility and high-
value solutions for managing an educational institution’s enterprise environment. Our focus is to develop
easy to use applications that are affordable and extend the greatest levels of efficiencies and functionality to
both existing campus and emerging educational settings.
CourseNet System’s software applications are in full production and servicing thousands of students.
Therefore, the value of CourseNet products is well established and proven in existing enterprise learning
Company Mission and Vision
CourseNet Systems creates innovative educational management applications and communication solutions
that collectively enhance the success of our clients, employees, and investors. We accomplish this goal and
achieve industry leadership through empowered, innovative and well-compensated employees that are
committed to industry excellence. Our products bring value to our clients by leveraging advanced
technology to maximize productivity and efficiency in addition to simplifying the human processes.
Our goal is the continued evolution of CourseNet Systems into a global solutions provider, with internal
departments dedicated to providing innovative products and strategies that span all aspects of an educational
institution’s operations. In addition, CourseNet Systems will continue to evaluate new venture opportunities
and explore the creation of new and innovative product solutions. Our vision will culminate in positioning
CourseNet Systems as an industry brand and leader with annual revenues approaching $7 million dollars
within the next five years.
CourseNet Systems offers a variety of tools that allow educational institutions to leverage advanced
technology to maximize productivity and efficiency, in addition to simplifying the human processes. These
tools include internal management systems, online expansion tools, student relations and services
applications, course management solutions, course delivery tools, and customized solutions. These products
are offered as a full-scale enterprise solution or on a modular basis.
CourseNet Systems’ flagship application, CourseNet Student Services System (CNSSS), is a highly
advanced university management system that provides both intranet and Internet services and allows for a
higher level of automation tuned to the needs of educational institutions offering on-line degree programs.
CNSSS is a multi-platform, database independent, and highly scalable application that provides university
staff members and students with an intuitive and user-friendly user interface, and may be accessed using a
web browser on any platform. This application includes functionality for student management, student
relations, curriculum and institutional hierarchy setup, advisors, tuition assistance plans, financial aid plans,
shipping, graduations, and alumni relations.
Product Description (continued)
To simplify the process of managing courses, students, and student grades, the CourseNet Course
Management System (CNCMS) integrates seamlessly with the CourseNet Student Services System or can
work as a stand-alone application to allow for a higher level of control over courses, students, assignments,
and grades. The CNCMS system functions as an assignment repository system, interaction area, feedback
system, and academic honesty confirmation system. An intuitive reporting area allows staff to immediately
gain a detailed status report of their courses at any time. An interactive threaded discussion area allows
students and staff to converse within the virtual classroom environment by leaving voice and textual
messages. The CNCMS system optimizes all workflows and processes associated with the exchange,
control and management of assignments, grades, student feedback, and virtual classroom collaboration.
CourseNet Systems also offers an advanced and intuitive course material delivery system named CourseNet
Content Delivery System (CNCDS). This application allows staff to implement course materials into a
configurable template system to allow for rapid course material implementation. In turn, the course
materials entered into the content delivery system may be viewed online and/or copied to media sources
such as CD-R’s for distribution to students.
CourseNet Systems views their market largely segmented by type and size of educational institutions. The
primary types of markets are segmented by type of institutional learning delivery programs. First are
traditional brick and mortar establishments that maintain resident only (class room) courses and programs.
Second are a rapidly growing number educational institutions seeking to extend and expand all or part of
their educational programs through e-learning and Internet mediated offerings. The third type of institution
is the “virtual” university or school that offer 100 percent of their programs through e-learning and on-line
These types of institutions can be future segmented by the number of students they serve. For purposes of
this business plan, we segment the size of institution as small (less than 2,000), medium (2,001 to 10,000),
and large (over 10,000).
Strategic Target Market Opportunity
The Statistical Abstract of the United States (2003 Edition) reports that there are currently 5,010
postsecondary institutions and growing; 1,680 of which offer distance-learning programs. As new
technologies develop, geared toward web interaction, a strong raise in the demand of on-line educational
programs is evident. As of 2002, there are an estimated total of 1,661,100 enrollments in distance learning
programs and rapidly growing. With this hasty increase in demand for on-line distance learning programs,
thousands of educational institutions are deciding to expand their operations to the Internet every year.
As of 1999, Goldman Sachs reported that an estimated $233 billion were spent in higher education -- $3.5
billion of which was invested in e-learning. (Goldman Sachs, 2000) We believe that by offering a wide set
of high-tech, yet simple to use, solutions, we can easily gain more than a 10% market share.
Our market breakout consists of the following target markets:
Primary - The primary market and focus for CourseNet Systems is both the brick and mortar with extended
e-learning program and the virtual universities and schools. These institutions have the most immediate
need and can benefit most from CourseNet products. Additionally, CourseNet System will target the small
to medium size institutions where the purchasing decisions are most likely to be made base on overall price
and utility versus market share.
