London predicts Mooc recruitment windfall

International Programmes analysis points to courses’ marketing benefits

November 7, 2013

Results from only the second UK university to run massive open online courses on a major US platform have shown the tool’s potential power for recruiting students to full programmes.

The University of London International Programmes said that it expected to recruit 45 fee-paying students as a result of the Moocs it ran earlier this year.

Between June and August, it offered four courses on the Coursera platform and said it hoped to generate at least £200,000 from students who otherwise would not have enrolled on its fee-paying programmes.

The majority of the students have either registered for or applied to study the university’s bachelor’s of laws programme, which typically costs about £4,000 to £5,000 to complete, the institution said.

“A lot of those students came, as you’d expect, from our English common law Mooc,” said Mike Kerrison, director of academic development at the London International Programmes.

Meanwhile, “a range of students” have applied for its MSc in information security, he added, which was related to the Mooc on “malicious software and its underground economy”.

Nice little earner

“In terms of converting marketing cost into return…you’re looking at something in the region of £200,000,” Mr Kerrison said, adding that it would “actually be more than that” because some of the master’s-level programmes to which students had applied would cost more than those offered at the undergraduate level.

London International Programmes has produced an in-depth analysis of its first four Moocs, which was published on 4 November.

It reveals that the university allocated £20,000 for the design, development and launch of each course. Teaching staff spent “approximately 200 hours” during the six months it took to develop each one and between 10 and 20 hours a week once it went live.

However, for Patricia McKellar, associate director of the laws programme at London International Programmes, who worked on the English common law Mooc, the temporal commitment was somewhat heavier – particularly immediately after the course went live.

“It was quite intense, especially the first two to three weeks. We had to man the forums and we did that for around 18 hours a day between two of us,” she said.

“As you can imagine, at the beginning we were very concerned at that point that we were meeting students’ needs, and making sure that the course was running correctly.”

According to the report, 212,110 students enrolled on the Moocs, with 8,843 (about 4 per cent) receiving a statement of accomplishment to indicate that they had completed their courses.

Among those who actively participated in the Moocs, the completion rate rose to 9 per cent.

Despite those relatively low figures, some 91 per cent of users rate their experience as “satisfactory”, “good” or “excellent”, according to a survey of about 3,500 registered students.

The University of London was the second UK institution to offer Moocs on a major US platform: the first, the University of Edinburgh, launched its Coursera Moocs in January.

chris.parr@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest