The Business of MOOCs: A model towards shared Management, Governance and Implementation

Posted by Bongani Khoza

Higher Education institutions are in the process of deliberating and debating on the best practices on the governance, management and implementation of MOOCs. Judging from the online articles there seems to be no best practice guiding Higher Education institutions on integrating and choosing a MOOC business model to work with.

There are numerous MOOC platforms providers that institutions can choose to be part of, and all of them have their unique business models. The different types of business models that are offered by major MOOC platform providers such as Coursera, Udacity and edX, seem to inform different Higher Education institutions direction and adoption of ways they themselves manage, govern and implement their MOOC offerings. I do recognize that apart from the major players mentioned above, some institutions and organizations’ do choose to build, manage and implement their own MOOC platforms, ultimately the MOOC business models created by the various MOOC providers take some form of the above mentioned major platform providers.

In some instances the management, governance and implementation of MOOCs within different Higher Education institutions is usually informed by the early adopters of academics offering their courses online who have been and are doing it voluntarily with the hope of monetising students’ skills, and help their students get 21st century jobs. In addition to using online courses as a testing mechanism to existing or newly formed courses to measure the effectiveness of academic staff teaching methodologies in a variety of delivering models.

In essence the governance, management and implementation of MOOCs is multi-layered. MOOCs as a business model ask questions to traditionally state subsidized mainly Higher Education institutions and therefore ask both state and institutions to rethink their funding models, these but not limited to income generated from student tuition, what are students actually paying for. Especially, in an online course MOOC platforms create a landscape for loosening classroom pressures in a sense that content of the course is always available, always-replayable (Lewin).

I would conclude by saying that the management, governance and implementation of MOOCs is driven by the answers to the following questions; who is paying and for what they are paying for? in addition to MOOCs being offered for profit or not profit.

Posted by Bongani Khoza


6 responses on "The Business of MOOCs: A model towards shared Management, Governance and Implementation"

  1. Bongani, a challenge is that there has not been much research on MOOC’s (implementation, impact, etc), especially in South Africa. There are many people that are not even aware of MOOC’s, people within education. Institutions/ platforms like Higher Education, UMALUSI, SAQA, universities, TVET colleges, etc. need to buy in and support MOOC’s.

  2. Thank you for the post Bongani. I agree with the challenges mentioned by @wilma. There is a general lack of engagement within the MOOCs arena by the key educational bodies (SAQA, DoE, DHET, etc… ). One way of solving this might be for online learning enthusiasts to produce a workable model and present to them. Any thoughts on this idea, anyone?

  3. Interesting @bongani. What MOOCs model would you recommend for South African universities?

  4. Hi, I also agree, being new in this field, I have been finding that most research around online learning, MOOCs, Blended learning, is largely concentrated outside South Africa, and the structures that govern Higher Education and education in general a lagging behind in updating their policies and criteria.
    A model at the moment I think we need to get the blending model right first or at least attempt to make it work

  5. Bongani, I agree – the blending model is the way to go.

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