Introduction for Educators

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Our university offers undergraduate degrees through two different modes. In the Bachelor of Commerce, a student might choose to spend one year on campus or alternatively 'keep their day job', and complete the same degree online. Launched more than ten years ago, The Venture Challenge was an experiential exercise that had student teams imagine, launch, operate and report back about a charity fund raising business seeded with less than $5. Until 2009 our online students did not enjoy an analogous pedagogy.

Enter the Online Venture Challenge, an evolution of the Venture Challenge that was designed to accommodate online students who typically live thousands of miles apart from their three or four teammates. Following Kolb's (1984) theory of adult learning these distance learning pupils now live the complete cycle of Think-Plan-Do-Reflect through a mission-driven e-commerce website of their creation.

To succeed, internet based businesses must describe a compelling value proposition to a great numbers of strangers. This isn't a simulation that is like the real world; it is the real world experienced in an educational context that facilitates dialogue about business concepts and principles.

In fact, we have found that the Online Venture Challenge is so effective with regard to attainment of learning outcomes that it is now replacing the on-campus exercise from which it evolved. Restating that, our on-campus students now do the Online Venture Challenge. Live merchandising events are an optional undertaking, no longer the backbone of the venture. Dog costumes and kissing booths are supplanted with viral videos and tweet ups.