“Ten years ago, it was hard to imagine a college handing out coupons or offering time-limited offers,” the educational website notes. EdSurge. “College is what you enrolled in, and enrolled with a serious intention to graduate.”
But now, writes longtime reader Slashdot jyosim …
As online education became mainstream, new vendors switched to the same marketing tactics as selling any widget. Especially upstart providers such as Udemy, Coursera and edX. In some cases, courses are offered by well-known universities that work with these companies.
Students sometimes buy courses when they appear on sale, going to pass them, but then never succeed. This is the academic equivalent of subscribing to a gym membership in January in a burst of New Year’s optimism and then rarely going to workouts.
The Udemy algorithm “prefers courses with more students”. EdSurge, “So teachers have an incentive to encourage mass registration” (during periods when courses are free or discounted). And the stakes are high. 19 instructors earned more than $ 1 million last year, Udemy CEO notes.
And the result of this competition, he adds, is that a whopping 63% of their top 1,800 courses have been updated in just the last 90 days – “to make content better and better over time so they get more views and make more money ».
For some scholars, this trend is a long-awaited impact of transforming higher education into a commodity that will lead students to view college less as a relationship with a teacher and more as a fixed set of knowledge at the lowest possible cost. ..
Online education has brought new marketing practices that emphasize the student as a customer. The question of whether this contributes to affordability (by lowering prices) or lowering quality, and how seriously students take the learning process, or a mixture thereof, is still under discussion.