Last week, the BBC reported on how ‘complacent’ British universities that fail to respond to the rise of online universities will be swept away by global competition. Even Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia agreed – see Jimmy Wales. I have to agree that the BBC, Wales and REM were right: “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine”.
Why so? I worked for the Open University Business School for 18 years on their MBA programmes and certainly would not be where I am today without the superb learning that I gained from taking and teaching their programmes over an extended period. I am eternally grateful to people such as David Mayle, John Martin, Norman Maxfield, Don Cooper and Jane Henry – modern day geniuses in their field.
However, despite my love of the institution, I must say that the university has been slow to respond to the changing expectations of the current generation of students. From the white heat of technology in the 1960’s The Open University and many other traditional universities have turned into slow followers of change in the education sector. I wish I could say otherwise. Sir Michael Barber agreed: “There are too many universities doing the same thing.” There are already big US networks of universities offering courses to students anywhere in the world, with two consortiums having already signed up almost four million students.
For my part, I was approached by Californian Online Learning Provider Udemy, who asked me to develop an MBA level online learning programme on Leadership, Strategy, Creativity, Innovation and Change. The programme, entitled “The Music of Business” offers a contrast to traditional university courses:
- The programme can be taken at the learner’s pace and their own time, as it is available for life, during which time it continues to be updated.
- MBA level learning at non-MBA prices.
- For individuals, the programme is available for direct purchase at $169.
- Individuals can also join an affiliate scheme to gain an income from referrals.
- For companies, the programme can be customised, licensed, branded and embedded on corporate online learning platforms.
Take a look at the syllabus:
Will Universities go the way of HMV? The early warning signs are there. Post your thoughts on the likely fate of our Universities here. p.s. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with the post, but I enjoyed the REM track so much that I thought it was time to post another one: