Which MOOCs are offered in India

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What is the starting point and what is the significance of the project?

The starting point of the project was that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have played a central role in the international discussion about the digitization of university teaching in recent years. Especially in the years from 2012 to 2015 there was worldwide hype about these courses and there were high hopes but also fears associated with them. In addition to the question of whether the hopes and fears about MOOCs have materialized, other questions arose that were answered in the project: Which providers have established themselves with which orientations and business models? What are the consequences of MOOCs for higher education? How do German universities see MOOCs and what are the motives for offering MOOCs? What developments can be expected nationally and internationally?

How did you proceed?

The study draws on arguments from field theory, population ecology and economic theories on market development. Methodologically, it is based on the one hand on an original data collection on MOOC providers for the years 2011-2017 (panel data set). A total of 155 MOOC providers were identified and a set of 35 variables was collected for each year in which a provider was active. The data were analyzed with a combination of descriptive and multivariate quantitative methods (hazard rate analysis). On the other hand, the study is based on interviews with German universities and a US MOOC provider. These were evaluated using a qualitative content analysis. The sketching of future lines of development of MOOCs is based on both theoretical considerations and empirical results.

Who is involved in the project?

The project was carried out in cooperation between the International Center for Higher Education Research of the University of Kassel (INCHER-Kassel) and the Leibniz Center for Science and Society of the Leibniz University of Hanover (LCSS). The project was led by Guido Bünstorf, Anna Kosmützky and Georg Krücken; Project team members were Otto Hüther, Igor Asanov, Johanna Meemann, Sebastian Tieke and Gabi Reichardt.

What are the main findings of your project?

Our panel data set on the providers shows that a new strategic field of action with regard to MOOCs has emerged since 2011. After a rapid increase in the number of providers up to 2015, both the number of providers and the players in the field have stabilized. The fact that MOOC providers are increasingly being supported by government agencies over time also helps stabilize the situation. This support can be seen most clearly in the establishment of national providers e.g. in India, France or Thailand. In particular, large providers (which offer more than 100 courses and a wide range of courses), which are almost exclusively organized as platforms, are relatively more often supported by government agencies and a larger proportion of them were founded with the participation of universities.

The empirical results of our hazard rate analysis show that the cumulative risk of exit from the market for platform providers is less than half that for individual providers. It also shows that providers who offer only a few courses and specialized providers who concentrate on courses from one scientific area (humanities and social sciences, life sciences, natural sciences, engineering sciences) have an increased market exit risk. Conversely, MOOC providers that were founded specifically to offer MOOCs have a longer stay in the market. Large, non-specialized platform providers that were founded specifically for MOOC offers had the best chance of surviving in the market.

The guided interviews show that different reasons and motives for offering MOOCs played a role at German universities. Four reasons and motives should be emphasized: firstly, MOOCs are seen as an important catalyst for the further digitization of local teaching at universities, secondly, universities strive for image and visibility advantages, thirdly, MOOCs are seen as part of the university's internationalization strategy, with advertising from international students are in the foreground, and fourth, MOOCs are used to generate research data on digital learning. In comparison to other countries, however, possible income from MOOCs and state incentives or pressure do not play a role. At the time of the interview, the universities we interviewed were not planning any fundamental changes with regard to their MOOC offers, but rather want to continue their previous strategies.

With regard to future development lines, it can be assumed that MOOCs will continue to complement the digital courses offered in the field of higher education. In addition, a relatively high number of different providers can be expected and not a concentration on very few providers. In addition, it can be assumed that the importance of MOOCs in higher education will differ in individual national higher education systems. The position will differ depending on whether MOOCs are viewed as a building block for solving local problems in higher education. No fundamental expansion of MOOCs is to be expected for Germany. In particular, the development of the interlinking of MOOC offers and traditional university education, which can be observed in other countries, is not to be expected under the current framework conditions for the German university system.

At the moment, however, it must be added to these expected lines of development that a prolonged closure of universities and other educational institutions due to the current global spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus could lead to a complete re-evaluation of digital learning opportunities. If this should happen, our research results provide a basis for appropriate strategies.

Where are your results available?

The main project results are summarized in the following report:

Otto Hüther, Anna Kosmützky, Igor Asanov, Guido Bünstorf and Georg Krücken (2020): Massive Open Online Courses after the Gold Rush: International and national developments and future prospects, Kassel and Hanover: INCHER-Kassel and LCSS Doi: 10.15488 / 9775
Link to study (external link): https://www.repo.uni-hannover.de/handle/123456789/9831

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Contact Person

PD Dr. Otto Hüther

International Center for Higher Education Research (INCHER-Kassel), University of Kassel

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