An Economic Appraisal of MOOC Platforms: Business Models and Impacts on Higher Education
27 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2014
Date Written: September 10, 2014
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: Suggested Citation