Much has been made of MOOC’s or Massively Open Online Courses, and the recent successes of Coursera and Udacity , amongst others. With students enrolling in the hundreds of thousands for Courses like ‘Artificial Intelligence 101’ and millions of Private Equity and or University Endowment $$’s being committed to this ‘future-of-the-University’, it is understandable that the pioneers of this model would be facing an immense amount of pressure to deliver.
All the more reason that FastCompany’s recent article on Udacity’s founder and Stanford Professor , Sebastian Thrun , comes as no surprise.
In the aftermath of a failed experiment at providing San Jose State University credit to Udacity students for certain courses, Udacity has pivoted its business model, and intends to now target Corporate sponsored diplomas and trainings instead. The article mentions a Georgia Tech Doiploma for AT&T employees, paid for by AT&T, in the hopes of “getting access to a new pool of well-trained engineers”.
Its important to note that the United States views MOOC’s or indeed the entire higher ed ‘challenge’ differently form the developing / under developed world. For them, its primarily a cost problem. Tuition fees are high enough to put most students into debt for several years after they Graduate. MOOC’s seemed to offer a solution, delivering high quality courses and content at free or ‘next to free’ price points.
Countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the rest of South East Asia and much of Africa on the other hand, have a demand and supply problem. We simply don’t have enough Colleges and Universities (that meet a certain benchmark of quality) to educate our youth.
Affordability is lesser of an issue than availability and accessibility. Hopefully, the coming few years will see that improve.
P.S U18 is proud to run its own MOOC, uglobal.org , providing free certificate programs from its Partner Universities , including Don Bosco University and IGNOU . With upwards of 3000 students in its first few months, uGlobal is firmly on its way to becoming the largest initiative of its kind in this part of the World.