The education site Noodle is putting a new twist on helping colleges create online degree and certificate programs with its creation of Noodle Partners, announced on Wednesday.

Noodle Partners, the brainchild of the Princeton Review founder John Katzman, is an enabler -- a company that helps colleges build online-education programs. Several other companies provide similar services, one of them being 2U, also founded by Mr. Katzman.

But Noodle Partners is different from other enablers, said Jodi Rothstein, the company’s chief product officer . It helps colleges to assemble, rather than build, platforms, collaborating with a variety of vendors to develop online-education programs, Ms. Rothstein said.

She sees room in the marketplace for both Noodle Partners and 2U. With existing enablers, it’s “all or nothing,” Ms. Rothstein said, but with Noodle Partners, colleges can pick and choose what they want.

“We’re giving a lot more control back to the universities. We’re letting them spend a little bit less money and make decisions about how they want things to be done in a slightly better way,” Ms. Rothstein said. “They have to do more work, but they get to pay less money.”


If a college doesn’t have internal resources to get a program started on its own, working with 2U would be ideal in that the company takes care of everything, allowing a college to get a quality online-education program up and running quickly. But if the college has some resources of its own that it would like to incorporate and wants to retain more control, Noodle Partners would be a better fit, Ms. Rothstein said.

Other enabler companies have required colleges to enter lengthy contracts and commit to giving away a significant amount of the tuition revenue — often 60 percent or more — to get online programs up and running quickly, Ms. Rothstein said. But Noodle Partners will build programs at a much lower price; Noodle Partners estimates its approach will cut costs for colleges in half.