Lessons from the MOOC investment gold rush

Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, Oct 27, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Martin Weller reflects on "this unprecedented amount of investment from universities and venture capitalists" on MOOCs. I'm not sure it was "unprecedented" - I think spending on sports stadia eclipses it by a lot. So did the money poured into technology transfer and commercialization divisions. But still, it was a lot. He writes, "although it was couched in social good, student recruitment, innovating pedagogy, etc I would suggest that the single biggest motivating factor for investing in MOOCs was fear." Could be. I've always felt that if the foundations and the VCs had funded George Siemens and myself, rather than some fast-talkers out of Stanford and MIT, the results would have been very different. But the funders went with the blue-bloods, and thus confirmed my long-held view that investors fund people, not ideas. And they fund mostly people like themselves, an infinite loop of privilege, which has (for them) the side benefit of also sucking in money from the public purse and charitable foundations.

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