ndgenius website officially launched

01/30/2020 02:30 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
A screenshot of ndgenious.com, which launched on Jan. 28. The website is an online social learning platform for Indigenous people. COURTESY
ARLINGTON, Va. – In spite of 574 federally-recognized tribes in the United States and 634 recognized First Nations in Canada, there has not been an online learning platform that offers in-depth courses focused on tribal interests. That’s about to change with the Jan. 28 launch of an online social learning platform at www.ndgenius.com. ndgenius is a play on Indigenous and genius, according to a ndgenius press release.

The press release states users can sign up to take classes, teach classes or connect with other platform users and share ideas. ndgenius is based on a course marketplace model, where instructors create and sell their courses. Some courses are self-paced and can be completed in one sitting, others take place over weeks and include live, interactive elements.

According to the release, course topics span from tribal law and policy, culture-related issues, hobby-based interests to courses geared toward tribal employees.

At the time of the website’s launch, courses included a class on beading by Mona Cliff (Grós Ventré citizen), one on generational differences in the tribal workplace by Kendra Clements (a Choctaw Nation citizen at We the People Consulting) and several law-related classes taught by lawyers in Indian Country such as Nicole Ducheneaux (with Cheyenne River Sioux and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation who works for Big Fire Law and Policy Group), Jeff Davis (a Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians citizen at Barnes & Thornburg) and Troy Eid (with Greenberg Traurig). There’s also a free course created by ndgenius’ founder, Başla Andolsun, that guides users step-by-step through how to create and sell online courses.

“I started ndgenius because I realized how many smart, motivated people there are across Indian Country who are looking to share ideas and create opportunities together, but who don’t have an easy way to do it,” Andolsun said. “With ndgenius, people from all over, including remote and rural tribes or urban areas, can connect to take or teach classes on topics that matter to them.”

According to a 2019 Global Market Insights report, the global e-learning market is estimated to surpass $300 billion by 2025. Forays into e-learning services tailored to tribal audiences have been relatively limited, though, in part because only 46.6% of houses in tribal rural areas have access to a broadband provider, the release states.

While there are tribal organizations and interest groups that offer webinars, such as the Native Learning Center run by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, ndgenius is the first online course marketplace.

“Imagine what people can accomplish given an easy way to share knowledge and skills across tribal communities,” Andolsun said. “Instructors will be able to build their reputations and generate income while teaching topics they’re passionate about, and students can network and exchange ideas with others who share their interests. I can’t wait to see what exciting new ideas and collaborations emerge out of this.”


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