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Coursera needs to start acting like a platform

Coursera is now in an enviable position among MOOC providers: they have more students than all the other providers combined (Udacity, edX, FutureLearn, peripheral players like LMS companies). At this stage, Coursera is most like Google in its positioning (edX most like Apple in its attention to detail and quality).

Coursera now needs to start thinking of itself like a platform or an app marketplace. Clearly and publicly define how partners can work with and share data, create an app engine that allows universities to contribute to the value of the marketplace by sharing their content creation and testing tools. At this stage, no other MOOC provider is as well positioned to take advantage of the value add from network partners. The end result would (could) be that we see an explosion in creativity in online learning as the central video/content presentation format of MOOCs needs to be challenged and rethought by a mess of creative folks.


  1. why would universities, such take public money to hand train individual minds and have spent generations accumumulating intellectual capital, give it to a 1 year old aspiring monopoly platform for free?

    Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Permalink
  2. swalcher wrote:

    I totally agree. The course I recently enrolled in was modeled too much on a traditional online course as it might appear in a course management system — and not surprisingly, the real energy and learning of the course seemed to take place as students connected outside of Coursera through Facebook and LinkedIn groups. So encouraging students to remix materials, and to collaborate across sites and even courses, is what must happen next. (Well, it’s already happening in spite of the Coursera interface — but that already tells you something!)

    Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink
  3. Deborah Cooke wrote:

    HI George,

    Are you aware of any training or certification available for creating MOOC’s? I’ve got a M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology with a specialization in Online Learning right now.


    Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  4. gsiemens wrote:

    Hi Deborah – at this point, no, I’m not familiar with training/certification options regarding moocs…

    Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink
  5. I think the explosion in online learning is already taking place. I know online universities are growing faster than ever before.

    Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink