Background and definition

THE MOOC! the movie

The storm

The numbers

Business models?

edX: [For “self-serve model”] edX will collect the first $50,000 generated by the course, or $10,000 for each recurring course. The organization and the university partner will each get 50 percent of all revenue beyond that threshold. …[For a “supported model”] the organization charges a base rate of $250,000 for each new course, plus $50,000 for each time a course is offered for an additional term.

Coursera’s “Possible Monetization Strategies”: “Coursera is following an approach popular among Silicon Valley start-ups: Build fast and worry about money later. …When and if money does come in, the universities will get 6 to 15 percent of the revenue, depending on how long they offer the course (and thus how long Coursera has to profit from it). The institutions will also get 20 percent of the gross profits, after accounting for costs and previous revenue paid. That means the company gets the vast majority of the cash flow.”

Perhaps easier to grasp in notion of MOOC as “loss leader”. Dave Cormier points to example of eCornell using free courses to steer students toward paid programs, and University of Edinburgh using Coursera courses to attract up to 10,000 students to its paid programs.


“Left behind” syndrome

The Artist's Palette in Rotorua

The impact

“How did you go bankrupt?”
“Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
— Ernest Hemingway

Critiques on MOOCs acknowledged, clearly, “the internet is happening to higher education” – George Siemens.


We have seen something like this story before. Hopefully we have learned something. Perhaps this is the flowering of truly open online education.

Higher ed unlikely to disappear altogether (although some seem unduly excited at the prospect), but easy to envision a future with highly disrupted funding models, expectations, scope… Institutions will likely need to demonstrate special value to survive.

UPDATE (March 2013):

Legislation will be introduced in the California Senate on Wednesday that could reshape higher education by requiring the state’s public colleges and universities to give credit for faculty-approved online courses taken by students unable to register for oversubscribed classes on campus.

If it passes, as seems likely, it would be the first time that state legislators have instructed public universities to grant credit for courses that were not their own — including those taught by a private vendor, not by a college or university.
Pearson has released An Avalanche is Coming. (See also, Pearson College)
Deep trouble at Athabaska not likely to be helped by deep and unexpected cuts to Alberta higher education. (A preview of deeper cuts seen in the US?)

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