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Todd Suomela

Jaron Lanier on VR and empathy - the double-edged sword | Digital Bodies - 0 views

  • What Lanier doesn’t say here – though he is well aware of the issue from his work on social media – is that the way content production is funded will impact how VR is used.

    In social media, the loudest voices get promoted through the algorithms (and get the views). We’ve been fortunate in the early stages of VR that the medium has been in the hands of artists who care deeply about humanity. They’ve been self-funded, backed by grants from film festivals and other organizations, and relied on a lot of goodwill.

    That’s not a sustainable environment for creating immersive content. VR content is not going to be free but outside of specific professional areas (e.g., medical education) and corporate use (eg., Wal-Mart’s training program) we don’t have a working business model. Resolving this issue is not just a business question – it’s a content question. It will directly shape the types of virtual environments and experiences we’ll have in the future.

    Lanier makes the point in another interview on UnDark,

    Let’s suppose that after Gutenberg, there was this movement to say all books must be free. Nobody can charge for a book. But it’s okay for books to have advertisements. What we would have ended up with is advertisers determining what books there were.

Todd Suomela

MOOCs Find Their Audience: Professional Learners and Universities | EdSurge News - 0 views

  • In my last year’s analysis of the MOOC space, I concluded that there’s been a decisive shift by MOOC providers to focus on “professional” learners who are taking these courses for career-related outcomes.

    At the recently concluded EMOOCs conference, the then CEO of Coursera, Rick Levin, shared his thoughts on this shift. He thinks that MOOCs may not have disrupted the education market, but they are disrupting the labor market. The real audience is not the traditional university student but what he calls the “lifelong career learner,” someone who might be well beyond their college years and takes these online courses with the goal of achieving professional and career growth.

  • One of the lessons I learned from running Class Central is that to make money, you need to make others money. By targeting professional learners, MOOC providers are trying to exactly do that.

    To better serve this audience, every MOOC provider has launched products that range from tens of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. As a professional learner, I feel a certain amount of comfort knowing that high-quality educational material exists for skills that I would want to learn in the future. But if you are true lifelong learner—the ones that helped start all the hype in the first place—the MOOC experience has largely been reduced to basically a YouTube playlist with a cumbersome user interface.

    Unless, of course, you are willing to pay.

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