There are a number of audiences for courseware on designing for the User eXperience, and our curriculum offers appropriate training to each.
First, there is a fast growing number of small business owners, who are trying to launch online businesses. They are experts in their businesses, but not in web design and development. We offer them do-it-yourself training in User eXperience fundamentals to help them increase the success of their web sites at a very low cost.
Second, there is an audience of professionals who are highly skilled software or web developers who may have some experience designing for the User eXperience but want and need to upgrade that skill set.
Third, there is an audience of User eXperience professionals of many types - graphic design, usability, persuasion and SEO specialists - who want to expand and enhance their UX skill set.
And fourth, there are students currently in universities earning degrees in computer science, information technology or User eXperience who wish to fill in gaps in their classroom curriculums to expand their skill set. A related audience is professors in these degree programs looking for additional teaching resources for both in and outside the classroom.
We have started recruiting the professionals best known for expertise in each potential course topic, who are also known as excellent teachers, to produce the courses identified in the planned curriculum. Many of these experts are already known to us through our 25+ years pioneering and working together in the profession. We will be providing them with the resources to turn their already developed, refined and highly respected classroom courses into formats suitable for online delivery, and the venue - the Online UX Institute - through which to offer them. You can learn about our current faculty through the Faculty List page.
The OUXI management team consists of a CEO, a VP of Marketing, and a Board of Advisors. We have recruited a founding Board of Advisors consisting of a small subset of current and future faculty who will serve on a term basis, to help guide the evolution of The Institute. We will rotate Board of Advisor members over time to keep fresh ideas coming in as the Institute evolves.
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VP of Marketing
2011-2013 Founding Board of Advisors
Less fuel consumed in:
Commuting to classrooms
Running classrooms (e.g., heat, light)
Ground/air transport of paper products
Less paper consumed for:
Together we can help reduce the carbon footprint of global training.
The mission of the Online User eXperience Institute is to provide:
The institute will thus serve as a universal portal to the current collective knowledge in the field of designing for the User eXperience.
We have a long term plan for developing the curriculum, laid out on the Course List page, and are soliciting votes from you, our potential students, to help decide which courses to develop first.
The Institute will also provide other resources, such as free faculty office hours for registered students, course previews, ratings and reviews from past students of each course, a bookstore, online discussion groups for students, access to follow up consulting from faculty, and a portal to other respected professional resources via the Institute Library.
Often prospective students do not have the time to attend or cannot afford classroom courses, or the necessary courses are not offered in a practical location. The Institute provides an effective alternative when any of these barriers to classroom training exist.
In addition, technology offers powerful pedagogical capabilities that when deployed by excellent teachers who also understand the importance of the User eXperience, can greatly enhance learning. These include the use of multimedia and interactive activities that more effectively engage students in the learning process.
Students in traditional classrooms value the ability to interact with faculty and fellow students. The Institute provides these benefits by offering phone and email faculty office hours, faculty blogs, online public forums and online student discussion groups.
Traditional bricks-and-mortar university curriculums often have significant holes in their total course offerings, because they are limited by the number of faculty they can employ.
The Institute curriculum can be much more comprehensive because there are no limits to the number of faculty who can contribute courses. In addition, in a rapidly evolving world, a virtual Institute can deliver new course material in a matter of months rather than years.
About The Business Model
The current average price of classroom training in User eXperience topics is around USD $650 per day, per student. In addition, there may be travel expenses, which can easily be more than the cost of the training itself.
The Institute offers comparable training for about one half the cost (USD $350 per student for the equivalent of a one day classroom course), and of course, there are no travel expenses. Courses delivered under corporate and government licensing, and professional society and student discounts are even less.
The Institute can charge less for online courses because of the lower overhead of delivering online and the potential for high volume enrollment.
The Institute is run more like a consortium than like a business. The better a course is, the more highly it will be rated by enrolled students. Highly rated courses will in turn attract even higher enrollments. Since faculty earn most of the revenue from each student enrolled in their courses, the more students enroll in a course, the more the faculty that produced it will profit. This provides a strong incentive for faculty to invest the time and resources to produce high quality, engaging, fun and effective courses that will earn high student ratings. This of course in turn benefits all students.
Each faculty provides links from their own web sites to The Institute web site. This not only sells their own courses, but also brings new students to The Institute who may then enroll in courses by other faculty. Thus, the faculty all collaboratively contribute to enrollments in each others' courses.
SInce The Institute takes a small percentage of course enrollment revenue from each course offered through it, it has funds to reinvest in the further development of The Institute curriculum, as well as in new resources, and even charities and scholarships.
Students. Faculty. Institute.
Win. Win. Win.
About The Institute Co-Founders
Dr. Deborah J. Mayhew, Ph.D., an early pioneer and well known author in the User eXperience field, has been thinking about starting an Institute of this sort since 1984, when as an assistant professor in the College of Computer Science at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, USA, she wrote and started to market a business plan to establish a UX Institute funded by corporate sponsors. After establishing her own consulting business, she later thought seriously about producing and marketing some video-based versions of the courses she has been teaching at conference and for corporate clients all her career.
Significant barriers to both these notions included considerable investments in bricks and mortar facilities, the need for ongoing fundraising efforts, hiring of full time faculty, full blown marketing efforts in the days of paper brochures and snail mail, and production and shipping costs.
One morning early in 2009, Dr. Mayhew woke up with the realization that all the necessary technological tools were finally in place to make a virtual User eXperience Institute practical and to offer it to a world wide audience.
Dr. Mayhew then joined forces with Todd J. Follansbee, a business partner with an extensive background in traditional marketing, now specializing in usability and persuasion in eCommerce web site design. Together they developed a business plan and began the process of founding The Online User eXperience Institute.