xMOOC or Publishing Paradigm?

Originally posted: November 14, 2012 – Blog rebuilt: April 20, 2014

I have been pondering the current School as a Service (SAAS) shake up with the purchase of Embanet-Compass by Pearson and the purchase of Deltak by Wiley. Then I learned that McGraw-Hill is being acquired (perhaps) by Apollo Group (not the University of Phoenix).

All three of these acquisitions are a blend of traditional publishers and online education service providers. And, as the publishers of yore are headed toward the light of the hyper-connected mobile generation(s), where laptops, tablets, and smartphones are the norm, the new models emerge.

Once upon a time there were cMOOCs. Connectivism was born out of the need to democratize education by making it free, open, and crowd-sourcing knowledge like has been done in the open source community with code for YEARS.  Some call it an experiment, some think of it as the “new” model, and some saw it as an opportunity to jump the shark and create a new publishing paradigm.

Recently Antioch announced that they would be licensing content from Coursera, adding instruction, and awarding credit. The first university to announce granting credit for MOOCs. Then the A-ha moment, where you suddenly realize this was never about Open or Free, it was about:

  1. Professor Brand
  2. Institution Brand
  3. A new method of publishing digital content
  4. Developing a method to monetize the content

Yesterday, Mark McGuire shared with me via Twitter how Coursera would be able to profit from free courses.

  • Certifications – students pay money to receive a certification after they have achieved competency from their free learning. (i.e. a badge or pdf document provided by a university or from a recognized badging system)
  • Authentic assessments – students pay money to have their learning assessed and certified at a physical testing site. i.e. assessment centers
  • Recruitment – companies pay money to access student course results to identify potential employees that match the company’s recruitment needs.
  • Screening – companies and educational institutions pay money to gain access to student records to verify that a level of knowledge or expertise has been attained. This would allow access to the company’s recruitment processes or ensure a university course acceptance.
  • Human tutoring – students pay a tutor to help them achieve the desired learning outcomes from the free courses.
  • Corporate learning – companies pay money to get customized courses using the free content and to access special features that help their employees gain necessary skills.
  • Sponsorship – sponsors pay money to have their appropriate advertising appear beside course materials. (i.e. textbook publishers)
  • Tuition fees – students pay tuition fees for advanced level learning (after completing the free introductory course) or gaining specialized skills relating to high paying jobs.

Source: http://www.gilfuseducationgroup.com/coursera-will-profit-from-free-courses

And, I guess Dr. Alec Couros was right, this technology thing isn’t going away. Are you onboard?


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