Competition in the MOOC-sphere

January 14, 2013

educator comments

This past fall, I audited Chuck Eesley’s Stanford Venture Lab MOOC course, “Technology Entrepreneurship.”  With more than 34,500 students listed in the system, the experience provided an interesting view of what works in this MOOC environment.  In the LinkedIn dedicated group, one of the students asked about the kind of competitive relationship that exists among the major MOOC presenters such as Coursera, Stanford Venture Lab, EdX and Udacity.  Professor Eesley directed the student to research done by Rory McDonald, now at UT Austin, that investigates the relationship between new firm competitors and new markets. Interestingly, McDonald’s research suggests that rivals copy each other, test assumptions and major resource commitments to determine the most lucrative business model opportunity, and maintain loose links in the organizational activity system in order to accommodate emergent sources of value.  Through careful management of rhetoric and symbolic activities, they create and position themselves in the new market as they create it, changing stories as the market evolves. Following the evolution of the MOOC seems to indicate much the same pattern in terms of the dominant offers that are beginning to surface.  CCPence

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