This ‘Need-to-Know’ blog post series features noteworthy stories that speak of need-to-know developments within higher education and K-12 that have the potential to influence, challenge and/or transform traditional education as we know it.
The MOOC Market
What is the size of the market for xMOOCs? I’m not sure anyone really knows, not even the MOOC providers. The size of a market for a good or service is defined as the number of individuals in a market who are potential buyers. Market size also translates into dollars, typically measured in terms of revenue ($ sales) for a given product/service. Companies—sellers in the market seek to obtain a share, or a piece of the pie.
Since for-profit MOOC providers such as Udacity, Coursera and even not-for-profit edX now charge fees for select courses and/or services, we have ourselves a market—a MOOC market. But how big is it? How much revenue ($$$) will MOOC providers need to generate to satisfy investors or in edX’s case keep the lights on? Only time will tell. But in the meantime it’s probably a good idea for educators to take note of what’s happening in the MOOC market.
Here’s a rundown of what MOOC providers are doing to get a share of the market share pie:
- EdX launched five courses this under the banner of Professional Education. Though they come with a price, starting at $495.
Build skills and advance your career with edX Professional Education courses. Taught by experts at leading universities, our courses are designed to offer working professionals flexible online learning. Check out the courses currently available for enrollment, and stay tuned as we announce more in the coming months. —email to edX students, October 17 2014
- Coursera is counting on the Specialization Certificate programs for a revenue stream. A Specialization Certificate program features two or more MOOCs grouped around a specific topic, described by Coursera as a “targeted sequence of courses”.
At completion of the course series, students will feel they have a connection to today’s workplace with a focus on using real work issues and situations as a practical context for the application of needed knowledge and skills in communication. The culminating experience of the final project will help the students to demonstrate their value to potential employers. Coursera—Specializations
- Udacity launched the nanodegree program several weeks ago. Details are now available. The cost structure is not per course as edX and Coursera, but by month. This format closely resembles competency-based education programs (e.g. Western Governors University), where students invest as much time as needed to master the content of a course. Students then demonstrate via competency assessment where mastery is the benchmark.
You can take a nanodegree for $200/month. Most nanodegrees are expected to take between 6-12 months to complete, depending on your study schedule and prior background. For more details, check the overview page for the nanodegree that you’re interested in getting. Nanodegrees —Udacity
Insight: Soon we’ll need to drop the ‘O’ (for open) from the MOOC acronym. Perhaps the ‘M’ too, given potentially shrinking class sizes once a price is attached to ‘free’ learning. We will be left with ‘OC’, for Open Course. Or maybe for Online Credential. An online credential that one pays dearly for.
- How Does Coursera Make Money?, Dhawal Shah
- E-Learning Startup Udacity Raises $35M to Launch ‘Nanodegrees’, Lizette Chapman
- Top MOOC provider edX no longer free for all, Tim Dodd
- Corporate Training Gets an Online Refresh, Melissa Korn
Minerva Raises More Funds $70 M
The Minerva Project, a new university with a novel concept—students study in different locations around the world starting in San Francisco and not in a typical university setting. There’s no classrooms, sports teams, or libraries. Minerva sees itself as an elite university, a rival to the Ivy leagues. It’s for-profit with a diverse set of investors. The founder and CEO is Ben Nelson, former executive of Snapfish.
$70 million to San Francisco based education firm Minerva Project:
“Bringing together partners for this round of funding that include one of the most respected, top quality, and innovative education companies with TAL and the most forward thinking technology investors with Benchmark, ZhenFund and Yongjin, is a powerful combination committing to Minerva’s next stage of development.” Reuters
- Benchmark, TAL and ZhenFund back Minerva Project, Reuters
- Chinese Investors Lead $70M Series B Round in Minerva Project, Edsurge
- Minerva Project, Overview
Insight: I was skeptical of the concept when Minerva first launched, and still am. Apparently investors are not.
The Impact of MOOCs
Inside Higher Education reported on a meeting of an international group of higher education institutions that came together to explore the impact of MOOCs on higher education. The meeting, convened by George Siemens produced some interesting conclusions, though not all surprising including 1) the future for higher education is digital and 2) MOOCs provided safe spaces for experimentation and innovation in teaching and learning and more.
- Impact of MOOCs on Higher Education, Allison Dulin Salisbury