Secondary – CourseNet Systems will also address the secondary market consisting of brick and mortar
institutions that have only resident and class room programs. Although of less consequence, we approach
this market because these institutions may still benefit from offering resident students on-line tools,
collaboration resources, knowledge systems, and on-line student portal services. Additionally, many of the
institutions will eventually extend their programs in favor of e-learning.
Target Markets (continued)
James Esch serves as president of CourseNet Systems. James is an ambitious student and computer programmer turned
entrepreneur. At the young age of 18, he hold three college degrees consisting of an Associate in Arts, a Bachelor of
Computer Science, and a Bachelor of Business Management and will complete his MBA in December 2003. Throughout his
life, Esch has demonstrated a need for achievement and shows a great passion for his work. Through working full time in his
early teens as a computer programmer with 4What Interactive and taking a project and business management position in his
later teen years, Esch has gained a firm knowledge of both technical and gestalt aspects of managing projects and businesses.
Esch has displayed his abilities as a determined leader through the management and development of several successful large-
scale applications including but not limited to: An assignment repository and collaboration system for an on-line university
that allowed over 500% student growth; a high-tech security system dubbed the “Web Access Key” which has gained the
interests of parties as big as the New York Transit Authority; and a robust student services system and internal management
system for on-line and traditional educational institutions.
James also garners additional financial and organizational support for this venture from the parent organization, Kent
Technologies. Kent Technologies is a well-respected and prominent company that emerged from the Kent Group that has
existed for over 50 years with 425 employees and over $50 million each year in revenue CourseNet Systems plans to receive
adequate funding through the Kent Technologies necessary to achieve sustainable growth and stability as they emerge in a
•Development and testing staff has considerable experience in management and
teaching positions within academia.
•Stable funding from parent company (Kent Technologies)
•High demand by educational institutions for internal management systems,
course management systems, course material delivery systems, and student relation systems.
•Close ties with non-profit organizations that are well known by many educational institutions.
•Innovative designs allow educational institutions to gain more money by increasing
capacity and efficiency with minimal increases in staffing.
•Advanced knowledge in the effectiveness of e-learning.
•Smaller size enables organization to be more agile and make rapid organizational
adjustments necessary to track closely in support of strategy.
•Name is not as well known as other competitors such as WebCT and Blackboard.
•We are new to the e-learning application industry.
•Not all skill positions have been filled yet.
Competitive Analysis (continued)
•Our software can be sold in the global marketplace.
•Application is in production and producing revenue from reference
•Clear pricing advantages over competition to gain market share.
•Applications can be used in the business e-learning industry as well.
•Joint ventures with other educational software development firms can introduce new revenues.
•Decline in demand for educational institutional management software.
•Introduction of alternative open-source solution with strong support.
Severe software exploits that may hurt brand equity.
Unlike our primary competitors, WebCT and Blackboard, the price for each of the CourseNet Systems
applications will be based on a per-enrollment basis. WebCT and Blackboard offer several yearly license
plans ranging from $7,000 for the most simplistic of applications up to approximately $150,000 (Calgary
U., 2002). Our plan is to offer educational institutions licensing plans that grow with them. The initial rate
for the enterprise system (combination of internal management system, course management system, course
delivery system, and student relations system) will start at a fee of $5 per enrollment. Over the course of
time, prices may increase as a result of new features, improved compatibility, and enhanced user interfaces.
The pricing strategy in the first three years will be approximately as follows:
WebCT & Blackboard
Service or Quality
Sales Distribution Strategy - Pro-forma Sales Forecast
Sales Distribution Strategy (continued)
Direct and Indirect Channels
Direct Channel – CourseNet Systems has two forms of direct channel programs: First are the direct sales and support
relationships. These are typically high volume, major corporations, which use CourseNet products for internal purposes
including internal management, course management, course delivery, and student relations. These channels are managed and
developed by in house sales and relationship managers. The second form of direct channel relationships consists of end users
purchasing application packages on-line through e-commerce transactions.
Indirect Channel – CourseNet Systems leverages a variety of indirect distribution channel programs including OEM, Sales
Associates, and Licensee/Franchise agreements.
•The OEM program is targeted at high volume educational institutions requiring CourseNet products as a component to fully
service their clients (their students). CourseNet supplies the products and services through the OEM agreement, and allows
the university to re-brand the product under their name. This agreement is offered as an exclusive relationship and does not
permit the educational institution to use any other supplier for products or services that are provided through the OEM
•The Sales Associate program uses sales associates and rep agencies to sell CourseNet products and services on a commission
basis. These associates often rep multiple products that compliment CourseNet’s product line. Sales associates are trained in
the CourseNet product line and are provided with necessary sales support. The Sales Associate program is used primarily to
drive brand recognition and gain market penetration with large coverage area. Some of the most successful Sales Associates
are offered licensee agreements.
