MOOC Business Plans are Changing

January 30, 2016

Just thought I would post a few MOOC articles that I have been reading lately. Some seem noteworthy.

First of all, I am enjoying reading the blog posts from Class Centralfrom time-to-time. Three of them from the end of December are listed below. One article has the top searches, courses, MOOC universities, languages, and other trends. Another has the five big MOOC trends: 1. The Rise of Self-Paced Courses; 2. The Death of Free Certificates; 3. MOOCs Targeted at High Schoolers; 4. Big MOOC Providers Find their Business Models; and 5. Big Funding Rounds to Accelerate Growth. I can definitely see these trends in my research and travel; especially the rise of self-paced courses and more MOOCs at the high school level.

Secondly, yesterday Inside Higher Ed had an article (The Limits of Open) wherein Coursera has changed their business model. Now free courses have a “view-only” access to graded assignments. You must pay for that. The video lectures, discussion boards, and practice quizzes remain free. And Coursera have “specializations” which you pay by the course ($79) or prepay the entire program (e.g., $474 How to Start Your Own Business). Read the article.

Some people do not seem too pleased about this. George Siemens points out that with these new business models that MOOC companies like Coursera seem to be addressing the venture capital providers instead of primarily targeting the larger goal of increasing access to education. He goes on to say: "“It is dismaying to see the so-called Silicon Valley ‘hypesters’ and geniuses failing to deliver on promised change,” wrote Siemens, who previously helped organize the MOOC Research Initiative, a research grant project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “The deep pool of a visionary and re-architected future ended up being about as thick as a dollar bill.” Of course, these are likely short quotes from a much longer interview and he probably had much more to say and no quote entirely represents what a person has actually said. But, still, it is interesting. Read the arti cle!

These are just some of the recent MOOC news. As always, there is much much more. But I thought I would keep this blog post short. I have been invited to give a spotlight session on MOOCs and Open Education at the annual Wisconsin Distance Teaching and Learning Conference in Madison. I will likely go. See some of you there perhaps.
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