MOOC: The Usual Suspects and Some Newer Ones

MOOC Major Players - click to go to original image source

I'm headed to talk as part of a MOOC panel today and looking over my notes I'd say that the major players in MOOCville are the same as a year ago. Coursera, Udacity and edX are still the big names.

The infographic above adds Khan Academy which was doing its thing before MOOC became newsworthy, but not many people thought of Khan Academy as a MOOC. It is still debatable that what they offer can be considered a "course," and their new dashboard makes it seem more of a curriculum. 

It is more interesting to me to look at the new kids on the block.

MOOC2Degree is Academic Partnerships working with public universities to offer credit-bearing MOOCs with the idea of this as a first step and a free start toward earning a degree. They take the initial course in select online degree programs and convert them into a MOOC. They maintain the academic content and instructors and students who successfully complete a MOOC2Degree course earn academic credits toward a degree, based upon criteria established by participating universities.

I taught a MOOC last spring for Canvas Network which is owned by Instructure. Admittedly, I knew very little about Instructure before 2013, although it was founded in 2008 by two BYU graduate students. They are now legitimately one of Blackboard’s biggest competitors.

Blackboard has just been starting to be a player in MOOCville this past year via its CourseSites platform. Blackboard and Canvas both suffer from two problems so far. They don't have the big, elite universities as part of their team - those are still with the big three. Also, any LMS vendor who gets into the offering free MOOCs is going to be viewed as offering them as part of their marketing for the LMS. Still, that kid taking an engineering class in Canvas or Blackboard is not a potential customer, though his professor might be one day.

Finally, there is Udemy ("The Academy of You") which encourages people (not just established "teachers") to create courses using the Udemy platform. Their unique spin is that they will share the tuition with the creator/teacher. They have courses in entrepreneurship, academics, the arts, health and fitness, language, and technology and they have teachers that include authors and business professionals. A good example is their music offerings which are taught by a wide variety of people.


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