I posted on FB: In the business education history, few could survive for profits in a century. But for non-profits, such education survived for centuries. Lesson: Aim for non-profit.
Gillian Palmer The question is: where do the funds come from to keep the staff and the profs from starving, the buildings or internet from collapsing? No problem with non- or not-for profits provided the source of funds is as clear as for-profits. Academic freedom in all versions requires clarity.
Isn’t it true that OERs, open access softwares, Open Access Journals and articles and social media wouldn’t be able to survive for long if they are for profits only? Take a look at the current social media or blogging systems, such as Twitter, Google, Google +, Blog, TED, Youtube etc., aren’t they offered for “free” for the moment? We also noted many services which are not profitable or aiming for profits only may easily be replaced by the free-services at this digital era, due mainly to the disruption of innovative technology like internet, and mobiles.
If we are to learn from such introduction and marketing of technology innovation, then we need to consider strategies in launching MOOCs with the same principles. The best marketing strategies to position MOOCs would be to aim for non-profit. Profits would follow if these MOOCs matured into a critical mass, though this would attract hundreds of Venture Capitalists to invest into them.
How is MOOC positioned? Stars – Cash Cows? What is critical from an educational point of view is not the profits, but to treat it as a star. The current intake is high, though it could become a cash cow once the MOOCs captured the main markets.
Picture: Google Image
We have already seen MOOCs from a short historical perspective, where the first few cMOOCs were all free and open (CCKs, PLENK, CritLit, MobileMOOCs, and Change11), followed by the xMOOCs – Artificial Intelligence (AI), Udacity, Coursera, and edX.
So, there may be a need to re-write the economic theory of demand and supply with MOOCs, mainly because MOOCs would be very difficult to sustain under a complex ecology, when new entrants and agents start to disrupt the MOOC ecology from time to time.
What are the strategies that could be used to aim for non-profit MOOCs?
(1) The use of social media as a platform to ensure such MOOCs are sustainable in the long run, though a strategic employment of those social media is necessary.
(2) Investment by government or education authorities, by setting MOOCs institutions similar to the current MOOCs but with a more adaptive and flexible education system to create MOOCs, in partnership with Higher Education Institutions. This requires a bold, ground breaking approach as it could have a side effect of impacting on academic freedom and autonomy of Higher Education Institutions.
(3) Development of MOOCs research and learning consortium based on non-profits criteria, where professors, researchers, teachers, instructional designers and education developers would develop self-sustainable MOOCs. These MOOCs would be project or problem based, with the support from relevant interested parties – from Higher Education Institutions, business enterprises, government bodies, and learning networks.