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Massive open online courses and economic sustainability
Liyanagunawardena, Tharindu R. · Lundqvist, Karsten O. · Williams, Shirley Ann

PublishedDecember 2015
JournalEuropean Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning
Volume 18, Issue 2, Pages 95-112

ABSTRACT
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.

Abstract in Danish
Millioner af brugere fra hele verden har registreret deres deltages til MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). Der er hundredvis af universiteter (og andre organisationer) som tilbyder MOOCs. Det koster titusindervis af kroner at lave og udbyde en MOOC. Lige nu kan indkomsten fra MOOCs ikke dække disse omkostninger. Derfor er MOOCs i fare, og deres levedygtighed bør undersøges. Der er mange forskellige typer omkostninger, såsom udviklings omkostninger, videreudviklings omkostninger og undervisnings støtte. Den mest populære indkomst i dag er salg af certifikater, disse s’lges af alle de lederende MOOC udbydere.
I denne artikle vil forfatterne undersøge andre alternative indkomst mulgheder og undersøge deres respektive fordele og ulemper, via en litterær gennemgang suppleret med personlige observationer og oplevelser fra MOOC deltagelse og udvikling. Diverse indkomst muligheder bliver undersøgt: Freemium modeller inspireret af mobil telefon spil, sponsorships, tilskud, donationer, salg af forskellige typer varer og undervisningsmaterialer, selektive reklamer, deling af data, opfølgnings møder og turer, samt indkomster fra henvisninger. Denne artikle bruger et perspektiv baseret på den individuelle MOOC, dette perspektiv står i modsætning til den hidtidige literære fokusering på MOOC udbyderes levedygtighed, selvom der er en tæt sammenknytning mellem disse perspektiver.

Abstract in Romanian
Milioane de utilizatori din întreagă lume şi-au arătat interesul pentru Massive Open Online Courses (cursurile online deschise şi în masă) oferite de către sute de universități şi alte organizații la nivel mondial. A crea şi a oferi astfel de cursuri implică costuri de mii de lire sterline. în prezent, însă, veniturile generate de către aceste cursuri MOOC nu sunt suficient de mari pentru a acoperi costurile. Sustenabilitatea acestor cursuri a devenit o problemă presantă, întrucât trebuiesc suportate costurile directe de creare, costurile de întreținere pentru a menține conținutul relevant, precum şi costurile de a le menține în stare de funcționare. în prezent, mulți furnizori de acest tip de învățământ adoptă un model de afaceri care percepe o taxă de certificare a studiilor.
în acest raport, autorii explorează modelele de afaceri posibile pentru cursuri, impreună cu avantajele şi dezavantajele lor, prin efectuarea unui studiu de literatură şi aplicarea perspectivelor personale obținute din participarea la diverse foruri de discuții MOOC. Unele modele de afaceri discutate aici sunt: modelul Freemium, sponsorizări, inițiative şi subvenții, donații, mărfuri, vânzarea de materiale suplimentare, publicitate selectivă, impărtăsirea de date, evenimente ulterioare, şi venituri din recomandări. Această lucrare analizează sustenabilitatea cursurilor MOOCS, spre deosebire de durabilitatea platformelor MOOC, precum şi legătura stransă dintre cele două.

Abstract in Portuguese
Milhões de usuários ao redor do mundo têm se registado em cursos online abertos e massivos (MOOCs) oferecidos por centenas de universidades (e outras organizações) em todo o mundo. Criar e oferecer esses cursos custa milhares de libras. No entanto, atualmente, a receita gerada por MOOCs não é suficiente para compensar estes custos. A sustentabilidade dos MOOCs é uma preocupação constante como eles incorrem não só os custos de criação iniciais, mas também os custos de manutenção para manter o conteúdo relevante, bem como os custos de suporte e facilitação enquanto um curso está em execução. Atualmente, a cobrança de uma taxa para o certificado esta sendo um modelo de negócio adotado por muitas plataformas de ensino.
Neste artigo, os autores exploram possíveis modelos de negócio para os cursos, junto com suas vantagens e desvantagens, através da realização de um estudo de literatura e aplicação de conhecimentos pessoais adquiridos através da participação em vários fóruns de discussão em Moocs. Alguns modelos de negócios discutidos aqui são: o modelo Freemium, patrocínios, iniciativas e subvenções, doações, produtos comerciais, a venda de material suplementar, a publicidade, o compartilhamento de dados, eventos, e as receitas a partir de referências. Este documento analisa a sustentabilidade dos MOOCS em oposição à sustentabilidade das plataformas de ensino que offerece os Mooc, enquanto observa a estreita ligação entre eles.

Abstract in French
Des millions d’utilisateurs du monde entier ont recours aux MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) proposés par des centaines d’universités et d’autres organisations dans le monde. Créer et mettre à disposition ces cours entraine de grandes dépenses, mais les revenus générés actuellement par les MOOCs ne suffisent pas à couvrir les frais de production. Assurer la viabilité des MOOCs est une préoccupation majeure en raison des coûts initiaux de création, des coûts d’entretien pour actualiser les contenus, et des coûts de maintenance des réseaux permettant d’accéder aux MOOCs. À l’heure actuelle, faire payer une contribution pour attester du suivi d’une formation à la fin d’un cours semble être un modèle populaire adoptée par les principaux fournisseurs de plates-formes.
Dans ce document de position, les auteurs identifieront les divers modèles d’affaires possibles pour financer les cours, en analysant leurs avantages et leurs inconvénients, dans le cadre d’une étude réalisée à base de documents, enrichie par des visions personnelles acquises a force de suivre des divers forums de discussion sur les MOOCs. Les modèles d’affaires analysés dans cette étude incluent le Freemium, les partenariats, les subventions, les dons, le marchandisage, la vente des produits complémentaires, la publicité sélective, le partage de données, des événements associés, et les recettes provenant de parrainages. Cette étude se penche sur la viabilité des MOOCS par opposition à la viabilité des plates-formes qui hébergent les MOOCs, tout en observant le lien étroit entre les deux.

Keywords business models · return on investment · sustainability

ISSN1027-5207
Rights© 2015 EDENThis 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:By submitting their articles, the Authors agree that EDEN has the right to publish and archive their materials on the EURODL website which will also be indexed and displayed at the ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) Database and by DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals).
URLhttp://www.eurodl.org/?p=current&article=709
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