FutureLearn & the role of MOOCs

Martin Weller, Program for Online Teaching, Sept 23, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

It makes me grumble but I couldn't have expected anything else from a university: "Martin Bean... pitched MOOCs as a shop-window. That's a sustainable business model for universities. We've found that OpenLearn is more or less sustainable now as a recruitment channel." It's not with cynicism that I grumble - it would have been a bit much to see universities touting something that would ultimately replace universities. EdX, too, is touted as a recruiting tool.  I just grumble because I think we can do more and better. But I also chuckle, because as Weller says here, it's bad news for the venture capitalists - because , on the one hand, they need universities in order to make their MOOC platforms work, but they need to be able to replace universities to make the big money they dream of (otherwise, they're just competing in the small space already occupied by Blackboard and Moodle and Desire2Learn and Pearson - good luck with that). I think MOOCs (or something like them) ultimately will be disruptive, but slow and steady rules the day. See also: FutureLearn: building a platform.

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