A new MOOC business plan

Coursera, the company that provides many massive open online courses (MOOCs) to colleges, is apparently changing its business strategy, Washington Monthly reports. The way it used to work was that Coursera would offer students free, online versions of courses taught by professors at elite colleges. The students wouldn’t get academic credit from these institutions but they would potentially get the advantage of the high-quality courses. The company wasn’t really sure how to make money off of the free courses, however, and merely proposed potential revenue strategies, like corporate sponsorship or payment for certifications. Observers assumed that eventually the company would find a plan. … Basically it’s moving away from the “you can take computer programing from a Stanford professor” model to the “freshmen biology at this school will only be offered online” model. It’s also moving away from free. … If the college isn’t going to actually teach a course, why is it even offering it? Is the University of Tennessee going to keep charging students $11,194 a year and then make a profit but not really teaching freshmen courses to students?

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