The MOOC landscape is taking shape, and just like social networking sites before it, the major players are starting to emerge. It’s still too early to tell which one of these will fall the way of MySpace, but as Facebook has pointed out, there is often very little room at the top. Given the shifting environment, it isn’t always clear what options are out there. Below is a list of the more popular MOOC options available:
1. Udacity – This MOOC option has decided to work with individual professors rather than educational institutions. As such, it has attracted a wide range of well known scholars.
2. Udemy – The company encourages their instructors to charge a small fee for their courses, and the revenue is split between the instructor and the company. Note however, that sometimes the “small” fee isn’t so small.
3. Canvas – For Canvas, schools pay instructors to offer their MOOCs and to market them to prospective students.
4. Coursera – Probably the most well-known, the company’s business model is to sign contracts with colleges that agree to use the platform to offer free courses and to get a percentage of any revenues generated.
5. Khan Academy – This option began in 2006 as an online library of instructor videos that Mr. Khan made for his family. Today, it has since evolved and now hosts more than 3,000 (with backing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) videos on YouTube.
6. edX – Leaders of this group say they intend to slwoly add other university partners over time. edX has plans to give away their software platform so that anyone can create their own MOOC.
There is a good chance that we’ll see some more MOOCs emerge in the near term, and then expect them to dwindle away as the true major players begin to emerge. I’m still waiting to see how some of these programs will go about monetizing their offerings, especially since investors will certainly be seeking a return on their investment.