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Massive Open Online Courses and economic sustainability

Liyanagunawardena, T. R., Lundqvist, K. O. and Williams, S. A. (2015) Massive Open Online Courses and economic sustainability. European Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 18 (2). pp. 95-111. ISSN 1027-5207

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1515/eurodl-2015-0015

Abstract/Summary

Millions of users around the world have registered on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offered by hundreds of universities (and other organizations) worldwide. Creating and offering these courses costs thousands of pounds. However, at present, revenue generated by MOOCs is not sufficient to offset these costs. The sustainability of MOOCs is a pressing concern as they incur not only upfront creation costs but also maintenance costs to keep content relevant, as well as on-going facilitation support costs while a course is running and re-running. At present, charging a fee for certification seems to be a popular business model adopted by leading platform providers. In this position paper, the authors explore possible business models for courses, along with their advantages and disadvantages, by conducting a literature study and applying personal insights gained from attending various MOOC discussion fora. Some business models discussed here are: the Freemium model, sponsorships, initiatives and grants, donations, merchandise, the sale of supplementary material, selective advertising, data-sharing, follow-on events, and revenue from referrals. This paper looks at the sustainability of MOOCS as opposed to the sustainability of MOOC platforms, while observing the tight link between them.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Computer Science
ID Code:75317
Uncontrolled Keywords:massive open online courses; MOOCs; return on investment; sustainability; business models
Publisher:De Gruyter
Publisher Statement:This journal contributes to the Open Access movement by offering free access to its articles and permitting any users to read, download, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software. The copyright in this domain is shared by authors and EURODL to control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited:

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