Headline Oct 15, 2014/

O* Traditiona​l Universiti​es : 

''' GET REAL ! '''

SO, an army of new  online   courses is scaring the wits out of traditional universities. But can they find a business model?

'This lecture thus, is brought to you by......................!

For Udacity,  in contrast, working with companies to train existing and future employees is now the heart of its business model.

It has tie-ups with several firms, including Google.

It recently formed a partnership with AT&T, along with Gerogia Tech, to offer a Master's degree in computer science.

Course materials will be free,  but students will pay around  $ 7,000 for tuition.

Edex is taking yet another tack, selling its  MOOC technology to universities like Stanford,  both to create their own MOOC offering and:

To make physically attending university more attractive, by augmenting existing technology.

Allison an Irish provider of free, mostly vocational education founded in  2007, before  MOOCs got their name, is generating plenty of revenue by selling advertising on its site.

''Ads propelled Radio and TV, why not education? There is a lot of misplaced snobbery in education about advertising,''  says Mike Feerick, Alison's founder.

Another important category of  MOOC providers are publishers, says  Rob Lytle of the  Parthenon Group, a consultancy.

He says firms like Pearson that run educational businesses such as textbook publishing may thrive by offering free  MOOCs  as  a way to get people to buy their related paid content. 

Besides the uncertainty over which  business model, if any, will produce profits, there is a disagreement over how big the market will be.

Some see a zero or negative-sum game, in which cheap  online  providers radically reduce the cost of higher education and drive many traditional institutions to the wall. 

Others believe this effect will be dwarfed by the dramatic increase in access to higher education that the MOOCS will bring.

Mr Feerick predicts that the market will be commoditised, spelling trouble for many institutions.

But Anant Agarwal the boss of Edx, reckons the MOOC providers will be more like online airline-booking services, expanding the market by providing the customers experience.

Sebastian Thrun,  Udacity's co-founder, thinks the effect will be similar in magnitude to what the creations of cinema did to demand for staged fiction:

He predicts    tenfold increase in the market for higher education.

Sceptics point to the  MOOCS'  high drop-out rates, which in some cases exceed 90%. 

But Coursera  and Udacity  both insist that this reflects the different expectations of consumers of free products, who can browse costlessly.

Both firms have now studied  drop-out rates for those students who start with the stated intention of finishing, and found that the vast majority of them complete the courses.

Besides LearnCapital,  a Silicon Valley venture firm, and the World Bank's International Finance Corporation, the participants in Coursera's  $43 million fund-raising included Laureate an operator of  for-profit  universities.

Doug Backer, its boss, reckons that many established universities will soon offer credits towards their degrees for those who complete  MOOCS.

He thinks this will drive a dramatic reduction in the price of traditional higher education, that will reduce the total revenues of existing providers by far more than revenue gained by the start-ups.

Still, if  MOOCS  reduce the cost of higher-education by one-third, as he predicts, yet only earn for themselves  1%  of that benefit, that would:

''Still be a very nice business,''  he says.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the Developing world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Chipping At  Evils Foundation '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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