EFMD Annual Conference 2014: Plenary IV – MOOCs

vivek G.

At the EFMD Annual Conference 2014, Vivek Goel, Chief Academic Strategist, Coursera, kicked off the fourth Plenary by stating that the traditional university has many years to go and will never be replaced by online learning. He then went on to outline exactly what a MOOC is and how they can supplement teaching and learning.

Mr. Goel began by stating that management and business studies are very high on the list of courses offered at Coursera. The platforms offer many types of learning methods including video, multiple choice questions, immediate feedback etc.


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One of the challenges is how to evaluate the qualitative assignments. Peer grading is one method that has been used. Scores have been compared professorial corrections and first correlated studies show a strong link. This is a positive sign.

moocs2The education available is provided for free so Coursera makes money with its university partners and the verified certificate that is given for about $50. Students and employers are starting to recognize the value of this in the logic of lifelong learning.

According to Mr. Goel, the statistic of 5% completion rate needs to be analysed. This is like comparing the number of applications to a university compared with the completion rate. Many students are not trying to complete the course but just want to get involved or do part of the course.

The other criticism is that people taking MOOCs already have a university degree. It begs the question, are MOOCs then making education available to the masses? Also, there are a large proportion of people who are taking the courses from North America and Europe but one-third now come from emerging economies.


To widen the spectrum of countries Coursera in no using a growing global translator’s network to help make MOOCs more accessible to more and more people.

He closed his speech by sharing the story of a Bangladeshi student (pictured) who was having problems developing her bakery but thanks to the many MOOCs she took she was able to expand her business. According to Mr. Goel there are hundreds of stories showing how important the availability of education is for everyone.

Santiago Iniguez, Dean, IE Busines School, ES

santiago 2About 20% of EFMD participant schools are currently using MOOCs. However, MOOCs are here to stay, said Mr. Iniguez, so we had better get used to them. A few years ago the press was talking about universities becoming extinct and the tsunami effect of MOOCs. This has not happened. Many said that MOOCs would provide free and universal access to education. But the poor don’t even have access to internet or electricity so there is no way for them to be able to access the supposedly universal education. Also, it was said that MOOCs would reduce the cost of higher education. However, a ‘cheap’ MOOC costs $2000 and an expensive one costs $200 000 with an average cost of $30 000. There is a correlation between the cost of the MOOC and the drop off rate. Quality means that people stay. However the experience of learning with a MOOC cannot be compared to the traditional type of university experience. Robots will not replace professors anytime soon.

Professor Iniguez then went on to outline the major players in MOOCs. This included Coursera, EdX (Harvard), Udacity (in partnership with Georgia Tech) and finally, Udemy. This has attracted $60 million with just 1 million users. Many professors can create courses, although there is of course a question of quality. Jack Welch had been one of the founding members of this and has stayed with the organisation.

MOOCs can complement regular courses, and help universities deliver certain modules before classes and increase the reputation and visibility of the university. It also gives access to different type of potential candidates and helps faculty to improve their teaching. “Technology is not a threat but an opportunity” said Mr. Iniguez.

New alliances across universities and schools may also be one of the outcomes of MOOCs.




vivek goelVivek Goel

Dr. Vivek Goel is Chief Academic Strategist at Coursera, an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide to offer courses online. Prior to joining Coursera he was the Founding President and CEO of Public Health Ontario, a government agency dedicated to protecting and promoting the health of Ontario residents. Previously he was Vice-President and Provost at the University of Toronto where he continues as a Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation. He has extensive experience in health care evaluation and research, health policy and management, and information systems. Dr. Goel received his medical degree from McGill University, with specialty training in Public Health and Preventive Medicine. He received his Master of Science in health administration from the University of Toronto and his Master of Science in biostatistics from the Harvard School of Public Health.


SantiagoIniguezSantiago Iñiguez de Onzoño

Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño is the Rector of IE university and the Dean of IE Business School. He studied at Madrid’s Complutense University and Oxford University, UK. Iñiguez de Onzoño is a Doctor of Law and holds an MBA from IE Business School. Iñiguez has worked as a management consultant and has played an active role in the field of quality control and development of management education in Europe. He is member of the boards of EFMD (European Foundation for Management Development), the International Advisory Board of AMBA (Association of MBAs, UK), GFME (Global Foundation for Management Education) and the Awarding Body of EQUIS (European Quality System). He also serves on the boards of CENTRUM (Universidad Católica, Perú), Universiti Putra Malaysia Business School, Antai Business School (Jiao Tong University, China) and Leeds University Business School (UK). He has been portrayed by the Financial Times as “one of the most significant figures in promoting European business schools internationally”. Iniguez is also President of the IE Fund in the US and serves on the boards of different companies based in Spain. As expert in management education, Iñiguez is a regular speaker at international conferences and frequently contributes in different academic journals and media on this subject. Iñiguez is Professor of Strategic Management at IE Business School. He has published several articles and case studies on business management. He is also author and co-author of several articles and books in the field of moral and political philosophy. Iñiguez has his own blog at http://www.santiagoiniguez.com and is co-editor of http://www.deanstalk.net, a blog focused on management education issues.


1 Comment

Filed under Business Schools, Communication, Conference, E-learning, Higher Education, Innovation, Management, Strategy

One response to “EFMD Annual Conference 2014: Plenary IV – MOOCs

  1. Pingback: MOOCs: the (Loch Ness) Monster of Higher Education? | GlobalEd

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