Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Beware of the High Cost of 'Free' Online Courses - NYTimes.com

Educational upheaval ahead
"Mr. Cusumano’s concerns grow out of his study of the software and media industries in the face of price pressure from free, open-source software and digital distribution over the Internet. Two-thirds of the public companies in the software industry disappeared between 1998 and 2006, as companies failed or were acquired. In the media world, Mr. Cusumano contends that newspaper and magazine companies — including The New York Times Company — made a strategic mistake by giving away their publications free on the Web. The online pay walls that publications have since put up, he said, seem to be helping to stabilize things, but only after a precipitous decline.
Give-away pricing in education, Mr. Cusumano warns, may well be a comparable misstep. The damage would occur, he writes in the article, “if increasing numbers of universities and colleges joined the free online education movement and set a new threshold price for the industry — zero — which becomes commonly accepted and difficult to undo.”
"Beware of the High Cost of 'Free' Online Courses - NYTimes.com
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