Friday Reading List 20230623

UK perspective on OPMs and two online/digital ed surveys

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It’s been a busy seven days here at On EdTech, with posts on Wiley plans to sell its OPM business, an analysis of the the scalability of CUNY ASAP program, an update on how expansive is the current regulatory proposals from the department of education (ED), and an exposé of a revolving door between the Arnold Ventures coalition and ED.

Today I’d like to share three outside articles and reports that are well worth reading.

Neil Mosley Blog Post

Neil Mosley is an independent consultant in the UK who should write much more often as his analysis skills are excellent. His latest post is “How are online education companies managing through turbulent times?” which takes a UK-centric perspective of the OPM markets in general but with observations that apply at least to North America and Europe and Australia / New Zealand.

His initial section focuses on changes at FutureLearn, as their new owners attempt to make that business profitable. I had summarized recent news with some snark:

but Mosley takes that into much more depth. In addition, he then describes three challenges for the current OPM market that is rapidly evolving.

I would expect universities to more closely scrutinise their partnerships with these types of companies going forward and as contracts come up for renewal.

There are three main reasons for that, the first is time.

Over 50% of the UK universities have been partnered with FutureLearn for over 8 years and I think as more time that elapses the the chances of greater scrutiny of the value of the partnership increases.

The second reason is related to that - which is more universities getting serious about online education and by association online education company partnerships.

A lot of ex-MOOC platform and university partnerships have been characterised by a kind of strategic apathy from the university side. Any activity has been on the basis of being “nice to have” and “something that happens over there” and I would expect some thinking to change on that.

Mosley also looks at Coursera, 2U/edX, and traditional OPMs. It’s not just Pearson and Wiley getting out of the business, it also turns out that CEG Digital’s sale attempts are getting closer to fruition, with three private equity firms potentially offering $190 - $250 million (according to Sky News).

Read the whole thing.

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