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Out With the MOOC, In With the Revenue

A number of higher education institutions across the United States have begun offering free courses online to capitalize on the growing popularity of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). One institution, however, is taking a stand.

Carnegie Mellon University is attempting to concoct a sustainable business model to help colleges and universities take their traditional, in-class courses online. It is expected that the University’s subsidiary, Acatar, will help move post-secondary institutions toward this goal  by developing online degree platforms.

Acatar will help institutions offer high quality, for-credit courses to students at a reasonable price, according to Carnegie Mellon Provost and Acatar Non-Executive Chairman, Mark Kamlet.

Kamlet said that it will not be an easy feat for his institution to develop a viable model that can demonstrate an ability to generate revenue.

“To be honest, I think there are some challenges – edX and Coursera would be the first to admit that they are going to see how things go over time in terms of a business model,” Kamlet told Inside Higher Ed.

Still, despite the difficulties that may lay ahead for Carnegie Mellon’s subsidiary, the institution insists that resorting to becoming a MOOC provider — offering high-quality courses for free — is not the path they wish to take. Instead, the University is more focused on using a for-profit online education model that will expand their business and reach within the industry.

Aside from this, Kamlet said that the technology currently used in MOOCs is not new and that it has been around for a long period of time, usually just videos hosted on YouTube.