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MOOCs in 2018: Online Degrees, Monetization, New Players & More

Posted in 'Featured' started by Carolyn, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. Carolyn

    Carolyn Founder at MoocLab Staff Member

    Suffolk, UK
    2018 has seen the introduction of more accredited MOOC-based Degrees and Micro Credentials, financial growth and restructuring plans, changes to pricing models, and two new e-learning platforms. Read on to find out more ...
    MOOCs in 2018.png

    MOOC-Based Degrees

    Probably, the most noticeable event of 2018 has been the surge in MOOC-based degree programs, with an overall percentage increase of over 200% in available online degrees compared to 2017. UK MOOC platform FutureLearn is in the lead with 25 degree programs on offer, followed by Coursera (12), edX (8), and XuetangX (4). 2018 also saw the launch of the first fully online Bachelor’s Degree with Coursera’s Bachelor Degree in Computer Science from the UK's University of London.

    Micro Credentials
    Although the online degree is clearly the new focus, MOOC platforms continued to expand their micro-credential programs with 120 new offerings launched in 2018, totalling approximately 570. These include the MicroMasters (51), Professional Certificates (91), and XSeries (27) from edX, Programs from FutureLearn (23) and Kadenze (19), the Udacity Nanodegrees (35), XuetangX Micro-degrees (10) and Specializations (310) from Coursera who also started piloting Professional Certificates (2) and “MasterTracks” (3).

    Financially, the MOOC market showed signs of growth in 2018 with Coursera topping the league with an expected 2018 revenue of $140 million according to Forbes, landing Coursera on Forbes’ list of Next Billion-Dollar Startups. Although Coursera remains the world’s biggest and most successful MOOC provider, Udacity’s 2018 global revenue reached close to $90 million, an increase of 25% compared to last year, and FutureLearn announced they were seeking to raise £40m in order to compete with their rivals.

    As part of its global restructuring plan, Udacity also recently announced plans to scale back its staff by up to 25 percent, laying off 125 employees by the end of the first quarter of 2019. This is part of an initiative to downsize parts of the company, including the planned closure of the São Paulo office in Brazil, and cuts to course creation.

    Pricing Models
    In 2018, we saw a number of tweaks and changes to pricing models, notably with Udacity replacing their monthly subscription plan with a term-based model for all their Nanodegree programs while increasing their prices to $999 per term. EdX also quietly started testing a new model by introducing a "Support Fee" on some of its courses with a view to achieve financial sustainability. You will notice that the word “Free” no longer features on their homepage!

    There has also been an increase in the number of MOOCs only accessible behind a paywall. After the introduction of paid course certificates, learners could still access the course content for free, but MoocLab has observed that in some cases, access to course content incurs a fee. This is the case for a number of courses on all three of the main MOOC platforms - Coursera, edX and FutureLearn. Some examples of these paid courses include Marketing Analytics: Data Tools and Techniques by The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania via edX, Essential Cloud Infrastructure: Core Services by Google Cloud via Coursera or Food as Medicine: Talking about Weight by Monash University via FutureLearn.

    New Players
    This year also saw the introduction of two noteworthy new e-learning platforms. The Israeli Government has started piloting a new MOOC Platform for Speakers of Hebrew and Arabic - Campus-il which is run by Digital Israel on Open edX and offers courses primarily geared towards an Israeli audience. In June, Forbes launched their own skill platform in partnership with Bridgepoint Education - Learn@Forbes. The e-learning platform offers self-paced courses for aspiring professionals concentrated in leadership, entrepreneurship, business, sales, IT, cybersecurity and software.

    Written by Carolyn McIntyre, Founder & CEO of MoocLab
    AD Coursera logo Build skills for a top job in any industry. Explore hundreds of business courses on Coursera today. AD Udemy logo You can learn it too! Our top-rated courses now starting at just $11.99.

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