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Monday, November 25, 2013

Don't Look to MOOCs for Revenue Yet

Massive open online courses will not create revenue, or even save money, according to a study from the American Council on Education (ACE) and InsideTrack. The study was based on interviews with campus administrators and instructors with firsthand experience using MOOCs.

Nearly every instructor participating in the survey said teaching a MOOC was a good experience and 92% are planning to teach more. The respondents just don’t see the courses as a way for their schools to make money, according to a report in eCampus News.

“Don’t view MOOCs as either revenue-generating or cost-saving vehicles,” one administrator wrote. “They are neither.”

That doesn’t mean some professors aren’t trying. Students at the University of Texas at Austin can pay a $550 registration fee to take a psychology MOOC for three credit hours. At the beginning of October, 1,500 students had signed up for what the professors decided to call a synchronous massive online course (SMOC), which could generate $825,000 if all the participants complete the course.

In addition, almost half of administrators and instructors in the ACE/InsideTrack study felt MOOCs were important to help an institution expand its reach and increase access to higher education. More than half of the respondents also said creating a MOOC is important to develop an instructor’s online pedagogy.

“We didn’t jump in to make money,” one respondent wrote. “The business model is intriguing, but we didn’t go in with those expectations and that remains the same. We reached people we wouldn’t have otherwise, and for every student who enrolled there were 10 times as many who looked at us. It’s become a great platform to promote the brand of our institution and aligns with our mission to share knowledge.”

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