Return of the MOOC Money Discussion

In previous months we have seen the budget model for MOOCs evolve.  Julia Lawrence for Education News writes “MOOC Providers Take Differing Approaches to Profitability”:

ThrunThe popularity of massive online open courses is booming. For the first time, the higher education sector is experiencing the same technology-fueled feeling of giddiness that made the dotcom boom years fly so high. However, as the Economist points out, it’s one thing to tout a revolution — and it’s another to pay for it. In short, do massive online open course providers have what it takes to make themselves profitable?

The two leaders in the MOOC game are undoubtedly Silicon Valley-based startups Coursera and Udacity. Both boast impeccable academic and business pedigrees. Coursera’s co-founder Daphne Koller is a former Stanford University professor, while Udacity’s CEO Sebastian Thrun is tied to Google’s success. In the past year, Coursera has raised close to $80 million in several funding rounds, including $43 million in a venture capital funding round announced earlier this month. Koller says that Coursera’s fund-raising ability puts it in contention to become one of the small number of dominant players in the MOOC sector when the field inevitably thins in a few years.

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