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I agree - but who pays the bills?
Hi, A lot of bandwidth gets spent these days arguing that open education and free stuff is good â€¦ and that traditional colleges and textbooks are quickly approaching obsolescence. I am oscillating between enthusiasm and cynicism. Our open-source content-sharing project, LON-CAPA, just celebrated its 20th anniversary: http://www.lon-capa.org/anniversary.html , and we are starting a successor project, http://www.courseweaver.org/ Looking back over those 20 years, it's been an almost constant uphill battle for funding. Some money came from grants, but that model is inherently unsustainable: you can get money for new initiatives, but you cannot get grant funding to sustain something that works. Some research funding was even harmful to our project, as it made us do experimental stuff that did not benefit the majority of our users. The remainder of the funding has come from traditional colleges and universities. Looking at MOOCs, open content, open-source software, etc, I still do not understand the business model, and I don't see it seriously discussed, except occasionally like in the Chronicle article about Coursera: http://chronicle.com/article/How-an-Upstart-Company-Might/133065/ - notice the "might" in the title. Somebody in the end has to pay for salaries, retirement, health insurance, connectivity, hardware, â€¦ at the moment, it seems like the business model is parasitic on traditional higher education. How is it going to move out of that mode? My cynical self is reminded of the infamous dot-com business model: "We make a loss with every customer, so let's get more." Are we heading toward a dot-edu bubble? Please convince me of the opposite. - Gerd. -- Gerd Kortemeyer, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Physics Education Director, LON-CAPA Project Michigan State University http://www.lite.msu.edu/kortemeyer/ ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.