MOOC and Open Education

A wonderful paper on MOOC and Open Education.

The authors conclude:

The popularity of MOOCs has attracted a great deal of attention from HE institutions and private investors around the world seeking to build their brands and to enter the education market. Institutions will need to look more closely at and learn from the different initiatives outside traditional institutions that are developing new business, financial and revenue models to meet the different needs of new groups of learners in an open HE marketplace. Open education brings new opportunities for innovation in higher education that will allow institutions and academics to explore new online learning models and innovative practices in teaching and learning. At a national and international level, new frameworks for HE funding structures, quality insurance and accreditation to support different approaches and models for delivering higher education will be required.

Interesting to analyse the difference between sustainable and disruptive innovation – as it seems the current xMOOCs are most viewed as disruptive innovation due to the emergence of new business model.  I think the Theory of disruptive innovative may not  be fully applicable in the case of xMOOCs as the current MOOCs are in partnership with most institutions, which means that they carry high “risks” of failure when the demand of students drops.  This would likely happen when the MOOCs charge fees to students.  There could also be significant impact on traditional institutions when credits are granted to xMOOCs, where students would claim them for their degree courses.  This also could have a multiplier effect when elite institutions soon adopt MOOCs as their main stream delivery, in order to attract more enrollments from all over the world.  Would this lead to another round of severe competition for students and the funding of MOOCs.

What would happen next?  I would predict that MOOCs soon be taken up not only by elite institutions, but also by private and for-profit institutions and venture capitalists.  This would soon lead to a complete privatization and marketization of MOOCs on a much wider scale, likely with developed countries like USA, UK, Australia and Canada.  This would soon lead to “user-choice” based on a “free-market” where governments would need to “waive” for quality and accreditation as the MOOCs are not fees-charging courses.  Would this lead to a significant closure of HE institutions or colleges who couldn’t compete with the MOOCs?  The current trend tends to favor a more teacher-centred approach in xMOOCs where super-rockstar professors and elite institutions would take up 80 -90% market share of MOOCs.

The trend of MOOCs also clearly indicates that privatization would soon happen, and that those institutions who do not adapt to such competition would soon has to change its vision and mission to embrace online education and learning in order to survive.