“ndgenius” Officially Launches Today
With the recognition last month of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians, there are now 574 Federally-recognized tribes in the US, and another 634 recognized First Nations in Canada. In spite of those significant numbers, up until now there has not been an online learning platform that offers in-depth courses focused on tribal interests. That’s about to change with the launch of a new online social learning platform called “ndgenius” (a play on “Indigenous” and “genius”).
Users of ndgenius can sign up to take classes, teach classes, or simply to connect with other platform users and share ideas. ndgenius is based on a course marketplace model, where instructors create and sell their own courses. Some courses are self-paced and can be completed in one sitting, others take place over a number of weeks and include live, interactive elements. Course topics run the gamut from tribal law and policy, to culture-related issues, to hobby-based interests, to courses geared toward tribal employees.
At the time of the launch, courses include a class on beading by Mona Cliff (Grós Ventré), one on generational differences in the tribal workplace, by Kendra Clements (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, We the People Consulting), and several law-related classes taught by some of the most well-respected lawyers in Indian Country, including Nicole Ducheneaux (Cheyenne River Sioux and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation, Big Fire Law and Policy Group), Jeff Davis (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, Barnes & Thornburg, LLP), and Troy Eid (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 their own online course.
“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,” says Andolsun. “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.”
The online learning industry is massive and projected to continue growing. According to a 2019 Global Market Insights, Inc. report, the global e-learning market is estimated to surpass USD 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. While there are tribal organizations and interest groups that offer webinars, including the popular Native Learning Center run by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, ndgenius is the first online course marketplace of its kind, and its founder believes that as broadband access increases, and with nearly 3 out of 4 Native Americans living in urban areas, there will be enough of an interested audience for the platform for it to succeed.
“Imagine what people can accomplish given an easy way to share knowledge and skills across tribal communities,” says Andolsun. “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.”
ndgenius officially launches today, and can be visited online at www.ndgenius.com.