An Economic Appraisal of MOOC Platforms: Business Models and Impacts on Higher Education

27 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2014

See all articles by Paul Belleflamme

Paul Belleflamme

CORE and Louvain School of Management, UCL (Université Catholique de Louvain); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Julien Jacqmin

HEC School of Management

Date Written: September 10, 2014

Abstract

We start by using various economic and pedagogical concepts to understand the specificities of MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses) platforms. We then discuss how the private provision of MOOCs, seen as pure public goods, can be sustained. Based on the theory of multisided platforms, we analyse five ways to monetize the MOOC business. Our conclusion is that the most sustainable approach is what we call the ‘subcontractor model’, flavored by touches of the other four models. We then claim that MOOC platforms can play a key transformative role in the higher education sector by making teaching practices evolve, rather than by replacing incumbent institutions. Finally, we derive a number of directions for public policy: governments should act to foster the cooperation between MOOC platforms and other higher education institutions, so as to improve the benefits that can arise from these technological innovations; a particular focus should also be given to professors in order to encourage them to innovate in their teaching practices.

Keywords: higher education, distance learning, multisided platforms

JEL Classification: I23, I21, L31, L86

Suggested Citation

Belleflamme, Paul and Jacqmin, Julien, An Economic Appraisal of MOOC Platforms: Business Models and Impacts on Higher Education (September 10, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2537270 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2537270

Paul Belleflamme (Contact Author)

CORE and Louvain School of Management, UCL (Université Catholique de Louvain) ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://perso.uclouvain.be/paul.belleflamme/Site/Home.html

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Julien Jacqmin

HEC School of Management ( email )

Bâtiment B31 quartier Agora
Place des Orateurs
Liège, 4000
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/jacqminjulien/

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