Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are changing the business models of higher education in the UK and elsewhere in the World. They are attractive in the developing World in South America, Africa, China where there is a huge unmet need for education, and were first pioneered in America where recently in 2011 Stanford University offered three free online courses. In late 2012 the Open University launched its own MOOC provider here in the UK, and a few other high education institutions are following suit. But when learning is offered free to the user online are established business models fit for purpose?
In this special podcast the Director of the Cambridge Service Alliance, Professor Andy Neely, discusses how both public and private sector providers need to work more closely together to share standardised platforms rather than competing to provide different online courses. Professor Neely says that there is a role for organisations to provide the infrastructure and support to help disseminate course material, but that not every university needs to develop the same MOOC, they should work together and share their high quality content.
Professor Neely Quote:
“There could be a smaller number of high quality MOOCs that multiple institutions could use. You could see a scenario where the business model allows people to sign up for the MOOC and get the content free, but they are then asked to pay for the examination and certification. Effectively what they are buying is the certification that says “yes”, they have completed that particular programme. They are buying the branding, the accreditation and the quality standard. You could also imagine private sector firms paying for the content and design of MOOCs for use in their organisations in the same way that they currently pay for executive education. There are different possible models and it is a fascinating time to see which of those models will prevail.”