Recently our COO and CEO, Johanna Maaghul and Richard Maaghul, sat down and talked about some essential questions that have been brought to us by the Superior University of Lahore for their Center for Entrepreneurship. They shared ideas and thoughts about ODEM and the challenges that the education system faces in the current global pandemic context. Below is the transcript of the recording, we welcome you to get to know more about education in today's world.
Transcript of the live conference, April 26th, 2020:
[Johanna Maaghul] Hi everybody, this is Johanna Maaghul, COO ODEM, and I'm here with Richard, CEO ODEM, and we're here to talk about some important questions that have been brought to us by The Superior University of Lahore for their Center for Entrepreneurship. I'm gonna start to ask some questions here, Rich, and you can answer them.
[Richard Maaghul] Yes, sure. Hi everyone
[Johanna] So to talk a little bit about ODEM and how you were inspired to begin this process of creating this company and also how you think it's responding to today's issue.
[Rich] Sure. ODEM is on demand education marketplace, and it was born from another company we started many years ago, called EXCELORATORS, INC. and we were doing mostly overseas, education, the time I spent over those years, I really came to understanding that there's a huge inequality of education. Come to the numbers that 93.7% of people worldwide, never even step into our university institution. So, what we are trying to do is offer a trust network, a platform that allows students to be able to connect directly with education institutions about learning independent educators, as well as employers. So to be able to do this, we need to create a trust network, meaning that everyone who comes into this trust network is verified, through their academic records. Then once you're able to get that information the student will be able to come in and register on the platform, we get a full understanding of that person's capabilities, their skills, their skill gaps, so then they can opt in to the education platform. Educators or institutions now can see what those capabilities are, what are those desired skills so, those students can get the right education. And then at that point, they can opt into the employer network. When you network with employers to be able to see the capabilities of these students, and be able to hire them. So, that's what ODEM does.
[Johanna] I just want to comment on a couple of the other questions we had addressing the challenges that we're facing. As a company and also, you know, what businesses can do to create, I guess they're referring to it as pandemic resilience or future proofing is another way to think about this. One of the big challenges that we have been facing, obviously, is that we actually have a solution for universities and colleges to move online, rapidly.
However, our core focus has had to shift dramatically from the process of starting ground up and helping us get those credentials on our platform to actually helping them create an online instance of themselves instead. And we've done, I think a pretty good job responding to that but there are definitely some challenges with using that command so quickly. And I think what we're learning is that for universities and colleges to create this resilience themselves, this is a step that they need to take, we've been fortunate to work with some schools who have already done it so they will be fair to this moment, but others are learning that even when we come out of this. It's something they're going to want to be ready for in the future that any instance of learning you have needs to be available online, because there is a situation like this in the future. So, mentioned that, maybe we can talk a little bit about the role of the tools that ODEM offers here in this pandemic right now and how they're going to be useful going into the future regardless.
[Rich] It's more about getting the early adopters that was the challenge. Getting universities, getting more educators, connected to the Virtual Education and now, with this unfortunate pandemic is worse for schools, educators to adopt this education to continue teaching throughout the pandemic, process that we're finding ourselves in.
This is not just with education, this goes through multiple industries you'll find out that all industries are going to need to learn how to adapt to crisis situations, by shifting the fundamental ways that they do business.
[Johanna] That's a really good point as you're watching industry having to reinvent itself and nothing else that's going to be lessened is can industry and even education, you know in parallel pivot quickly and I think that's a flexible, muscle that everyone is developing right now that ability to change for us quickly and that's going to be an advantage and, you know, and it has value that that's going to be realized.
[Rich] Yes, the future proofing is the turn. All industries needs to feature proof, their way they do this, this, and be able to shift in crisis. So, that's kind of what ODEM is doing. We were focused really getting academic credentials on the blockchain so working with a lot of universities that we had to pivot quickly to really work on our online virtual education. Now, during this time, universities are starting to Band Aid approach. Getting yours current enrollment through the academic year. So, right now, is not a good time to talk to them because they are in panic mode. But, in about 30-40 days once we close down and we flatten the curve, schools, universities are really focused on future proofing, that's where we'll start working with universities, getting them trained, getting their content and curriculum on the online education system. But also, what I think what's really important is, to be able to measure the student success through, that's where I think innovation comes in like, the blockchain. To be able to secure immutable records, student records, and the completion of those courses that are done online. So that's going to be the measurement of success with universities or educators teaching online
[Johanna] I just want to add to that. A lot of the universities we're talking to and we've had the fortune of interfacing with a lot of them and the consensus is that the tools that have been in place with many schools are really antiquated, and they're built on very old technology and so this is an opportunity to move to blockchain to move to a system of trust that previously wasn't available, our know, in the last decade, I would say, and and and so this is really forcing that and moving it a lot faster in a way that might not have happened. Necessity is the mother of invention and what we're seeing is more and more schools, trying to understand how can I move to a model where even if we're not physically in the same place there is a method of trust.
[Rich] Well listen, last I know there's entrepreneurs sitting in this or listening to this recording, my advice or suggestion would be, look at industries that have been affected by this pandemic crisis. Those are the ones that are going to need help the most. How will we be able to quickly shift during this types of crises so we can continue our
life so our economic system doesn't break down. So, I think you're going to see a lot more manufacturing coming back into countries where they can be able to quickly get the products they need. For instance, the ventilators, the masks, and we're not so dependent on other countries.
So we quickly get this product. It's been really difficult in many many countries. Just talking from here in the US. I know, getting very important medical equipment, it's being a big thing so look at any industry needs future proofing means to change the way they do business on the fly.