Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Swope argues: MOOCs can be free and profitable

For EdTech Magazine, John Swope argues that massive open online courses can be free and profitable at the same time.
“Critics argue that the meteoric rise of MOOCs will eventually collapse under the weight of a few key weaknesses — namely, high attrition rates and a lack of participation from underprivileged students. These criticisms, however, ignore the market forces that led to the rise of MOOCs in the first place and will continue to support the movement going forward.”
Swope acknowledges that MOOCs are expensive to produce, stating that in many cases, a single course can cost its institution more than $100,000. But he argues that MOOCs are reuseable and the cost to produce a MOOC is incurred only one time.

MOOCs can also offer a “certification track,” with the option to purchase an official certificate upon successful completion of the course.

Swope believes that if MOOCs are to live up to their potential and bring high-quality education to underserved student populations, they must continue to be available for free or nearly free. He believes that economic forces make a strong case for keeping MOOCs as part of the educational landscape.

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