The future of MOOC platforms? Money money money

I always enjoy reading Alex Usher’s “One Thought to Start Your Day” which uses a dollars-and-cents lense to look at important issues in higher education.  In his post The Future of MOOCs: Coursera and EdX, Usher ponders the likelihood (high, in his view) that venture capital fueling Coursera may dry up soon unless Coursera finds a way to make its investors money, fast.  “…Unless [Coursera’s] Signature Track enrolments jump 20-fold, or [venture capital] burn rates fall significantly, or unicorns arrive with magic revenue streams,  …Coursera has got maybe 15 months before the VCs pull the plug.”

Should that happen, this will open the door for EdX, Coursera’s main remaining competitor in higher-ed (and not funded by venture capital) to pick up the pieces.  Usher see the benefits: “Once we clear the VCs out of the MOOC discussion, we can ask clearer questions about the uses of MOOCs, without getting tied up in ideological debates about whether they are neo-liberal whatsit, and yadda yadda.  And that’s important, because the potential benefits of these tools are worth examining.”

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