The VPM Blog

MOOCs and Innovation on the Side

Posted by admin on Nov 8, 2012 6:19:44 AM

Usually, our round ups focus on the general world of the enterprise. So on Thursdays now, we're going to take a slightly different approach and collect articles of note from within the realm of higher education. Light reading, research and content for Deans, professors and the administrators that support them!

University on the Side

Professors and high-visibility faculty members have always enjoyed additional work, from consulting to commissioned research. So two professors at George Mason University have taken that notion a step further; Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok run a University on the side. Now, granted, Marginal Revolution University doesn’t hand out credit or compete in the rankings but it does make money and help educate the masses. Cowen and Tabarrok have full control over content, message, delivery methods and costs. Open education and massive open online courses (MOOCs) are gaining momentum and popularity. When, where and how they fit into your University’s strategic communications and marketing plan is a discussion worth having…

And we know it’s not easy!

Also from the Chronicle of Higher Education, “two-thirds of the colleges and universities surveyed… [plan] to review their agreements with learning-management-system companies soon, so more shifts may be coming”. Still, there is uncertainty and a wait-and-see sentiment concerning MOOCs. Check out more details from the Campus Computing Project’s annual survey.

Time to Innovate. Okay, but how?

When it comes to periods of uncertainty and change, “innovation” requires a shift in company culture and expectations; this can be difficult for institutions of higher education to achieve. So start where there are already footholds and keep pushing. Harvard Business Review explains how lessening restrictions, loosening roles and being tolerant of failure can actually throttle an organization forward. Ultimately, it comes down to being experimental within a given set of parameters – something faculty members should understand.

Author: is Head of Ops & Co-Creative at Verge Pipe Media. Verge Pipe Media assists public institutions, enterprises and the non-profit sector with Imaginative Inbound Marketing strategies + campaigns. We also have a development team chock full of Marvelous Mobile Migrators, poised to help transition our clients into a mobile + social world with custom software, iOS and Android mobile apps.

Topics: higher education

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