How might a company or institution profit from a MOOC? Here are eight possible strategies, as outlined in Coursera's contract with the University of Michigan.
- Certification: Company will provide University-branded certificates that can be purchased by end users; these certificates, which do not carry University credit, will certify achievement by end users of an instructor-specified threshold of performance for a particular course. These certificates might be provided as either (a) a signed pdf document, or (b) a badge posted on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, or other community websites, via a recognized badging system.
- Secure assessments: Company may provide a end user, for a fee, the capability to undergo identity-verified testing at a private ocation or in a certified testing location.
- Employee recruiting: With end user consent (via opting into emails of this type), company will allow prospective employers (whether an employer or a recruiter) to execute queries against end user records. These queries might involve student performance in relevant courses (as specified in the query) as well as student-supplied demograpic information (such as education or geographical location). Company will then allow employers to email end users via the platform, to propose employment opportunities. Company will not reveal student contact information to the employer. Students may choose to respond to the email with their contact information at their discretion.
- Employee or university screening: Company will provide a prospective employer the capability to assess prospective employees for a given level of expertise in courses provided by company, by having the prospective employee take a set of assessments in a proctored environment at the employee site. A similar model with be offered to universities who want to verity a level of knowledge of incoming end users (e.g., for evaluting course waiver requests).
- Human-provided tutoring or manual grading: Company will provide access to (paid) human tutoring, grading, or other forms of human academic support.
- Corporate/university enterprise model: Company will provide employers access to an enterprise version of the platform, which will allow employers to (a) use the content for training employees (trainees) using courses provided on the platform, (b) provide employer instructors access to trainee performance records, for the purposes of gauging performance and assisting trainees in learning. Employers might also augment university-provided courses on the platforms with additional content of particular relevance to their own employee pool. Such content will be accessible only to employer's trainees. The same model can be used to provide an enterprise version of the platform to non-university academic institutions (e.g. community colleges) that seek to offer their registered end users higher-quality courses at a lower cost for credit at these non-university institutions.
- Sponsorships: Company will allow third party sponsorships of courses, by foundations or companies, using appropriate and non-intrusive visual elements on the course webpage. A sponsor will require the approval by university and instructor, but such approval will not be unreasonably witheld without cause.
- Tuition fees: For certain courses, a tuition fee may be charged of students for access to the course content (usually after a short initial viewing period where access is free). This fee will be mututally agreed to by university and company. In the standard procedure, a end user will be allowed to indicate "financial hardship," upon which tuition fees are automatically waived with respect to access to course content. Certification to a end user declaring financial hardship may or may not be provided, as agreed upon by university and company.