Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Paying for MOOCs: A problem for young adults in developing countries?

There's a great graphic on MOOCs at http://www.onlineschools.org/visual-academy/mooc-money/. It's called "How will the MOOCs make money?" (embedded below) and it reminded me of an email from a colleague in Somalia, whom I know through the AuthorAID project, about his disappointment upon learning that Coursera was going to charge for some courses. I'm given to understand that most people don't have credit cards in Somalia, so he can't pay for the courses although he said he can afford them. In my reply to him I said that a lot of young people in India also don't have credit cards. I got my first credit card in India when I was 29 (I had 5 in the US as a graduate student). Coursera allows PayPal payments, but the problem remains: young adults in developing countries may not have their own bank accounts.

Charging $30 or $50 for really high-quality courses, which many MOOCs are, is very reasonable, but I think this might make them inaccessible to many young, college-age adults in developing countries who are not quite connected to global financial networks.

Source credit: http://www.onlineschools.org/visual-academy/mooc-money/
How the MOOCs Will Make Money