"MOOCs After the Gold Rush" (completed 2021)

Running from

2017 - 2019


MOOCs - After the Gold Rush

The MOOCS research project of INCHER-Kassel examined the market dynamics of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and the strategies of suppliers in the MOOC market based on economic and social science theories and detailed empirical data. The analysis provided the opportunity to preliminary take stock and to systematically examine the prospects of MOOC technology.

Digitization is one of the major driving forces for change in current higher education. Essential parts of the development are MOOCs. The digitization and MOOCs, in particular, have the potential to drastically change the structure in tertiary education by giving rise to and support new business models. Competitive pressure on the universities arises when new providers enter the tertiary education market with innovative digital business models. E.g., online courses of reputational institutions can be an attractive alternative to classroom study at less renowned local universities. They are also playing a more critical role in the context of the development of transnational educational programs. MOOCs also challenge property right questions. On the one hand, MOOCs could be viewed as analogous to textbooks and other publications as the property of the authors. On the other hand, e.g., US universities claim the ownership of the MOOCs of their employees, which is consistent with the proprietary treatment of higher education inventions (under the Bayh Dole Act).

It is an open question, particularly for Germany; to what extent the global MOOCs trend leads to new business models, which new models of intellectual ownership and property rights emerge, and how this might affect the higher education sector. The INCHER MOOCs research took interdisciplinary theoretical approaches to market dynamics and aimed at comparing international trends in the MOOC market and its influence on German MOOC market and higher education system. On this basis, the MOOCS research team developed scenarios related to the German system.