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Viable Business Models in Sight for MOOCs

Coursera and eCornell both recently announced new models for their respective Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that could potentially generate revenue from the free educational programming.

Cornell University’s eCornell is planning to offer their own MOOC in hopes of attracting a high volume of new students. The university has designed this MOOC to serve as an introduction to a follow-up course, for which tuition must be paid. Furthermore, this follow-up course leads into a certificate in Hospitality Marketing and New Media Strategies from Cornell University.

MOOC provider Coursera is also taking steps to generate revenue from their courses, and simultaneously allay any concerns related to the integrity of the certificates they award students who successfully complete their courses. The company announced on Wednesday a new pilot program for some of their MOOCs where, for a fee, students who complete the course will receive a verified certificate, which will dispel any concerns related to whether or not the student in question actually completed the course. Coursera plans to guarantee the identity of certificate applicants through “keystroke biometrics,” which is the process of tracking a student’s typing pattern to validate their identity.

The exact price that will be charged for the verified certificates has not been confirmed, however according to Coursera, students would likely pay between $30 and $100.