MOOCs, Money and Other Conversations

MOOCThe discussions from the "Academia and the MOOC" course I did this past spring with Mary Zedeck in Canvas Network has continued in our LinkedIn group. The topic of money continues to pop up - money to take them, create them, offer them and, of course, the desire to profit by offering them. 
So far, the profits from offering MOOCs has been more of a discussion than a reality with many offerings still being free and not bring income to the provider, but that is changing, especially with Coursera.

Some comments from members of the LInkedIn group illustrate topics of interest:

  • I am not a big fan of Blackboard. It's teacher centered, it's slow to pick up on new development and whenever you need something it turns out that the university does not have he correct subscription for that tool. So I'm not surprised they are just coming now into the game and will not be surprised by bad user interface. But on the other hand I believe in plurality and competition so let the best win.

  • Bb gets lots of bad press, as I would expect no matter whoever is the leader in the LMS field. To me the news is that they are furthering their attachment to MOOCs. I have taken several that use their Coursesites (Open SUNY) and it was fine.

  • It's interesting that Daphne Koller (Coursera) said that they have no interest in being an LMS or competing with Blackboard or Canvas.

  • I have a lot of love for the open Moodle and Sakai. Canvas seems to me to be between those two open and the commercial world.

  • Hype about MOOC still dominates academic discussions everywhere! The world (at least the part that cares about education and that is interested in the technology assisted education) is split in two large categories: those who endorse the concept and those who fiercely refute it. But there is a third category: those who sit on the fence and wait for time to pass and unfold the future of MOOCs

  • In the interview given to Chris Parr on 27 June 2013, president of edX, Anant Agarwal said
    “I have had five start-up companies in my career…so I do see making money as a good thing, but for me and the edX founding partners – MIT and Harvard University – education is a basic human right that everyone should have access to”

  • Looking back on this MOOC period in 10 years, I think we might see that they will still exist in small numbers as truly massive and open online courses fulfilling a need for learning opportunities for people interested in learning, but not as interested in credits or degrees.

  • We will also see that universities and commercial interests will have co-opted the MOOC model to maintain their interests.

  • I believe they will change the way we do online education much more than they will change teaching pedagogy. My caveat to that is that I do think they will move us further towards teacher as facilitator of learning and less as the center and source of knowledge. That is a good thing.

  • I find it increasingly interesting that each MOOC I have taken has been populated by a large number of foreign students. It would seem that MOOCs are very important to this "massive" population which, perhaps, doesn't have the same access to higher education in their own countries.

  • I am currently looking at the concepts around monetizing MOOCs. I have not seen a lot of information around placing Ads such as Adsense within course pages. My motivation is that participation in MOOCs could be monetized to either raise money for a specific charity related to the course content (there might be more takers than running a marathon!) or to establish some funding for scholarships which would reduce the economic barriers to attending higher education.

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