Given the hype of national media coverage of massive open online courses (MOOCs), it is refreshing to see more recent analysis looking at important attributes such as revenue models, dropout rates, and instructional design. Steve Kolowich at Inside Higher Ed wrote a revealing and important article looking at early demographic data. Jeff Young at the Chronicle wrote an excellent article about Coursera’s contract with the University of Michigan, along with key insights into Coursera’s and the university’s motivations. Audrey Watters, in response to an article in the Atlantic, asks the tough question of whether we should care about the high dropout rates of current courses offered in this new model.

When analyzing the disruption potential of MOOCs, it is easy to forget that the actual concept is just 4 or 5 years old. Furthermore, the actual definition of the concept has undergone a significant change in the past 12 months as an entirely new branch has emerged.

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