How to make a textbook broker’s dream come true.
A college professor at the University of Virginia recently took that dream and ran with it.
After graduating with a degree in economics and international relations, Phyllis Johnson graduated in December with a master’s degree in education.
But she was working in the fields of education and management when she decided to start her own business to help students earn their degrees and become teachers.
“I started teaching in the fall of 2012, and it was a very exciting time,” Johnson told The Washington Post.
“We were just learning how to run a business.”
In August 2013, Johnson began teaching online courses for students in the United Kingdom.
But when the class was over, Johnson realized she had more to offer.
“We were kind of in a different situation than most universities,” Johnson said.
“So we decided to take that opportunity and make it into an education-focused business.”
Johnson says her classes were popular and that she received many offers from colleges and universities across the country.
Now, she is launching her own online education company.
The business, called TextbookBroker, will offer online classes for students across the U.S. and Canada.
“A lot of schools are starting to offer courses online, so that’s a huge step forward,” Johnson explained.
“That’s what we are going to be building upon.”
The company will also offer online courses at other institutions, like the University at Buffalo, which has launched a class on online learning called Coursera.
Johnson said her goal is to make the classes available at schools that are underserved, or under-served.
“The idea is to help these students access the world and find a way to get a degree,” Johnson stated.
Johnson’s online education business will provide classes that focus on teaching in a way that is fun, engaging, and efficient, and is accessible to students from all socioeconomic backgrounds.
She said she has received interest from universities, colleges, and other employers.
“It’s not a one-size-fits-all,” Johnson added.
“It’s a little different for each school.”
Johnson is not the first online education entrepreneur to create a textbook business.
A former Microsoft executive in the late 2000s launched TextbookBuddy, an online textbook business that is still in operation today.
Johnson is also the co-founder of the nonprofit education company, The New York Times Higher Education Research Institute.
Johnson plans to keep the company going, as she wants to expand it to other countries and countries across the world.
“This is really about expanding the curriculum and expanding the horizons of these students and helping them find the best courses they can get,” Johnson noted.
“I am not trying to start a textbook broker or anything like that, but I think there is a huge opportunity for education to be more accessible and accessible to everyone.”
The business will also be able to offer online training courses for people who have a specific skill that they want to improve on.
Johnson plans to expand this to more than just online classes.
“If you’re looking to be a teacher, a professional teacher, someone who is doing a lot of research, a historian, an artist, or someone who wants to be in a position of leadership,” Johnson asserted.
“All these skills are really important.”
Johnson also believes that a textbook company should be a job creator.
“Every time you open a textbook brokerage, you create jobs for people that can then be exported,” Johnson concluded.
“And they’re going to make sure that they create a sustainable business.”
For more education news, visit The New Yorker’s Education section.