Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Universities typically outsource services peripheral to their main mission, such as bookstores and cafeterias, and online program management (OPM) was one of them. But in recent years, as online programs became much more central to the university mandate, the role of the OPM was called into question, for example, as a means for the 'conversion' of non-profit institutions to for-profit enterprises. This report (52 page PDF) is a level-headed analysis from researchers at Penn State. It begins with a working definition of OPM as "as the outsourcing of a suite of services that leads the external provider to participate in the management of the online program" (you may want to look at this report by Margaret Mattes which links to analyzes more than 100 outsourcing contracts). The report describes OPM companies, identifies reasons people have put forward to regulate the industry, and looks at policy gaps and possible regulatory avenues. Via Phil Hill.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Sept 27, 2023 12:44 a.m.

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