Sales Distribution Strategy (continued)
•Licensee and Franchise Agreements offer exclusive rights to a given geographical area and customer base. Under this
agreement, the licensee must dedicate full time resources, support staff, and facilities for the promotions of 4What products.
Licensees and their staff must be fully trained in the CourseNet product line. They are permitted to use the CourseNet name
and brand for their business such as CourseNet Systems of Dallas. Licensees must maintain specified sales volumes or
potentially lose exclusivity of their territory.
•CourseNet’s referral program compensates any individual or company that refers a client that results in a sale. These
referrals are assigned to a local Sales Associate or Licensee.
By leveraging diverse channels of distribution, CourseNet Systems achieves national and international reach, both
geographically and by market segment. These various channels also facilitate relationship selling and personalized service.
Competing companies are generally regional or local focused with minimal market reach and penetration.
The balance and interrelationship between CourseNet’s distribution channels must be carefully managed to prevent channel
conflict. CourseNet Systems accomplishes this through its Sales Force Automation system and internal channel managers.
CourseNet Enterprise Management System General Release Launched
Naples, FL – May 22, 2003 – CourseNet Systems (coursenet.newknowledge.us), a product line of Kent Technologies (www.kenttech.com) announced that it will be
launching its general release enterprise edition management suite effective May 28th, 2003. Throughout the year-long development process, multiple educational
institutions have begun to show their interest in adopting this highly scalable, flexible, and user-friendly application suite.
Partner and co-founder Tom Esch, PhD stated: “This is a very exciting time for us as well as the e-learning industry as a whole. We’ve spent much time developing
and fine-tuning these applications to fit the needs of both on-line and traditional educational institutions. We are looking to offer educational institutions one of the
best bangs for their buck.”
The CourseNet enterprise edition management suite consists of several proven highly- successful, platform neutral, and database independent, applications to serve
purposes including: internal management, student relations, course management and collaboration, course content delivery, and academic dishonesty detection
systems. Partner and co-founder James Esch noted that: “Our goal is to provide educational institutions with a full set of integrated solutions tailored to their needs at
a competitive price.”
The primary overlying goal of this robust enterprise system is to allow universities to increase capacity and efficiency while minimizing the need to increase staff, thus
leading to larger profit margins for CourseNet customers. CourseNet Systems’ flagship application – the student services system – provides an advanced and user-
friendly interface to allow administrative staff to more efficiently perform their jobs to increase productivity.
Additionally, the course management and collaboration system and the course delivery system (included in the enterprise system) integrate seamlessly with the student
services system to provide a singular yet highly scalable solution to solve a set of complex business problems. This eliminates the complex and stressful issues that
arise when multiple systems from multiple vendors are used in unison.
For more information concerning what CourseNet Systems can do for your educational institution, please contact one of the following partners:
Thomas Esch, PhD. James Esch
Partner and Co-founder CourseNet Systems Partner and Co-founder CourseNet Systems
Phone: (877) KENT – TECH Phone: (877) KENT – TECH
Cell: (239) 777-2547 Cell: (239) 293-0823
CourseNet Systems is privately funded through its parent company – Kent Technologies and
the Kent Group. The Kent Group is a well-respected and prominent company that emerged
from the Kent Group that has existed for over 50 years with 425 employees and over $50
million each year in revenue CourseNet Systems plans to receive adequate funding through the
Kent Technologies necessary to achieve sustainable growth and stability as they emerge in a
In year one, CourseNet Systems will internally transfer $69,000 from the Kent Group for
capital investments. The remaining years capital investments will be adequately funded from
internal cash flows.
Use of Funds
Plant and Equipment
Pant and Equipment investment will be limited to computers, office equipment and personal
communication equipment. (Cellular phones, pagers, etc.) The financial model assumes that
$3000 will be sent to outfit each application programmer with equipment. The model also
assumes $6000 to furnish each sales resource with computing and presentation equipment.
Office and Personnel Equipment
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Office Equipment 9,000 5,000 10,000 5,000 10,000
Computers 15,000 10,000 10,000 15,000 15,000
Computers (Laptops) 30,000 25,000 25,000 25,000 25,000
Furniture and Fixtures 15,000 5,000 5,000 10,000 10,000
Total 69,000 45,000 50,000 55,000 60,000
Pro-forma Income Statement (5 yrs)
Pro-forma Balance Sheet (5 yrs)
“Course Management System: Task Group Report to UPC InfoStructure Sub-Committee” University of Calgary, June 2002,
Derman, Parekh, Berquist, Elliott, and Chung (2000) “Internet: e-Learning – United States” Goldman Sachs Global Equity
Meinhardt, Jane “St. Petersburg College embracing shift in instruction” The Business Journal, July 19, 2002,
“Statistical Abstract of the United States” U.S. Census Bureau, (2003 Edition), http://www.census.gov/prod/www/statistical-